Innovation Brokering

What is innovation brokering?

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


Fig 1 Relationship between an innovation broker and other similar terms.png


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
  • Government strategies
  • Organisational strategy
  • Funding streams
  • New Zealand Culture
  • NZ Science Sector

Experience: What people have done

  • Global (well-travelled)
  • 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
  • Networking

Competencies: What people can do

  • Values Focused: Supports the organisation; Operates with integrity; Discloses own positions; Remains open to ideas, Supports others; Maintains professionalism.
  • Collaboration: Stakeholder focus; Identifies partnership needs; Explores partnership opportunities; Formulates action plans; Focuses on shared goals; Monitors partnership.
  • Communication: Delivers clear messages; Communicates with impact; Ensures understanding; Influences others; Provides linkage to strategy.

Personal Attributes: Who people are

  • Initiating Action: Responds quickly; Takes independent action; Goes above and beyond.
  • Innovation: Challenges paradigms; Leverages diverse resources; Thinks expansively; Evaluates multiple solutions; Ensures relevance.
  • Passion: Maintains stamina, Persists in efforts, Maintains effectiveness; Redirects focus.
  • Impact: Dresses appropriately; Displays a professional demeanour; speaks confidently.
  • Leadership Disposition: Engages people; Drives towards success; sustains positive outlook; Shows discipline; Inspires confidence; Learning agility.