The need for private sector and government departments to work with universities to tap into latest research and talent is well understood and appreciated by many executives and government bureaucrats. However the current forms of engagement are no longer responsive to the current challenges facing modern private companies and governments. First and foremost, there are rapid evolutionary and revolution changes in technology, so most companies will always be chasing the pack. Even governments are not spared; for instance before we understand how mobile money can be regulated, blockchain is knocking hard and has already confused many. In fact some companies my drain all resources in the never ending chase. Secondly there is growing economic volatility and competition from emerging economics. Companies that do not innovate will obviously go under.
Current forms of engaging universities are mainly based on transaction model, business incubator model or open research model. In transaction-based engagements, universities carry out contract research work or knowledge transfers partnerships (KTPS). Where as this carries less risk, it does not lead to ground-braking research. Incubator based engagements emphasize start-up or spin-off companies where companies result from in-house research. However, given that most of the management staff in business incubators may not come from an entrepreneurial background, they seldom possess the ability to meet the skills requirement of their clients. The generic open research model is where universities partner with private industry at a variety of scales, including large corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations, as well as government agencies under a consortium of parties that share a common set of goals. This model creates long-term strategic alliances, focused around a specific area of study. Core benefits of this approach include transparency between entities, pooled resources and streamlined processes of bringing research from bench-top to the market. However, log term engagements carry the greatest risk.
To mitigate the inherent challenges of long term engagements, the software systems center has adapted our engagement model crafted around the principles of agile software development where deliver results every 6 months. Our aim to provide a low-cost environment for technological breakthrough to drive innovations to come by shaping strategy based on identified consumer needs and trends.