Partnerships for innovation. What model to choose?

Innovation policies are relatively new in public policy (at most, attention is being paid since the 90s).

However, some models are proving to be very effective, among them the so called “triple helix of innovation”

The Triple Helix of Innovation is the (trilateral) collaboration and relationship of industry, universities and government to foster innovation in a region.

The OECD has underlined the key factors to success: open communication, incentives, competition, flexibility, transparency, support and client-oriented.


The format of this analytical ‘innovation system’ is rather simple: a set of components, relationships and functions.


The components are

(i)  innovators;

(ii) institutions; and

(iii) individual and institutional innovators.



There are five types of relationships:

  • technology transfer,
  • collaboration and conflict moderation,
  • collaborative leadership,
  • substitution,
  • networking.


The  innovation generation, diffusion and use is then realised through  activities in collaborative spaces (focused on R&D and flow of knowledge)


In my opinion, the attitude of academia, firms and goverment seeds the future benefits.



USA: The Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Disney Research Lab (Carnegie Mellon University) and the Stanford Research Institute.

EUROPE: Bosnia and Herzegovina (under the OECD project)



The Triple Helix Concept


How are new technologies changing scholar publishing?

There are important trends to be learnt from the technology of the new models that are appearing, some of them already used by traditional actors of the industry.

  • Digitalization in the creation, access, use, storage (Hendrix, 2010) and marketplace of scientific publications. In other words, there are new ways to publish (e-books and digital collections) and more access research results driven by data intensive research.
  • Social/Sharing (specifically, interactivity, receptivity and creating content). Researchers` use of web 2.0 tools[1] is going up, even though not as fast as in more traditional consumer web services. The latter is due to the importance of quality and trust in this market. Nonetheless, growing population, integration of social features in software and specialized vertical scientific networks may change this landscape (Weber, 2012).
  • Mobile (Kroski, 2008; Swoger 2013). Scientific apps for tablets, phones and other tools (such as web databases) are growing in functionality and scope.
  • Education, Government, open data, open government, open access and open source. Every day, more and more academics think there is a better or at least a different way from traditional publishers to share their research: open access. In this case, the peer-reviewed research is available but with no restrictions. There are different proposals regarding the services open access includes. Broadly speaking, it offers free access to the publications, the creation and maintainance of institutional repositories and mandatory proposals like making publicly funded research to be made available to the general public.
Source: Website of International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers.

Source: Website of International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers.


Regarding specific technologies, the ones affecting this sector are ¡:

1) Development frameworks;

2) HTLM5: thanks to its potential as web content (Kozlowski, 2012);

3) Big data/data management systems: noSQL, Mapreduce or BiTorrent;

4) Big analytics: text and data mining, that is to say, tools to mine and analyse big data (Ware, 2012) and

5) Cloud and Mobile computing and semantic technologies.

[1] CiteULike, Mendeley, Researchers´Gate, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs


“Evolution, Revolution or Something Else?” – INDUSTRY TRENDS. Dec. 2013.

“JEPS Bulletin.” Web log post. JEPS Bulletin RSS.

“What Are Trends in Scholarly Publishing?” What Are Trends in Scholarly Publishing. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.

“Disciplinary Action”, Nature, March 2013.

“Mentors, mates or metrics: what are the alternatives to peer review?” Jan 29th 2014. From the editor. Euroscientist

Byrnes JE, Baskerville E, Caron B, Neylon C, Tenopir C et al. (2013) “The four pillars of scholarly publishing: The future and a foundation” PeerJ PrePrints 1:e11v1

Clarke, M (2013) “The End of an Era for and Other Academic Networks?” The Scholarly kitchen. December 11th, 2013

Cochran, A (2014) “Looking for Pirates in the Sea of Content” The scholarly kitchen. FEB 11, 2014

David Meyer, D (2014) “Ineffective Pirate Bay blocking order overturned by Dutch court” JAN. 28, 2014

Denissen, Jaap, Linus Neumann, and Zalk Maarten Van. “How the Internet Is Changing the Implementation of Traditional Research Methods, People’s Daily Lives, and the Way in Which Developmental Scientists Conduct Research.” International Journal of Behavioral Development 34.6 (2010): 564-75. Print.

Economic analysis of scientific research publishing. A report commissioned by the Wellcome Trust. January, 2003.

Exposito, J (2013 a) “The Digital Publishing Revolution Is Over” March 2013.

