Innovation brokering describes those individuals or organisations who establish the connections between those who develop knowledge or innovations and those who will use the knowledge or innovation. Innovation brokering is not necessarily a job or a role, but rather a function which can be performed by organisations, or people within organisations.
Innovation brokers understand the ‘big picture’ or what the wider system is looking like and can connect different parts of that system to bring about better exchange of knowledge.
Fig 1: Relationship between an innovation broker and other similar terms
Diagram from Shaxson, Louise with Alex T. Bielak, et al. 2012. ‘Expanding our understanding of K*(KT, KE, KTT, KMb, KB, KM, etc.) A concept paper emerging from the K* conference held in Hamilton’, Ontario, Canada, April 2012. (p3)
Innovation brokering within AgResearch
Innovation brokering is considered an important function of a ‘right teams’ approach to achieving impact. Certain roles within the organisation have key innovation functions as part of that role; for others, innovation brokering is part of wider set of competency descriptors.
What does a ‘success profile’ look like for Innovation Brokering?
(Based on New Zealand Crown Research Institute)
Knowledge: What people know
Systems thinking (contextualise specialist knowledge, farm systems)
Applied technical knowledge relevant to end users
Industry trends (market intelligence), pop press, field days, news, farmers
Understand stakeholders practical requirements end user’s needs (current and future), cooperatives and politics of each
Contributions of network partners
Industry Constraints e.g. legislative, regulatory, stakeholder, market
New Zealand Culture
NZ Science Sector
Experience: What people have done
Work in different organisations
Widely read (outside discipline)
Extrapolate science process to farm
Dealing with a wide variety of people
Interacted with stakeholders
Communicate to non-scientists (e.g. articles)
Communication in a range of situations
> 10 years practical research
Managed complex projects (start to finish)
Conference and trade fair attendance
Belong to recognised industry body
Competencies: What people can do
Values Focused: Supports the organisation; Operates with integrity; Discloses own positions; Remains open to ideas, Supports others; Maintains professionalism.