Universities and innovation ecosystems: A dynamic capabilities perspective

Sohvi Heaton, Donald S. Siegel, David J. Teece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Universities play an important role in innovation ecosystems. In addition to developing human capital and advancing technology, they are increasingly expected to participate as economic development partners with industry and local, state, and national governments. Models such as the "Triple Helix" have been advanced to frame the assessment of interactions among academia, industry, and governments that may foster economic development. Such models highlight the boundary-spanning roles of universities and provide a predetermined list of actions universities could take to strengthen their ecosystem. Unfortunately, the flexible and entrepreneurial management of universities required to make this model work has virtually been ignored in the academic literature. We propose the dynamic capabilities framework to guide how universities might manage their innovation ecosystems. We use this framework to analyze the role of the university throughout the ecosystem lifecycle. These concepts are then illustrated with three case studies of universities that have engaged with partners in local economies to launch new industries, fostering entrepreneurship, and revitalize neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-939
Number of pages19
JournalIndustrial and Corporate Change
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • D24
  • L31
  • M13
  • O31
  • O32

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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