Exposito, Josepk (2013,b). “A Snapshot of the Scientific and Technical Publishing Market.” The Scholarly Kitchen. N.p., Oct.-Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Habib, M. (2013)”Archive for the ‘scholarly Publishing’ Category.” Michael Habib Nudging Serendipity Product Manager for STM Researcher Workflow Publishing and Library Solutions. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Harris, S (2013) “Ten trends in scholarly publishing”. Research Information, 17 October 2013

Hendrix J “Checking Out the Future. Perspectives from the Library Community on Information Technology and 21st-Century Libraries”, Office for Information Technology Policy, 2010.

Houghton, J, Rasmussen, B, Sheehan, P, Oppenheim, C, Morris, A, Creaser, C, Greenwood, H, Summers, M and Gourlay, A (2009) Economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models: Exploring the costs and benefits.

Kotarski , R. , Reilly, S.;  Smit, E. and Walshe, K. (2012):Reports on best practices for citability of data and on evolving roles in scholarly communication , [Miscellaneous].

Kotarski R, Reilly S, Schrimpf S, Smit E, Walshe K (2012). Report on best practices for citability of data and on evolving roles in scholarly communication. Retrieved from web.

Kozlowski, M. (2012) Are eBook Apps, HTML5, or ePub3 the Future of Digital Publishing? February, 2012.

Kroski, T (2008)“On the Move with the Mobile Web: Libraries and Mobile Technologies” Ellyssa Library Technology Reports, 2008, vol. 44, n. 5, pp. 1-48.

Laakso M, Welling P, Bukvova H, Nyman L, Björk B-C, et al. (2011) The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20961. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020961

Lozano, G., Lariviere, V, Gingras, Y “The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age”.Submitted on 19 May 2012. Cornell University Digital Library. arXiv:1205.4328 [cs.DL]

Lunden, I. (2013) “Confirmed: Elsevier Has Bought Mendeley For $69M-$100M To Expand Its Open, Social Education Data Efforts.” TechCrunch.., Apr.-May 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Milmo, Dan. (2006) “Publishers Watch in Fear as a New World Comes into View.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 19 Apr. 2006.

MORRISON, Heather. Economics of scholarly communication in transition. First Monday, [S.l.], may, 2013. ISSN 13960466. doi:10.5210/fm.v18i6.4370.


National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Webinar: New Perspectives on Assessment How Altmetrics Measure Scholarly Impact. November 13, 2013.

Peterson, A. (2013) “How one publisher is stopping academics from sharing their research” The Washington Post. December 19, 2013

Sandvine (2013) “Global Internet Phenomena Report”


Simba (2013) “Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2013-2014 Report”, Simba, October, 2013.


Smith, R “Online Scholarly Publishing in Canada: Technology and Systems for the Humanities and Social Sciences”. Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol 29, No 3 (2004) Simon Fraser University.


Swoger, B. Mobile Apps for Searching the Scientific Literature. March 26, 2013. Retrieved Web 13th Dec 2013.


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Ware, M and Mabe, M. (2012) “An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing” . International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers. November 2012.

Innovation in corporate culture? A success story


Gore has been profitable nearly since its beginning with sales and permanent growth resulting in more than 10.000 associates, 3 billion dollars of revenue (2012)[ii], 1.000 products[iii] and offices in more than 30 countries[iv][v]. The secret of its success is the ability of the company to implement and execute a strategy based on two pillars: leadership in innovative technology and corporate culture for more than fifty years.

Regarding the first of them, Gore is a leader in high quality and innovative products based on the technology of the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Almost since its creation, Gore has succeeded in incremental innovation (product developments of PTFE) but also in introducing new products based on this technology[vi], even without a formal R&D department[vii]. Gore is also very innovative regarding its model of management. Both of them are strictly related (for instance, thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit established through the corporate culture the firm innovates continuously in new products and development of the existing ones).

