This article examines “triple helix” collaborations, which are technology development projects that consist of industry, academia, and government partners. The article provides engineering managers with a process for engaging in such collaborations. Due to the cultural and organizational differences of partners, effective collaboration is difficult. The process offered follows the general stages of a typical project and discusses the challenges that may arise at each stage. The introduction of a fourth party called a “4th Pillar organization” is recommended as a solution to the difficult process of managing triple helix projects. A case study of the 4th Pillar organization, Precarn, and the benefits it has provided is presented. An engineering manager can use this article to decide whether to engage in triple helix collaborations and, if so, how the process of successful collaboration can be managed by a 4th Pillar-type organization. After reading it, the engineering manager will know whether or not it makes sense to engage a 4th Pillar organization in order to help with triple helix collaboration.
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