What is the triple helix?
The triple helix model was developed as a model to help understand and manage innovation in the knowledge economy. The model is based on the interactions that arise in a partnership between three parties: university, enterprise and government.
The idea for the triple helix model originated at the beginning of the 1990s. In this period the designers of the model, Loet Leydesdorff and Henry Etzkowitz, met each other several times at different conferences. Whilst both working on the development of an innovation model.
Etzkowitz is developing a model to analyse university – business collaborations. Leydesdorff enriches this model by adding a third party (government). A third party is necessary for continuous disruptive innovation. This third party is therefore an essential part of the triple helix model.
The triple helix model also states that collaborating parties assimilate each other’s qualities. For example, universities working with companies take over qualities from the business world, like having multiple streams of income. Previously universities often depended solely on financial support from governments. Tapping into alternative income streams like income from patents, contributes to the development of an entrepreneurial university.
There are risks. According to the triple helix model taking over the qualities of your partners ultimately results in a balance in the cooperation. When the two entities balance each other out, they no longer challenge each other and thus cause a lock-in. This is where the third party comes in, it forms a disruptive energy that prevents a lock-in through creating a different movement.