Assessing the innovation capability of a research institution

Visser, J. D. (2011-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Industrial Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The evolution of the university’s role in national innovation systems has lately received increasing attention in international academic circles, with emphasis on its role in stimulating and sustaining national and regional economic growth. Universities in leading economies have adopted economic development as a third mission, along with the traditional objectives of teaching and research, directly leading to the inception of a technology transfer facilitator as an institutional unit. Translating this mission shift into the context of the Innovation Life Cycle, it seems that universities are involved in a larger part of the innovation process, rather than simply supplying inputs for the innovation funnel of industry. The subsequent need to gain maximum value from research has led innovation management practitioners to consider ways in which the innovation capability of universities can be improved. Several approaches have been documented to improve the performance of a university’s technology transfer office as an isolated entity. Most of these studies, however, have neglected to consider the technology transfer office in the context of the organisation-wide innovation process. The aim of this research is therefore to evaluate the innovation capability of a research institution to enable the improvement of their research commercialisation system. As a foundation the state of research commercialisation, innovation, and the relationship between the two are investigated. This process resulted in the validation that research commercialisation can be modelled by utilising an innovation model. The Innovation Capability Maturity Model version 2 (ICMMv2) of Essmann (1) is subsequently investigated with the aim of applying the model. This in turn leads to the application of the Innovation Capability Improvement Methodology accompanying the ICMMv2 in case study format on Stellenbosch University. The results obtained from the case study are presented in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of the innovation capability of the University. The results were found to be an accurate description of the current issues in the commercialisation system at Stellenbosch University. The latter was validated by individuals tasked with the execution of the research commercialisation process at the University. This, in turn, validates the use of the Innovation Capability Maturity Model for the identification of any aspects that need improvement in order to streamline a university’s research commercialisation efforts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die evolusie van die universiteit se rol in nasionale innovasie stelsels kry toenemend aandag in internasionale akademiese kringe. Dit beklemtoon universiteite se rol in die stimulering en handhawing van nasionale en plaaslike ekonomiese groei. Universiteite in voorste ekonomieë het ekonomiese ontwikkeling aangeneem as 'n derde missie, saam met die tradisionele missies van onderrig en navorsing. Dit het direk gelei tot die inlywing van ‘n tegnologie-oordrag fasiliteerder as 'n institusionele eenheid. Die verskuiwing van missie in die konteks van die Innovasie lewensiklus, dui daarop dat universiteite betrokke raak in 'n groter deel van die innovasie proses, eerder as om net die verskaffer van insette vir die innovasie tregter van die industrie te wees. Die daaropvolgende vereiste om maksimum waarde te verkry uit navorsing, het veroorsaak dat innovasie bestuur praktisyns verskeie maniere ondersoek waarop die innovasie vermoë van universiteite verbeter kan word. Verskeie benaderings om die prestasie van 'n universiteit se tegnologie-oordrag eenheid as 'n geïsoleerde entiteit te verbeter, is gedokumenteer. Die meeste van hierdie studies het egter nagelaat om die tegnologie-oordrag eenheid te oorweeg in die konteks van die organisasie-wye innovasie proses. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is dus om die innovasie vermoë van 'n navorsingsinrigting te evalueer om die verbetering van hul navorsing kommersialisering stelsel moontlik te maak. As 'n basis word die stand van navorsing kommersialisering, innovasie en die verhouding tussen die twee ondersoek. Hierdie proses het gelei tot die validasie dat navorsing kommersialisering gemodelleer kan word deur middel van 'n innovasie model. Daarna is die Innovation Capability Maturity Model weergawe 2 (ICMMv2) van Essmann(1) ondersoek om ten einde die model toe te pas. Dit word gevolg deur die uitvoering van die Innovation Capability Improvement metodologie, as deel van die ICMMv2, op die Universiteit van Stellenbosch, in ‘n gevallestudie-formaat. Die resultate wat verkry is uit die gevallestudie word in terme van sterk en swak punte met betrekking tot die innovasie vermoë van die Universiteit bespreek. Die resultate is bevind om 'n akkurate beskrywing van die huidige kwessies in die kommersialiseringstelsel by die Universiteit van Stellenbosch te wees. Dit is dan ook bevestig deur sekere individue gemoeid met die uitvoering van die navorsing kommersialiseringproses by die Universiteit. Dit op sy beurt, bekragtig die gebruik van die ICMMv2 vir die identifisering van die aspekte wat verbeter moet word om 'n universiteit se navorsing kommersialiseringpoging vaartbelyn te maak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6839
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