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Innovation intermediaries: What does it take to survive over time?

Kant, Marvin; Kanda, Wisdom

FG Entrepreneurship & Innovationsmanagement (EIM)

Innovation intermediaries are recognised as crucial actors that can facilitate the innovation process, support eco-innovation and contribute to sustainable entrepreneurship. However, little is known about the temporal dimension of innovation intermediaries and how they change over time to survive, which is crucial if intermediaries are to contribute to long term sustainability-oriented transformations. An in-depth case study design with a comparative approach was chosen to examine four innovation intermediaries at different development stages in the related fields of CO2 utilisation and Carbon Capture Storage technology in Europe, the USA, and Australia. This study sheds light on the survival of innovation intermediaries over time: Firstly, by describing the dynamics in an intermediary's (a) characteristics, (b) scope, (c) objectives, and (d) roles and activities. Secondly, by identifying at least four interrelated factors influencing an intermediary's survival: (i) neutrality, (ii) technological context, (iii) shared consensus, and (iv) internal value creation. Thus, this article contributes to the literature by highlighting the complexity and tensions in the survival of intermediaries through an analysis of both internal and contextual factors, as opposed to previous literature which has mainly focused on how intermediaries change their roles and activities over time to survive.