Innovation Hubs in Rural Areas
A Qualitative Interview Study
Innovation hubs are a promising new way to foster innovations in rural areas. However, research in this field is still at a preliminary stage. The literature neither provides a clear definition, nor a systematic overview of types and roles of these hubs. To help close this research gap, we conducted interviews with ten different innovation hubs in Germany. Based on our qualitative content analysis, we were able to identify four central roles of hubs (supporters, knowledge brokers, networkers, and physical experiment spaces) and describe their specific functioning. Further, we found indications that each of these roles has a specific influence on the development of rural areas. With these insights, our study provides a useful basis for future research as well as a successful management of innovation hubs in practice.