The present paper has the aim to investigate both the strategic and operating variables of a technology transfer organization within the Smart Specialization context. Still few empirical contributions have been focused on the technology transfer models in the context of the Quadruple or the n-Tuple Helix (Carayannis et al., 2018), as well as on the context of Smart specialization strategy (S3) (Asheim, 2019), due to their very recent implementation. Then, we propose a qualitative empirical analysis through a multiple case studies, by using the design thinking (DT) approach. The empirical analysis suggests that the evolution of a technology transfer organization relies mainly on two key concept: 1) the density of the connections among local innovative actors and 2) the stakeholder’s awareness of the advantages deriving from S3 implementation. Combining these two variables, different typologies of organizations can be identified along with the evolution paths.
Keywords: Technology Transfer, Research Exploitation, Smart Specialization Strategy, Design Thinking