Corporates must tap academic research

It is a fact that most Universities / Research Labs (publicly funded) produce research, publish their findings and have a roster of intellectual property. This is business as usual for them. They do little in terms of commercialising their discoveries.

Corporations on the other hand have ‘innovation’ as the mandate. They attempt to commercialise inventions and profit out of creating value. Since their focus is on commercialisation, they should not be spending too much effort on ‘Research’, but sadly they do.

Most ‘research’ functions have been blamed for not being effective. This is due to a number of reasons. Lets not get into it. Many corporations also do not have the muscle power to sustain long term research activities either! Hence long term sustainability of corporations is under serious threat. Enhancing innovative ability of their organisations is ‘Top Priority’ for the CEOs / Top Management Teams.

Hence it makes sense for corporations to focus on their core activity of making innovations happen while tapping into academic research for gaining access to new inventions. I recently read an article on this topic (Link: https://hbr.org/2016/04/innovative-companies-get-their-best-ideas-from-academic-research-heres-how-they-do-it?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=harvardbiz).

There are a lot of reasons why this may be difficult to practice in a developing economy. Here are some top of the mind reasons:

  • Low public funding for research
  • Poor research infrastructure
  • Low quality research output
  • Poorly documented / published research
  • Little research of practical value
  • Little interaction between industry and academia

And so on… But one is bound to be surprised by the number of useful ‘intellectual property’ that lie dormant in our (India) public universities / research laboratories. Some smart companies are already beginning this…

As a corporate looking to stay relevant in the future, it is useful to include scanning academic research as part of your strategy function. Number of interesting ideas are presented in the article cited above.

Read, access and explore the academic world to find inventions that can be commercially valuable for your firm / organisation.

This could be one way of enhancing corporation innovation.

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