Original Research

A hypothetical improvement of the quadruple helix model of innovation

Riaan Dirkse Van Schalkwyk, Rigard J. Steenkamp
Acta Commercii | Vol 22, No 1 | a1037 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v22i1.1037 | © 2022 Riaan Dirkse Van Schalkwyk, Rigard J. Steenkamp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 April 2022 | Published: 27 October 2022

About the author(s)

Riaan Dirkse Van Schalkwyk, Department of Operations Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Rigard J. Steenkamp, Department of Operations Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Orientation: Innovation is forged by sub-revolutions as described by the quadruple helix (QH) model.

Research purpose: Innovation model formation is complex, and the useful QH model can develop and improve to be exemplary.

Motivation for the study: The rationale of the study is to validate and improve the QH model with additional concepts, fresh perspectives of experts and the investigation of the primary sub-revolutions forging innovation.

Research design, approach and method: A conceptual and critical review approach implied narrative data of the model from secondary sources; a convenience sample of five innovation experts for critical reviews was thematically analysed.

Main findings: Ultimately, the improved QH model must accommodate the legal, moral and ethical world to merge with the physical, biological and digital worlds; appropriate terminology for QH innovation leadership is needed, and triple technology theory (TTT) should be incorporated with the triple management theory (TMT) dimension of the model; the review conformed the sub-revolutions of innovation with respect to (1) innovation leadership, upscaling agility and innovation essentials, (2) the triple helix (TH) ecosystems sub-revolution and epochal society and (3) the new technological paradigm, technology intensity and TMT.

Practical/managerial implications: The already useful QH model is confirmed and may develop to become exemplary with respect to the hypothetical improvements suggested.

Contribution/value-add: A fresh and improved QH model is suggested in the context of complex innovation model formation and the paucity of literature.


innovation concepts; quadruple helix (QH) model; triple helix (TH); entrepreneurial university; epochal society; agility; triple technology theory (TTT); triple management theory (TMT); tenacious thought leadership.


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