The Penta Helix Model of Innovation in Oman: An HEI Perspective

Alrence S Halibas, Rowena Ocier Sibayan, Rolou Lyn Maata
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 12  •  2017  •  pp. 159-174
Aim/Purpose: Countries today strategically pursue regional development and economic diversification to compete in the world market. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are at the crux of this political strategy. The paper reviews how HEIs can propel regional socio-economic growth and development by way of research innovation and entrepreneurship.

Background: Offering an academic perspective about the role of HEIs using the Penta Helix innovation network for business and social innovation, the paper discusses opportunities and challenges in gestating an innovation culture. It likewise seeks, identifies and details strategies and workable programs.

Methodology: Best-practice innovation campaigns initiated by Omani HEIs in collaboration with capstone programs organized by the government were parsed from selected local and international literature. The study includes a causal analysis of innovation information contained in 40 out of 44 published OAAA Quality Audit reports about HEIs from 2009 to 2016. The best-practice programs serve as success indicators and will be used as a field metric effect a Penta Helix blueprint for innovation.

Contribution: The paper discusses how HEIs can engender, nurture, drive, and sustain innovation and entrepreneurial activity by using an innovation strategic blueprint like the Penta Helix model. It gathers together the recent historical attempts at promoting innovation by HEIs. It likewise suggests the creation of a network channel to allow key players in the innovation network to share innovation information and to collaborate with each other. Furthermore, it contributes to the development of innovation culture in HEIs.

Findings: Expectations run high in academia. For one, universities believe that all innovations embryonically begin within their halls. Universities–too–believe it is naturally incumbent on them to stimulate and advance innovation despite that most innovation programs are initiated by the government in Oman. HEI engagement is perceivably still weak. HEIs have yet to come out as a strong leading force in promoting systems of innovation. There is clear awareness of the need to adopt leading-edge practices in innovation strategy and management, curriculum and assessment, staff support and reward systems, funding and ICT infrastructure, research commercialization and IP management, and community engagement.

Recommendations for Practitioners: There is need to conduct more in-depth analyses about the synergy and partnerships between key players of the Penta Helix model. A large-scale survey will help completely reveal the status and impact of innovation practices in the region and among HEIs.

Recommendation for Researchers: There is need to conduct more in-depth analyses about the synergy and partnerships between key players of the Penta Helix model. A large-scale survey will help completely reveal the status and impact of innovation practices in the region and among HEIs.

Impact on Society: The paper hopes to influence policy. It fully intends to convince policymakers increase the adoption of strategic interventions. The paper is not a theoretical description of the problem. It suggests several concrete courses of action.

Future Research: The paper has seen the need to measure the effectiveness of the current innovation practices among key players in the innovation network and how these practices advance Oman’s knowledge economy. We propose a Likert-based bottom-up engagement metric.
entrepreneurship, HEI, innovation, knowledge economy, Penta Helix
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