Volume 43 Number 5
Published: September 12, 2012
The process of knowledge brokering in the agricultural sector, where it is generally called agricultural extension, has been studied since the 1950s. While agricultural extension initially employed research push models, it gradually moved towards research pull and collaborative research models. The current agricultural innovation systems perspective goes beyond seeing research as the main input to change and innovation, and recognises that innovation emerges from the complex interactions among multiple actors and is about fostering combined technical, social and institutional change. As a result of adopting this innovation systems perspective, extension is refocusing to go beyond enhancing research uptake, and engaging in systemic facilitation or what has been called ‘innovation brokering’. Innovation brokering is about performing several linkage building and facilitation activities in innovation systems, creating an enabling context for effective policy formulation and implementation, development and innovation. Conclusions are that an innovation systems perspective also has relevance for sectors other than agriculture, which implies that in these sectors knowledge brokering as enhancing research uptake and use should be complemented with broader innovation brokering activities.