Innovation ambidexterity and public innovation Intermediaries: The mediating role of capabilities

Muthu De Silva* (Corresponding Author), Jeremy Howells, Zaheer Khan, Martin Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We lack an in-depth understanding of how the different roles played by public innovation intermediaries during their engagement in collaborative projects enable them to generate ambidexterity. By adopting a sequential mixed methods research design to gather data from 122 Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) operating in Europe, the findings suggest that public innovation intermediaries performed two different roles in collaborative projects
namely, knowledge integration and network building, and these have a differential impact on the generation of distinct types of in-house innovation. The knowledge integration role is conducive to exploratory innovation, whereas the network building role contributes to exploitative innovation. Importantly, relational, and internal capabilities mediate between these roles and innovation. Yet, this mediation effect varies depending on the nature of the public innovation intermediary’s role and innovation profile. How public innovation
intermediaries should utilise their key roles to generate in-house ambidexterity is crucial in leveraging the impact of public funding in this area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-29
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date15 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgement: Authors would like to acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the Innovate UK for this study. We would like to thank the editor, Prof Morgan Miles, and two anonymous reviewers for immensely valuable feedback and advice in the preparation of this article. Our gratitude also goes to the Big Innovation Centre for supporting data collection. We also acknowledge financial assistance received from Birkbeck, University of London to get the paper proofread. Authors also kindly acknowledged the feedback received during the “Academy of Management”, “Marketing, Strategy & Policy” [best paper award], and “Innovation Intermediaries and Emerging Digital Technologies: Policy and Practice”, conferences.


  • Innovation ambidexterity
  • public innovation intermediaries
  • exploitative innovation
  • exploratory innovation
  • knowledge integration
  • network building


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