by Andrew Isherwood, associate lecturer and runs a business and technology consultancy ai:consortia
Three reasons why industry should get involved with a university
I’ve recently been working with Bradford School of Management on developing and delivering a Technology and Innovation Management course for their MSc students. During this course I have encouraged external companies to get involved in both presenting to the students and evaluating them in ‘dragon’s den’ style business presentations. The top three reasons why I think this has been good for the companies involved are:
The primary motivation for a company to be involved with a university is to get some PR from it. This is probably a good idea, as being involved with a university helps to publicise your company with maybe a joint news release when you have done something worthwhile which you can share with potential customers. However, the publicity is more than just a PR event; the company involved becomes recognised by the students, maybe your next star employee finds you this way. These students do go on to do a variety of jobs and the connections made during joint endeavours may become important in future years. Therefore don’t just think of the immediate publicity or networking opportunities but think of the long term opportunities of spreading the word about your organisation by becoming known in academic circles as a ‘listening’ organisation.
2. Idea creation
Ideas are hard to come by, especially good ones, by working with a university companies can tap into these new ideas. The obvious case here is to directly benefit through joint venture or licensing technology however, this takes considerable resources and is usually a long term strategic decision. The other way of idea creation is by linking partial ideas together to make new ideas. Working alongside university students and staff, a company’s employees are relaxed and in a different environment to their usual busy work life. This enables them to think unconstrained, facilitating new idea generation and approaches, problems can be talked through, ideas shared or help asked for in a very organic way.
3. A fresh perspective
Life moves at an ever increasing pace and the young technology savvy student who has their finger on the pulse of trends and the latest happenings can be a useful resource, either to run ideas by or to check what they want from their technology in the future.
There are two other important points, which deserve a mention. Cost, this approach is particularly cost efficient – all a company needs is to contribute the time of its employees. Finally, it is about giving back. If people can benefit from your experience and knowledge and you can influence the potential work force of tomorrow, it’s got to be a good thing.
So get in contact and see how you can both benefit from and contribute to the next generation of leaders at the School of Management