The emergence and functioning of innovation intermediaries in maturing innovation systems: the case of Chile


Innovation intermediaries that build linkages in innovation systems are reportedly needed in many Latin American countries and other developing and emerging countries around the world that are said to have an immature innovation system. This study analyses the types of innovation intermediaries that have emerged in Chile, and how these have contributed to the development of a more mature innovation system. The findings indicate that a great diversity of innovation intermediaries has emerged and that this has helped induce a shift towards more networked or open innovation processes. They have not, however, completely altered the relationships in the Chilean innovation system, but rather helped actors to better navigate the current system. They have been able to obtain a legitimate position but experience tensions in relation to how clients understand their role. These intermediaries have emerged in the context of a policy discourse emphasizing networked or open innovation, but clearer support policies and coordination of the innovation intermediary field could enhance their functioning and contribution. The broader implication relevant for developing and emerging countries is that building more mature innovation systems and making them function coherently calls for fostering an innovation intermediary subsystem in the national innovation system covering all the different integration levels in the system (national, regional, sectoral).