The role of organization intermediaries in science-/techno-push versus user-centric approaches in health care innovation



Health care ecosystems instantiate different innovation trajectories, driven either by science-/techno-push or user-centric rationales. This article focuses on organization intermediaries (OIs), respectively, active in health care ecosystems driven by science- and techno-push versus user-centric innovation processes; it aims at characterizing their operation and intervention modes. The analysis elaborates on network and content brokerage. Innovation also needs to consider various challenges associated with physical vicinity. The authors check whether territorial anchoring plays a role in brokerage, depending on the innovation model.

The article offers an investigation of eight French organizations matching the definition of OIs and active in different areas of health care-related innovation. It follows a qualitative and abductive research protocol adhering to the precepts of grounded theory.

First, the authors show that content and network brokerage specialize in specific activities in each innovation model. On network brokerage, the authors show that OIs foster the development of communities of practice in the science-/techno-push model, while they nurture communities of innovation in the user-centric model. Services materializing content brokerage are typical consequences of activities performed in each model. The second contribution deals with physical vicinity. In the science-/techno-push model, OIs install a physical space (the “internal” dimension) to support the development of communities of practice, while the “external” dimension copes with agglomeration effects. In the user-centric model, OIs deliver services thanks to the “internal” space; communities of innovation create a leverage effect on the physical space to operate their activities that are supported by “external” network effects.

The originality of the article lies in the description of the alternative roles plaid by organization intermediaries in the science-/techno-push versus user-centric approaches of innovation. In these two approaches, (contents and network) brokerage and physical vicinity play different roles.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
Date de parution: 
European Journal of Innovation Management