The triple helix model (THM) is being widely used as a source of inspiration for policies and programmes aimed at fostering innovation. This is evolving across the range of policymaking geographical scales, as well as independently of the geographies of context that determine different framework conditions for promoting innovation. This article questions the extent to which the THM provides a solid conceptual basis for development policies, particularly at the local level. It does this by exploring the experience of a Portuguese small municipality, in which the development policy effort is not only guided by the model itself, but is also targeted at the materialization of local ‘triple helices’. The authors take advantage of their direct involvement in the local policymaking exercise and confront their observations of the change dynamics evolving in the municipality with the ‘endless transitions’ that are at the very core of the THM.