The market for intellectual capital has become global.
Ideas, knowledge, and technology are now flowing more
freely than ever as companies are opening up their
processes in the spirit of open innovation.
Simultaneously, firms are being increasingly forced to
utilize new external channels to gain input for their
innovation process. This development has led to the
emergence of intermediate actors who facilitate
transactions on intellectual capital.
This study concentrates on one type of these
intermediaries, global intellectual capital (IC) brokers.
These brokers act as mediators between previously
unconnected parties, providing their customers access to
a global pool of providers and buyers of intellectual
capital, partly enabled by the internet. This study aims
at building a holistic picture of the phenomenon of
global intellectual capital brokering. The ways in which
global IC brokers create value for their customers and
facilitate the emergence of innovations are explored.
The open innovation paradigm provides the principal
theoretical basis for this study. Furthermore, the
phenomenon is observed from the perspective of industrial
network theory, in order to understand how
interorganizational networks affect the role of global IC
brokering. Empirical insight into the topic is gained
through a case study, where the views of all actors in
the brokering process - the providers, mediators, and
buyers of intellectual capital - are analyzed. The
observed cases represent a variety of industries,
cultural backgrounds, and company sizes, ranging from
individual scientists to multinational corporations.
The main findings of the study imply that global
intellectual capital brokers do facilitate the emergence
of innovations by building unobvious contacts between
previously unconnected parties. The transactional
contacts established by the broker do not diminish the
importance of long-term strategic relationships, but
complete them. Brokering services are especially
beneficial in emerging industries where knowledge cells
are fragmented globally, and in terms of cross-industrial
contacts. The short-term approach brings along a high
degree of uncertainty, but the opportunity to gain access
to new networks outweighs the risks.
The study also reveals in which ways global IC brokering
creates value for different types of customers, including
both proactive and reactive sellers and buyers of
intellectual capital. Furthermore, positive and negative
implications of the brokering service for the customers
on both sides are listed, helping corporate
decision-makers to better understand the phenomenon.
Though this study provides substantial new contributions
to the knowledge of open innovation practices and the
intermediate markets for innovation, there are still
plenty of fruitful research topics available in the area.
Some suggestions for a future research agenda are thus
provided at the end of this publication.
|Place of Publication||Espoo|
|Publisher||VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland|
|Number of pages||106|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|
|MoE publication type||D4 Published development or research report or study|
- intellectual capital
- interorganizational networks
- brokering services
- open innovation
- innovation networks