Challenging the triple helix model of regional innovation systems: A venture-centric model

Malin Brännback, Alan Carsrud, Norris Krueger, Jennie Elfving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


We offer a critical analysis of the triple helix model as a preferred basis for innovation systems. From a review of the research on innovation systems, it is argued that most models fail to include the entrepreneur and the innovator, as those models are macro-level concepts. It is suggested that this exclusion is a reason for low levels of entrepreneurial activity. We argue that the concepts of the entrepreneur and the innovator need to be treated as separate constructs. Structured interviews show that the key elements of the triple helix model such as governments, universities, and industries are not well integrated despite various efforts. The study shows that entrepreneurs and potential innovators (scientists and researchers) feel excluded or avoid involvement with government actors. The study questions the existing top-down triple helix model of innovation systems, as it discards the entrepreneurs. We offer a competing model based on reversed causation (a true bottom-up) double helix model.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, innovation systems, technology development, triple helix, regional innovation, reversed causation, double helix model
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-277
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Technoentrepreneurship
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • entrepreneurship
  • innovation systems
  • technology development
  • triple helix


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