Triple collaboration for innovation and sustainability: a case study of a manufacturing enterprise

Agnes Franco, Manuel Diaz, Maria E. Sánchez Zambrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Currently, companies are strongly pressured by the growing expectation of stakeholders on issues such as environmental conservation and the preservation of natural resources. As stated by stakeholder theory, this expectation influences the decision to buy the products offered by the company and pushes the company to develop innovations. This also applies to new work operations or even new products, since they should also meet these expectations. For this reason, business managers often require joint work with new actors, such as universities, which have relevant knowledge that may be beyond the reach of the company. Therefore, the study of the critical factors that allow the success or failure of alliances between companies and universities becomes relevant. Also, government regulates and promotes environmental care in the market by promoting ecological standards, and also by financing the public goods necessary to achieve collaboration between different stakeholders for innovation and environmental sustainability. Innovation can only be maintained with the intervention of the government, because it would not be possible to leave innovation in the hands of companies who would then have to assume all the risk involved when allocating budgets for research and development. By involving universities, the state and firms provide opportunities for the application of new knowledge in companies’ operations. The objective of this study is to understand in depth the particular case of an alliance that seeks to develop an innovation in the form of an environmentally friendly product. This type of work is required by the literature, because although there are studies that recognize the relevance of various factors, most of them are quantitative, and case studies are necessary to recognize the nuances of these relationships in depth. Our study identifies the following conditions as facilitators of collaboration for innovation: The alignment of all partners’ objectives, the constant search for best practices in production, the proper diversification of risk, adequate market segmentation, and the formalization of contracts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Drivers for Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability
  • Triple Helix


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