The triple helix in action in the fitness sector: a case study of Chi & Co

Julie Thomson, Lon Kilgore, Thea Ni Lionnàin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Glasgow, like many cosmopolitan cities, is in search of new ways to promote economic activity. Today’s local government schemes are expected to fulfill an entrepreneurial role in the economic development of our cities and towns. However, to succeed in such an endeavor requires a formula that marshals collaborative effort into goal achievement. An example of such a multidisciplinary project can be found in the case of Chi & Co, a Glasgow-based yoga studio and instructor school and which is presented in this paper. The source and nature of enterprise supporting initiatives vary in intent, requirement, resources available and are often transient in availability. These limitations require that there be a strategic fit between the company need, academic expertise and drive as well as an enterprise agent, what we have labelled a formula for success. Meanwhile, success in commercialising fitness-related activities is the primary focus here, towards the goal of continued regeneration with an underlying socioeconomic agenda. Government support initiatives vary considerably, with the Princess Scottish Youth Business Trust awarding its innovation award in 2010 to a new start-up company selling golf experiences in Scotland, heralding the start of a focus on supporting innovations in sport and exercise as a commercial product. In addition, over the last three years, The Sporting Chance Initiative has helped more than 500 small businesses and innovators in Scotland to develop new products and services for sports markets, which include growth areas in fitness, leisure, adventure tourism and health/wellness by leveraging the expertise in our Higher Education Institutes, but this has not been easy. Meanwhile, Scottish Enterprise has started initiatives to promote innovations in mountain biking, leading to a more recent rapid rise in incremental innovations in the cycling market. Empirical consideration of fitness-related products developed through public–private body partnerships in a so-called triple helix partnership, is lacking. This paper discusses mechanisms of Open Innovation, which appear valuable in the context of the fitness industry and are illustrated within the Chi & Co. case study, as we develop a three-step framework as a formula for success.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)925-943
    Number of pages19
    JournalLocal Economy
    Issue number8
    Early online date1 Dec 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


    • Open Innovation
    • enterprising city
    • fitness
    • framework
    • regeneration
    • triple helix


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