Title: Relational strategies to connect technology and design: technology brokering and mediating

Authors: Claudio Dell'Era; Roberto Verganti

Addresses: Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano – Piazza L. da Vinci, 32 20133 Milano, Italy ' Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano – Piazza L. da Vinci, 32 20133 Milano, Italy

Abstract: The open innovation paradigm represents one of the most debated topics in technology and innovation management research in the last decade. Concurrently, different modes of collaboration involve different strategic trade-offs. Scholars operating in the technology management field have investigated the distinction between brokers who provide knowledge and mediators who provide contacts with other actors. While the former exploit their network position to connect separated worlds, the latter introduce disconnected organisations and facilitate their coordination. This paper explores the differences between technology brokers and mediators to provide guidelines that can orient managers to identify the appropriate bridge strategy towards radical innovation. Specifically, this paper leverages the rich literature about brokers. From an empirical point of view, the research relies on a multiple case study that focuses on two collaborative projects undertaken by Material ConneXion with BMW and PUMA.

Keywords: technology brokering; technology mediating; design-driven innovation; open innovation; technology management; innovation management; collaboration; radical innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTIP.2013.052618

International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning, 2013 Vol.9 No.1, pp.10 - 25

Available online: 14 Mar 2013 *

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