Title: Flexibility in innovation through external learning: exploring two models for enhanced industry–university collaboration

Authors: Sigvald Harryson, Sandra Kliknaite, Rafal Dudkowski

Addresses: Program Director, Baltic Business School of Kalmar University, The Growth Through Innovation Program, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden. ' Baltic Business School and Lund University, The Growth Through Innovation Program, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden. ' Baltic Business School and St. Gallen University, The Growth Through Innovation Program, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden

Abstract: This paper draws on extensive theoretical research and literature reviews, and presents two cases to illustrate practical applications. It addresses the problem of how learning both from extracorporate sources, like universities, as well as across internal corporate functions, like R&D and manufacturing, can enhance company flexibility and performance in innovation. This paper aims at delivering a new theoretical rationale for industry–university (I-U) learning alliances as a natural way out from the managerial problem of trying to perform both exploration and exploitation within the same company boundaries. Through our theoretical framework, the academic science domain becomes a logical partner to handle the full phase of exploration and support the process of exploitation. The presented cases of Packman and HiFiPower offer new insight into how to perform this act in practice.

Keywords: exploration; exploitation; flexibility; external learning; industry–university collaboration; innovation management; organisational learning; networks; weak ties; industrial collaboration; innovation performance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.015987

International Journal of Technology Management, 2008 Vol.41 No.1/2, pp.109 - 137

Published online: 02 Dec 2007 *

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