Triple Helix interactions and Open Innovation in Southern Africa

Friday, 29 January 2016 @ 6.00pm CET

Moderator: Prof. Panayiotis Ketikidis, Chairman South East European Research Centre & President of the TH Greek Chapter

Speakers & Talks:

DavisDavis Cook 
is the CEO of the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability. He is an entrepreneur and a leader, passionate about using collaboration to solve the diverse challenges of business and society. Under his leadership, RIIS has provided strategic support to a wide range of organisations to achieve innovation excellence.

Davis also currently fulfils a number of leadership roles in various innovation and entrepreneurial ventures. He sits on the Management Committee of the SA Innnovation Network, is a Non-Executive Director for the SA Innovation Summit Foundation, and a founding partner of an SA-based VC fund. He was the lead author for the Gauteng Innovation Strategy, a multi-helix focused strategic policy for the Gauteng Provincial Government, and has contributed in various ways to a variety of ‘innovation for economic development’ programmes in SA and globally.

His career has spanned global strategy, management and risk consulting, and economic policy development at both provincial and national government level. He has started (and failed) several of his own renewable energy businesses, and intends to do more. His academic background includes physics, applied math, politics, economics and development studies.

Talk: Getting triple helix systems to work in emerging markets

The talk will cover the following themes, using South Africa as an example of an emerging market struggling (from our perspective) to create a coherent national system of innovation:

  • Overview of the THS and OI activities RIIS is undertaking;
  • Organic vs synthetic development of triple helix interactions;
  • Resource allocation by TH actors in emerging markets (as seen in Southern Africa), and impact on innovation activities
  • Constraints on effective interactions, and impact on collaborative innovation efforts;
  • Potential solutions to dealing with each of constraint


Juha   DrJuha Miettinen is an experienced international innovation policy and instrument professional with some 20 years of experience in innovation systems development and innovation support, technology transfer, business development and methods in public-private – triple helix – collaboration regionally, nationally and internationally.

Juha has resided in Africa (Namibia) for some last five years working as the Chief Technical Advisor and Team Leader being in charge of an extensive regional innovation funding programme; Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme, SAIS, aspired for strengthening innovation ecosystems in several Southern African countries ( Before joining SAIS in early 2011, as a COO in the one of the leading innovation and science park companies in Finland, Hermia Ltd, he has earned wide experience and practical knowledge on Finnish and European innovation systems and methods. Throughout his carrier Juha has been member of supervisory and steering boards of tens of innovation initiatives and programmes. He is also seasoned and trained company board member.

Juha holds a M.Sc. (International Economics) degree from the University of Tampere and B.Sc. (Economics) from the University of Oregon, US. He is busy with his PhD around Triple-Helix Collaboration in emerging economies

Talk: Triple Helix Collaboration in making? – Case studies from Southern Africa

Innovation is widely seen as the driver and catalysts of economic growth and well-being in modern societies. Innovation ecosystem describes the diverse array of participants and resources that are interrelated, contribute to and are necessary for innovation advancement towards and in a knowledge-based economy. This ecosystem encompasses companies, entrepreneurs, investors/financiers, researchers, universities/higher education units and the public sector in different forms and levels. In many cases the University-Industry-Government collaboration mechanism triangle forms an anchor and a key approach to the functioning of these ecosystems.

It can be argued that in the Southern Africa to a large extent the national and regional innovation ecosystems are still largely emerging and to some extent in infant phase. For the region and countries to move towards innovation and knowledge-driven economies these innovation ecosystems needs to be built up and operations remarkably enhanced.

The presentation strives for rsponding to the folllowing questions:

  • How does the University-Industry-Government (Triple helix) collaboration portray in Southern Africa?
  • What are the key challenges and opportunities related to the Triple helix interactions and collaboration in an emerging innovation ecosystem?
  • What policy, funding and implementation instruments should be developed and used to strengthen University-Industry-Government collaboration in emerging innovation ecosystems?

The material has been compiled around a regional innovation development programme, The Southern Africa Innovation Support programme (SAIS,, aiming at supporting national and regional innovation systems in the SADC region by bringing together the elements of the systems of innovation in each participating pilot country Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. The duration of the programme phase I has been April 2011 up to December 2015. The total budget mainly financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland is about 8 MEUR.



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