Best Practices for Strengthening University-Industry Partnerships
yet2‘s CEO, Tim Bernstein, presented the keynote address in the “CEOs Session on Industry Academia Interconnect” at IEEMA’s DigiElecBharat conference. The conference is focused on innovation in the electrical industry in India.
During his address, Tim shared case studies, and best practices on navigating university-industry partnerships. These insights stem from his time researching university technology transfer offices in the 1990’s to his current role as head of yet2. The 4 key takeaways in his address were:
1. Both sides must clearly communicate expectations
When embarking on a potential partnership between a university or startup and a large company, both sides must clearly share their expectations upfront and clarify/update expectations at each stage of the partnership. This communication and transparency is critical for enabling trust and a successful partnership.
2. Industry’s needs must align with universities’ technical capabilities and their technologies’ stages of development
When industry identifies a technological need, if it’s short-term or not a good fit for the university or startup, don’t explore a potential partnership. Both sides will end up frustrated. However, yet2 has seen many large industry product development teams with short-term R&D needs also have complementary long-term needs for which universities could be good partners.
3. Industry must have budgets available to co-develop, and patience
Industry must be prepared with budgets and patience to deal with universities, and thus should be ascribing appropriate value to the expertise and benefits that would make those costs worthwhile.
4. Universities and Startups must have compelling Comparative Value Propositions
Universities and startups should very quickly measure their Comparative Value Proposition (CVP), this is a direct and quantitative comparison of their technology’s performance and a cost profile compared to incumbent or leading competitive approaches. Don’t wait or defer on running those comparative analyses; if you don’t have a CVP, then move on to higher potential projects.
yet2 has facilitated thousands of industry-university and industry-start up partnerships with clear expectation setting and early alignment of interests; critical inputs for a successful open innovation partnership.
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