Three is a Magic Number: An exploratory investigation of the mechanisms behind the practical triple helix

Karin Danielsson

Student thesis: Master thesis


It is repetitively acknowledged that firms, but also public and other institutions need to innovate in order to achieve long term survival and be able to mitigate future societal challenges. However, these challenges are increasingly becoming too grand for the single organisation to approach, leading to the increase of cross-organisational collaborations. One example of such formations is the triple helix, which gather the three sectors of academia, public sector and industry to work collaboratively. This study aimed to investigate how the triple helix context can constitute an environment that is beneficial for innovation, and which factors that may influence the effect of this. Two "triple helix organisations" in the southern region of Sweden were explored to understand these contingencies; Skåne Food Innovation Network and Packbridge. The investigation was based on qualitative data, where twelve people with various relations to the case organisations were interviewed. The main implication of the study is that actors involved in cross-sector interactions need to realise cognitive as well as interpersonal contingencies to allow for a more successful triple helix. Moreover, it was concluded that the triple helix organisations ought to understand the nature of each sphere to better be able to provide examples and knowledge about how to align differences and make these productive.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages84