Synergy in innovation systems: Redundancy in the triple helix of university-industrygovernment relations
The Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations can first be considered as an institutional network. However, the correlations in the patterns of relations provide another topology: that of a vector space. Meanings are provided from positions in this latter topology and from the perspective of hindsight. Meanings can be shared, and sharing generates redundancy. Increasing redundancy provides new options and reduces uncertainty; reducing uncertainty improves the innovative climate, and the generation of options (redundancy) is crucial for innovation. The knowledge base provides an engine of the economy by evolving in terms of generating new options. The trade-off between the evolutionary generation of redundancy and the historical variation providing uncertainty can be measured as negative and positive information, respectively. In a number of studies of national systems of innovation (e.g., Sweden, Germany, Spain, China), this TH synergy indicator has been used to analyze regions and sectors in which uncertainty was significantly reduced. The quality of innovation systems can thus be quantified at different geographical scales and in terms of sectors such as high- and medium-tech manufacturing or knowledge-intensive services.