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Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Capacity: Are Innovation Brokers the Answer?

Laurens Klerkx (), Andrew Hall () and Cees Leeuwis ()
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Laurens Klerkx: Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University
Cees Leeuwis: Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University

No 19, MERIT Working Papers from United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT)

Abstract: This paper examines the role of innovation brokers in stimulating innovation system interaction and innovation capacity building, and illustrates this by taking the case of Dutch agriculture as an example. Subsequently, it reflects upon the potential role of innovation brokers in developing countries' agriculture. It concludes that innovation brokerage roles are likely to become relevant in emerging economies and that public or donor investment in innovation brokerage may be needed to overcome inherent tensions regarding the neutrality and funding of such players in the innovation system. The Dutch experience suggests that innovation brokers need to be contextually embedded, and are unlikely to become effective through a centrally-imposed design. Hence, we conclude that stimulating their emergence requires a policy that supports institutional learning and experimentation. In the evaluation of such experiments, it is important to note that innovation brokers tend to play intangible roles that are not easily captured through conventional indicators.

Keywords: Agriculture; Developing Countries; The Netherlands; Innovation Broker; Neutrality; Institutional Learning; Context-Specific; Innovation Systems; Capacity Strengthening; Agricultural Extension (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N54 O13 O31 Q13 Q16 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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