This leadership in technology comes along with an appropriate implementation of an innovation strategy[viii] over the time:

  • Protection of Innovation: more than 2000 patents as a sustained advantage for the future.
  • Internationalization, ensuring the creation and diffusion of its technological innovation taking also into account the advantages and the particularities of local markets.
  • Downsizing R&D, small firms usually outperform and exploit innovations better than bigger firms since its structure is smaller, independent, specialized and flatter which facilitates flexible networks and therefore innovation. Gore Associates was created in 1958 but was growing fast. From the very beginning, he was convinced in the benefits of having small teams[ix]. In 1965 Bill Gore was walking through the plant and noticed he did not know everyone. The team was too big. So he established the practice of limiting plant size to approximately two hundred associates[x].
  • The process of innovation is somewhat formalized. Gore is always open to new ideas. However, when a team has chosen one, a “cross-functional review process” starts. The idea/product is tested in a trial and error process and at a small scale so that the learning process is guaranteed and risks are reduced[xi]. It is management of innovation with a long term perspective[xii]:  no big investments until key uncertainties are solved or the company can rush out of cash[xiii]. The firm believes that innovation pays off in the long term (as the Glide dental floss example demonstrates[xiv])

Regarding the second one, corporate culture, the company believes[xv] in four basic principles (freedom, fairness, commitment and waterline) that cover ethical practices required of people in business. Although sometimes they are difficult to implement, Gore´s corporate culture is based and evolves according to them. Besides, Gore´s main values are “to believe in the individual, the power of small teams, we are all in the same boat and a long term perspective.

The ways on which the firm implements this culture are:

  • A lattice organization: with no hierarchies; no bureaucracy; no titles; “sponsors programme”; leadership defined by followership;  person to person communication (it is impressive that they have developed the “Gorecom” [xvi]: a digital voice exchange  inside the company to communicate better than by email); objectives set by those who must “make them happen” and  tasks and functions chosen through commitments. This type of management has been also called “unstructured”[xvii]. It is in this context where leaders emerge getting things done and excelling team working.
  • A highly motivated workforce. People are motivated with risk, incentives and a reward system (through stock option plans and profit sharing).
  • Intrapreneurial spirit and individual initiative are fostered[xviii]. “DabbleTime” is given to people to foster productivity and innovation. Passion and motivation is driven by the expectations of receiving shares in compensation. Taking into account that passion accounts for 35% of probability of success and initiative for 20%[xix], it is an excellent way of achieving it. Besides, the company believes that ideas take long time to get to the market, as it is[xx].
  • Open innovation[xxi] occurs at the firm. Gore promotes the creation and support of new idea through networks so that the innovation reaches the market as the “Elixir Guitar Strings” case demonstrates. This example also shows (just as Jobs did in Apple[xxii]) that Gore uses its influence to promote a product of his company. Besides, the firm enhances collaboration and communication in all the possible ways: cross-functional, cross-team and with co-location of facilities and plants.


[ii] “W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. Named 2013 Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year” Joan Koerber-Walker on September 11, 2013 in AZBio News

[iii] HAMEL, G.  “Innovation Democracy: W.L. Gore’s Original Management Model”, website Management Innovation eXchange (MIX). September 23rd, 2010

[v] “The big engine that couldn’t” May 19th 2012. The Economist From the print edition

[vi] fuel cell industry, synthetic vascular grafts, Elixir guitar strings, Glide dental floss

[vii] DAFT, G Organization theory and design, 9th edition, Thomson

[viii] Schilling 2012. Cap. 10 “Organización para la Innovación” .

[ix] “Nurturing a Vibrant Culture to Drive Innovation”. Perf. Terri Kelly. MIT Video. MIT Sloan School of Management, Dec. 2009. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

[x] DAFT, G Organization theory and design, 9th edition, Thomson

[xi] HAMEL, G. “Innovation Democracy: W.L. Gore’s Original Management Model”, website Management Innovation eXchange (MIX). September 23rd, 2010

[xii] NOTTER, J “Disrupt or Be Disrupted. Pick One.” Web log post. Jamie Notter Blog Site, Nov. 2012.

[xiii] HARRINGTON, A. “Who’s Afraid Of A New Product? Not W.L. Gore. It has mastered the art of storming completely different businesses” FORTUNE Magazine. November 10, 2003.

[xiv] HAMEL, G.  “Innovation Democracy: W.L. Gore’s Original Management Model”, website Management Innovation eXchange (MIX). September 23rd, 2010

[xvi] DAFT, G. Organization theory and design, 9th edition, Thomson

[xvii] DAFT, G. Organization theory and design, 9th edition, Thomson

[xix] HAMEL, G. The future of Management

[xx] Key findings in innovation. Ministerial report on the OECD Innovation Strategy May, 2010

[xxi] Following the “knowledge flow” and creating groups of scout and conectors as explained in “Creating Employee Networks the deliver open Innovation” Mit Sloan Management Review.  

[xxii] Design Thinking and Innovation at Apple