Book Chapter

The second coming of the triple helix and the emergence of hybrid innovation environments


Meyer M, Grant K & Kuusisto J (2012) The second coming of the triple helix and the emergence of hybrid innovation environments. In: Capello R, Olechnicka A & Gorzelak G (eds.) Universities, Cities and Regions: Loci for Knowledge and Innovation Creation. London: Taylor & Francis (Routledge), pp. 193-207.

This chapter reflects on and attempts to make sense of recent developments of the relevance of the Triple Helix to university industry government relations and examines their impact on economic development in a national and regional context. Sense making seeks to structure the unknown by placing policy formulation into a frame of reference using the theories of policy networks and policy communities, thus allowing one to ‘comprehend, understand, explain, attribute, extrapolate and predict’ (Starbuck and Milliken 1988: 51), in this case national examples of economic and innovation development. At the heart of the Triple Helix notion lies the assumption that the spheres of academia, industry and government are moving closer to each other and boundaries are getting blurred. Leydesdorff (2003) developed a formal model that allows us to test the overlay of the various strands of the Triple Helix. One of the salient features of Leydesdorff’s model is that it allows for ‘negative overlay’, or more specifically, a decrease in the overlap between the three different strands. This approach provides inroads to identify policy, structural and focus-related change, or departure to and in the Triple Helix relationship, which has tended to have the ‘University’ at its heart. Recent research has shown that university patenting – arguably a key indicator in the Triple Helix context – has become static, particularly in the USA (Leydesdorff and Meyer 2006, 2010) and early indicators may suggest it is in decline. This finding suggests blurring of boundaries at the edges of the Triple Helix, coupled with key actors in the Helix system, principally in academe, tending to re-entrench themselves to focus on their ‘core business’ of academic research (Leydesdorff and Meyer 2010). It also may suggest that the centre of the Helix may be shifting to a different locality: conceptually, intellectually, methodologically and practically. One could argue that this refocusing on core activities (research and teaching) may actually increase the need for collaboration in what are pre-competitive or non-core areas of academic activity, in different ways to support and enable the research and teaching agenda. Newman writes, when exploring the idea of the academy, that other institutions are far better suited to act as instruments ‘extending the boundaries of our knowledge than a university’ (Newman 1852: Preface).

Triple Helix; regional innovation system; University spin-off; Science Park; knowledge spillover; Triple Helix model; innovation system; non-university research institutes; knowledge creation; technology park; academic entrepreneurship; knowledge production function; central European context; regional innovation; academic entrepreneur; national innovation system; forward citations; regional development; technology transfer; local labour market;

Universities, Cities and Regions: Loci for Knowledge and Innovation Creation

Publication date31/12/2012
Publication date online07/12/2012
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Place of publicationLondon