The Triple helix

triplexFrom Iina Hellsten of the Athene Institute at the VU University, I heard about work by Loet Leydesdorf (the image on the left is ‘borrowed’ from his website and you can click on it to get to the website too) and others on the model of the Triple helix. What is the Triple helix, and why is it so interesting?

Many of us who are working to bring the domains of policy, practice and research further together in the field of development – and this is true for me personally (in my small way) as well as for, on a larger scale, IKM Emergent and the organisation, Context, international cooperation, for which I work – are fuelled by an intuitive belief that bridging the divides between the different domains can only lead to better development. But although we have had this intuitive belief but we are struggling with why this is so important. I think the metaphor of the Triple helix helps us with this…

The Triple Helix metaphor/model provides a framework to analyse the institutional dynamics between government, industry and higher education – similar to the domains of policy, practice and research in development – in order to consider innovation in a knowledge-based economy. You can read much more about the Triple helix on the website noted above. Based on a quick google, there are already some approaches which link the triple helix to development: a conference on universities in developing countries which took place in 2006, a study of sustainable knowledge-based development, and one on entrepreneurship in South Africa.

One of the things that really appeals to me about this approach – as someone with an information and doumentation background – is that science metrics, bibliometrics and citation analysis can be used to analyse the different sectors. More on this another time….

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One Response

  1. Since writing this post, I am, ironically, only now reading IKM’s own Valerie Brown’s book, ‘Leonardo’s vision: a guide to collective thinking and action’ which offers a powerful theoretical framework linking the power of different sorts of knowledge from different domains. This approach has been something fundamental to the development of the whole IKM programme very much influenced by Valerie. More on this book later…

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