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Published on 27 de June, 2017 at Cities and Regions

Local Development? Meet the Quadruple Helix model!

By Pol Solà
2 min read

The ongoing need of the cities to define strategies for economic development, along with the growing role played by municipal governments and city’s stakeholders, has created the need of to innovate when implementing economic development models.

At this point the application of the Quadruple Helix model plays a key role, defining future strategies through the interaction of the four main pillars of any process of wealth creation: local governments, knowledge institutions, private businesses and citizens.

Where is the challenge found?

The emergence of new realities such as globalization, network society or the information age hinders the coordination of the different territory’s agents. It is in this environment where new factors, needs and problems appear and municipalities have to face it.

More specifically, we could sum up these shortcomings of coordination around three general facts:

  • Social agents have different goals and needs. Therefore, they are often not coincident and not easily adapted to the other actors’ goals.
  • The lack of communication among the different agents often makes unnecessary repetition tasks and, consequently, the actors do not share their objectives and, therefore, they duplicate efforts.
  • Nowadays, time plays a very important role in the success or failure of strategies, and it is difficult to adjust the different work pace of public administration, the private sector, the citizens and knowledge agents.

Today, when local governments talk about economic development, most of them promote local growth in terms of employability, trying to respond to the needs of people at risk of social exclusion and trying to encourage them to improve their professional skills.

Although these lines of action shouldn’t be left out, it is also necessary to foster local development under the concepts of territorial attractiveness, global positioning and talent attraction among others. In order to achieve these new goals, the existing communication constraints among the different actors should be overcome at the local scale and collective and consensual strategy should be put it practice.


The new catalyst for economic development

That is why the need to apply the Quadruple Helix model in the management and development of local strategies comes into play. This model, on its basic level, seeks to put together the representatives of the aforementioned social sectors with the aim of sharing objectives and experiences, discuss needs and decide a future horizon for local development, where all members feel identified. Also, these group interaction dynamics establish bonds and interactions among the different local actors promoting networking and the generation of new opportunities in the city.

Recently, the Quadruple Helix model applied to local economic development policies has become a place in the local agenda of many municipalities to foster productive synergies and reduce the gap between the interests and work pace of the different local actors.

In short, the Quadruple Helix model serves as a strategic tool endowed with elements of citizen participation, communication, social commitment and political will. At U · TRANS we help some local governments concerned about their future.

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