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What You Know or Who You Know

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 06 March 26 2019

March 2019

The EUA has published an extensive and well-designed study on “The Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems”. It reports on a qualitative analysis of the transformation of the role of universities in their regional innovation system. Qualitative, but based on quantitative desk research (using Regional Competitiveness Index data), on a considered and balanced choice of nine universities, and using an extensive sample of 136 interviews with 173 key individuals.

The report, written by Dr Sybille Reichert who has university experience in Switzerland, France and Germany, finds seven paradigm shifts in the conception and organisation of innovation:

  1. From linear to iterative
  2. From closed to open
  3. From technology-driven to challenge-driven
  4. From individual to collaborative, interdisciplinary
  5. From spontaneous to systematic
  6. From exchange to co-creation
  7. From innovation projects to innovation cultures.

An analogy with the human brain presents itself, where it is no longer only the ‘grey matter’ that is seen as crucial, but equally the white threads (axions) that serve to connect different parts of the brain.

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