There has been an increasing tendency to democratize processes of research and innovation by including civil society. Traditional innovation processes have been led through a top-down approach and been dominated by research, the public sector and industry; a so-called triple helix, where the focus has been on technological paradigms and their renewal. By involving civil society, a new component enters into the debate and the innovation process. The voices of society are in this way heard by including civil society in the knowledge exchange.
Involving civil society
As present global challenges are rising at an accelerating pace, it calls for new and better constellations where more actors play an essential role and are actively part of the innovation process to avoid overlooking blind spots. In opposition to triple helix collaborations, a quadruple helix collaboration has a fourth leg to stand on – civil society. These collaborations could enable knowledge to be shared quicker and allow better and more sustainable solutions to flourish faster.
New ways of innovating
Quadruple helix collaborations create innovation through interactive processes in which different groups of actors contribute with their knowledge due to their function in society. Such collaborations formalize the role of civil society and this creates a more transparent innovation process based on the principles of responsible research and innovation. In addition they could be more adapted to the needs of the twenty-first century, as knowledge is increasingly created in cross-sectoral collaborations and is not limited to one field of knowledge. More perspectives are therefore needed to understand the present unfolding innovation process through a different lens. Innovation processes thereby become more open through the belief that different stakeholders in society jointly and actively are part of creating new ways of innovating.
If you want to dig deeper into quadruple helix-collaborations please read CoR 2016 report on Quadruple Helixes.
You can also watch this video
Here is another take on Quadruple Helix constallations