Triple helix knowledge interactions: A study of institutional, virtual and on-line intermediaries
University of Exeter
Moving from a triple helix perspective, through quadruple and quintuple toward N-Tuple helices, the emphasis placed on the utility of knowledge and the effectiveness of knowledge transfer by the world’s leading economies only increases. Similarly, at an organisational level the shift toward knowledge sharing and open innovation reflects this also. Therefore, the importance of understanding the interactions between the respective stakeholders and the specific mechanism and structures being developed to facilitate and manage this activity, is imperative too. This will better enable us to maximise the potential offered to companies, universities and societies from knowledge sharing and exchange and this study focuses on one particular type of organisation operating within this intersection – intermediaries who facilitate knowledge or technology transfer. Firstly we identify a range of structural models that stakeholders from around the world have adopted to build their knowledge and technology transfer offerings. These range across institutional: through faculty-based; arms-length; peripheral; regional-virtual and virtual-online. The article discusses the relative merits of each structure before focussing in on one new and emergent mode – the virtual online platform. We then explore different on-line platforms before deriving a simple typology that begins to characterise their respective service offerings and major differentiating characteristics. Finally, the article showcases five specific offering, representing the respective typologies, before discussing their relative strengths and weaknesses and their fit with the wider structural offerings, presented in the earlier sections of the paper. The article makes a number of contributions. By identifying the respective structural configurations of intermediaries, researchers may compare and contrast each format and University senior managers can likewise consider the respective options before they select and launch their own knowledge or technology transfer office. Also by exploring and comparing the virtual online platforms, actors in the triple helix can understand how this new type of intermediation fits within the existing typologies.
2017 Working Paper