Universities can be major resources in a company’s innovation strategy. But to extract the most business value from research, companies need to follow these seven rules.
To enhance the capture of new technical knowledge, many companies are engaging in strategic collaborations with universities. But while such partnerships often produce interesting research results–an insightful technical paper, a proposed process or a new computer code, for example–these outcomes
have little or no business impact. In fact, the authors report, only 40% of the projects in the collaborations that they studied led to an observable and generally agreed upon positive effect on the participating company’s competitiveness or productivity. The other 60% of the projects underachieved, at least from a business standpoint: The outcomes did not make their way into products or processes, or influence company decisions.
The authors report the findings of a study to identify management practices for industry-university
collaboration that can improve the impact of university research for a company. The likelihood of successful transformation is greatest, they argue, in companies that have specific procedures to create value from ideas generated by universities. Based on their study, they derive seven “best practices” that will maximize the chances that collaborating with a university on a research project will produce tangible
benefits for the company. They also point out several factors that companies tend to believe will increase
impact, but that in fact do not.