Relating in Project Networks and Innovation Systems

30 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2011

See all articles by Maria Kapsali

Maria Kapsali

Hull Business School ; Umeå School of Business and Economics; Imperial College London - Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology Management

Date Written: June 6, 2010


There are several approaches to study innovation. Systems Theories use analysis of the functions of their elements (subsystems) and their relations. A systemic theory like Triple Helix is based on the premises that relations between the policy, academia and industry subsystems are the means of production and utilization of innovation, and are also the means of drafting infrastructures to base unique networks of hybrid organizations like projects to deliver innovation. The question is how systemic relations are defined and conceptualized in the project literature and whether we can enhance our understanding of innovation systems by mapping dynamic interactions and causality in relating.

This paper illuminates systemic relating as practiced between policy and projects in the EU innovation system. In order to do this, it is important to focus on a specific relational aspect of the relation between these actors and to produce a detailed mapping of their interactive dynamics. The paper studies how 14 innovation projects relate with the implementation part of EU policy. The results are organized in relational maps displaying the dynamic interaction between policy and projects. Based on these maps a causal flowchart is abstracted to explain policy-project systemic relations, filling explanatory gaps in both the Triple Helix and project networks literature. According to the findings, policy implementation instruments need to be redesigned since they have a restrictive influence upon the management of the innovation project and specifically upon the management of change and of internal/external project.

Keywords: Projects, Networks and Ecologies

Suggested Citation

Kapsali, Maria, Relating in Project Networks and Innovation Systems (June 6, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Maria Kapsali (Contact Author)

Hull Business School ( email )

Hull, HU6 7RX
United Kingdom


Umeå School of Business and Economics ( email )

Biblioteksgrand 6
Umea, 901 87

Imperial College London - Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology Management ( email )

United Kingdom

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