University-industry collaboration and its effects on innovative thinking among students

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: Due to the pressure for industry to constantly innovate to keep the leading edge,companies are more and more pursuing external sources of innovation to speed upthe innovation process. University{industry collaboration, which is later referred toas UIC, enables open innovation, co-creation and the collective creation of knowledge.Hence, it is an attractive opportunity for both university and industry. UICcan create value by improving innovativeness, but the potential for innovation dueto the direct collaboration between industry and students has not been investigatedthoroughly so far. This research project aimed at lling the research gapabout industry student collaboration by increasing the understanding of the valuethat the involvement of students in UIC could create and by investigating if students'innovative thinking develops due to the interaction with industry and hencecan complement co-innovation processes in the future. The research project hasbeen conducted through a qualitative cross-sectional study. To get a more universaloverview of UIC, interviews were conducted in Sweden and the USA. Findings indicatethat UIC creates value for university, students, and industry. Especially forstudents, there is more value created and also industry can bene t from additionalvalue created. Students get real-life experience and project-based learning, whichleads to a richer learning experience. Furthermore, collaboration with industry improvesemployment opportunities for students. Students can use UIC to build theirnetwork. Regarding industry, there can be a positive impact on a company's reputation.Moreover, students bring in a fresh perspective, reection, inspiration, energyand enthusiasm. The students also dare to question the status quo and make thecompanies rethink how things are done. Through the collaboration companies getaccess to new knowledge and innovation tools. Collaborating with students can alsohelp companies to prepare for the future. Furthermore, industry student collaborationhas a positive e ect on innovative thinking among students. The researchproject showed that innovative thinking can be learned, and that industry studentcollaboration can help to develop it. Participating in an education program thatcombines theory and practical experience or founding a student start-up can beused to develop innovative thinking.

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