Innovation brokers and their roles in value chain-network innovation: preliminary findings and a research agenda

S.A. Perez Perdomo, L.W.A. Klerkx, C. Leeuwis

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Intervention approaches have been implemented in developing countries to enhance farmer's livelihoods through improving their linkages to markets and inclusiveness in agricultural value chains. Such interventions are aimed at facilitating the inclusion of small farmers not just in the vertical activities of the value chain (coordination of the chain) but also in the horizontal activities (cooperation in the chain). Therefore value addition is made by not just innovating products and services, but also by innovating social processes, which we define as Value Chain-Network Innovation. In Value Chain-Network Innovation, linkage formation among networks and optimisation is one of the main objectives of innovation enhancing interventions. Here some important roles for innovation brokers are envisaged as crucial to dynamise this process, connecting different actors of the innovation system, paying special attention to the weaker ones. However, little attention has been given to identify different innovation brokering roles in those approaches, and to the need that they facilitate innovation processes and open safe spaces for innovation and social learning at different organisational settings and levels, to have more effective and sustainable impacts. This paper offers some preliminary empirical evidence of the roles of innovation brokers in a developing country setting, recognising the context-sensitive nature of innovations. Two cases from work experience with intervention approaches are analysed in light of the theories of innovation brokering, presenting some empirical evidence of different types of arrangements made by innovation brokers. A third case was taken from the literature. Data from questionnaires, key informant interviews, participant observations of different types of activities and processes carried out in those approaches, SWOT analysis and project reports were used for the analysis of different types of brokering roles and to draw some lessons. One important outcome of this preliminary analysis was that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in integration with other media facilitate new ways of social organisation and interaction of innovation networks, which offer more possibilities for processes of innovation, aggregating value to the production and sharing of knowledge. There is already a transition of paradigm for approaching agricultural innovation to more participative and open approaches, which offers a promissory landscape for organising the value chain actors in a way that is more favourable for small farmers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventISDA 2010: Innovation & Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food -
Duration: 28 Jun 20101 Jul 2010


ConferenceISDA 2010: Innovation & Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovation brokers and their roles in value chain-network innovation: preliminary findings and a research agenda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this