Managing Relationships in the Context of Open Innovation: A Case Study of the Department of Food Science -­‐ University of Copenhagen and their Industrial Partners

Anders Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

In the era of the knowledge economy new forms of innovation management, namely open innovation, has been accredited to be especially important for the competitive advantage of firms. It includes opening up the boundaries of the firm to co-create and extract external knowledge. This thesis explores in an open innovation context how relationships are managed between a Danish University and its industrial partners. Specifically the empirical research uncover how partners experience collaboration in research projects, using interviews, observations and a questionnaire as tools for gathering data. Through literature reviews, exploring absorptive capacity, open innovation and relationship management, factors that impact such University/industry relationships are identified. Bringing together these factors with data from the empirical research, comparing and analysing them, result in some new knowledge about the importance of specific factors, interdependence and causalities and on how relationships should be managed. Some new findings on how to improve relationships are also revealed. A framework for managing University/industry relationships in an open innovation context sums up the essence of my findings. Conclusions are made, that management of relationships should involve companies and universities on an organizational level, project level and especially on an individual level. Most important factors for successful relationships identified are communication, trust, close collaboration, professional and social competencies and early agreement on IPR, project plan and objectives. Knowledge creation is found to be the main reason for partners to engage in collaborations. Therefore are knowledge capacities of organizations and individuals very important for communication between partners, and in turn the relationship between them. Main challenges and barriers for collaboration are accounted for as well. The thesis ends by briefly discussing the innovation process and the challenges of following a linear approach of innovation.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages86