The role of innovation intermediaries in the AI and digital era

Wednesday 26 Jun 24

Research from Lluís Sala’s PhD project “From Mediation to Transformation: The Role of Innovation Intermediaries in the AI and Digital Era” aims at providing the so-called innovation intermediaries (start-up incubators, accelerators, clusters, hubs, business parks, industrial networks, etc.) with the insights to elevate the value proposition of their organizations through the use of artificial intelligence and data science technologies.


In connection with his forthcoming defence of his PhD project, Lluís has given us a sneak peak of his findings and answered the following questions:

Give us an elevator pitch of your project

Innovation intermediaries play a crucial role in innovation ecosystems by connecting stakeholders and providing the necessary knowledge, skills, and networks to foster innovation at regional and national levels. However, these organizations heavily rely on human interaction to support their customers or members, including start-ups, investors, researchers, and companies. With the rise of digital technologies, particularly AI, innovation intermediaries can enhance their service offerings and introduce new methods for facilitating innovation. This project explores the current state of AI adoption by innovation intermediaries in Denmark, offering insights on how these intermediaries adapt their business models to digital transformation and manage the cultural change it entails. 

What problem does this work aim to solve?

Innovation processes today depend on human intellect and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. With the advent of artificial intelligence and other data science technologies, there is great potential to enhance the effectiveness of these processes, leading to the creation of more and better innovative solutions and products for industry and society. This PhD thesis explores how this transformation can be facilitated by innovation intermediaries and examines how these organizations can implement AI-driven innovation within an industry traditionally centered on human involvement.

What are the main findings of your research?

Data shows that AI implementation is slowly happening among innovation intermediaries in Denmark, but still these have a lot of challenges and issues that prevent them to fully embrace AI to offer new and better services to industry, the most importants being the lack of digital literacy (digital capabilities), lack of resources, and cultural resistance to adapt to this new AI paradigm. Furthermore, we found that innovation intermediaries’ business model.

How could this research benefit scholars, managers, entrepreneurs, or policy makers (and/or society in general)?

This research benefits scholars, practitioners, and policy makers by offering a comprehensive understanding of how innovation intermediaries can adapt to digital transformation, particularly through AI integration. It provides theoretical insights into the evolving roles of IIs in digital adoption and practical strategies for updating business models to include digital services. Policy makers can use these findings to develop targeted policies that support digital transformation, reduce regional disparities, and enhance the effectiveness of IIs. This guidance helps create a more robust innovation ecosystem, fostering economic growth and technological advancement. 

How could this research impact the future?

This research has the potential to aid shape the way innovation intermediaries and policymakers approach digital transformation and AI integration. By providing theoretical insights and practical strategies, this research equips intermediaries with the knowledge and tools needed to adapt to the rapidly evolving digital landscape. This, in turn, can lead to more effective support for digital adoption among businesses and organizations, fostering innovation and economic growth. Additionally, the recommendations for policymakers can inform the development of targeted policies that promote digitalization, reduce regional disparities, and enhance the overall innovation ecosystem. Ultimately, the research contributes to building a more resilient and competitive future by leveraging the power of AI and digital technologies to drive innovation and societal progress.  

PhD defence

Lluís Sala will defend his PhD project on 28 June 2024.

See location, summary and other details of Lluís' defence here
Reach out to Lluís on LinkedIn

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