From the Triple Helix Model (THM) to an Actor Flow Model (AFM)
: Two Case Studies on the Co-Creative Evolutionary Relationship Between Universities, Industry, the Government, and a Research Institute in Taiwan

  • Chia-Pin Huang

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


The need for collaboration among different institutional actors including, universities, industry and governments, in national innovation systems, has been championed by the creators of the Triple Helix Model (e.g., Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 1995). However, these authors played down the importance of research institutes in these interactions during the evolution of innovation. Moreover, although under the THM it is accepted that there are flows of resources between actors, this has yet to be comprehensively conceptualised. To address these issues, in this research the THM is extended to a model that not only includes the role of research institutes, but also allows for examination of the energy flows during successful innovations, involving: human, knowledge, money and physical resources, entitled the Actor Flow Model (AFM)Further, central to this concept of ‘flow’, an evolutionary perspective of inclusionality (Huang, 2010) is posited as a possible enhancement of the innovative process. This is a new evolutionary perspective conceived by Rayner (2006, 2010), a micro-biologist, who found that the evolution of the mycelia and other natural phenomena are not driven solely by competition, as Darwinists forecast, but by the facilitation of dynamic energy flows and their mutual influencing relationships across space. That is, central to this aspect of the thesis is the notion of interdependency between parties in the innovatory process.This model is then applied to case studies of two inventions in Taiwan that involved collaboration between the four aforementioned actors to show how its constructs offer an improvement on the THM, regarding its explanatory power for successful innovations. The two focal inventions originate from different technological fields: biomedical and optoelectronics.A further element that this thesis shows is that the language used needs to change in order to generate an inclusional and transformational journey. The language used in this narrative changes with the development of my epistemology.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJeroen Huisman (Supervisor) & Roger King (Supervisor)


  • inclusion
  • evolution
  • innovation
  • triple-helix
  • energy flow

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