Open Innovation as a Driver of Economic Development in Emerging Markets

RIIS will be presenting a paper at the XIII Triple Helix International Conference 2015 held from 21-23 August 2015 in Beijing, China titled Academic – Industry – Government Triple Helix Model for Fast-Developing Countries.

In the research paper that will be presented, two Triple Helix Projects are analysed in terms of their economic impact with a specific focus on the open innovation within them.

The first of these is a collaboration between multiple government entities, academic institutions and an industry partner with the goal of economic development in Southern Africa. A web-based open innovation broadcast platform was used to source and disseminate technology throughout the region. This collaboration spanned several countries including South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and  Zambia and was  analysed in terms of its macro-economic impact.

The  second  triple  helix  collaboration  is  smaller  than  the  first,  consisting  of  a  single  industry-university-government  coupling.   The  aim  of  the  collaboration  is  to  develop  the  necessary  tools  for  the  effective management of open innovation in Southern Africa. The bulk of the collaboration outcome is localised within the boundaries of the industry partner. This partnership is analysed from the perspective of the micro-economic impact of open innovation, through triple helix collaboration, on small firms.    

The  two  triple  helix  collaborations  are  analysed  by  assessing  five  possible  ways  they  could  potentially contribution to economic growth. These five methods of economic growth contribution are:

a.  The creation of social capital through network expansion;

b.  Increased firm resilience;

c.  Fostering of human capital through knowledge transfer;

d.  Improved competitive advantage through knowledge and technology absorption; and

e.  Multi-factor growth through NSI collaborations.

It is concluded that Open Innovation contributes to economic growth through all of the above stated avenues, but to varying degrees. The configuration and specific aims of a Triple Helix configuration shape the effect it has  on  organisations.   Small  firms  with  limited  absorptive  capacity  draw  little  value  from  intermediated technology transfers;  larger firms, with a greater absorptive capacity and available finances, can use it as an  effective means to absorb external technology and so expand their competitive edge. The negating factors for small firms to capture value from direct technology transfer is a lack of technology awareness, lack of skills to utilise a more advanced technology and a most notably a lack of financial resources. 

The full paper will be published here once delivered.

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