Examining Process in Developing Products/Services in UK University Spin-off Context
Interaction or knowledge transfer activities between universities and industry have been observed and widely studied. One of the important categories of linkages and technology transfer is academic entrepreneurship, which includes commercial exploitation of technologies by academic entrepreneurs through setting up a company (Perkman, and Walsh, 2007). With unique and hybrid characteristics, university spin-offs are regarded as an economically compelling subcategory of high-tech start-up firms (Shane, 2005).The study of mechanisms in transferring technology that led to the commercial exploitation of university research through firm creation dates from the late 1960s (Landstr̈om, 2005). However, the product and service innovations of university spin-offs, the conversion of university research into a product and/or a service, as well as the creation of a product or service responding to the market demands (Shane, 2005) remain under-studied. There are gaps in knowledge about the transformation and transfer from academic research to the development of a market-driven product/service (Barr et al., 2009) and in how the product/service development process functions within the university spin-off context (Shane, 2005). The data collected from in-depth interviews of 20 university spin-offs’ founders are used to explore the processes by which products/services within the university spin-off environment are created and to answer the following research question: How is the process of product/service development of USOs organised? The findings show that the development processes, whether for products, services or software, are different from each other, one of the shared characteristics is that customers’ requirements take primary and centre stage in the development process. Additionally, the development process is non-linear; a number of iterations occur during the process. This study has filled a gap in the academic entrepreneurship literature by shedding light on the process by which academic research is transferred and commercialised through the mechanism of products/services development. It also gives grounds for considering the notion that university spin-offs seem to bear a resemblance to the practices of small firms in product/service innovation, i.e. informal and non-linear products/services development processes.
Citation : Baines N. and Lawton Smith, H. (2016), Examining Process in Developing Products/Services in UK University Spin-off Context, In: Uddevalla Symposium 2016 Proceedings, 30 June-2 July 2016
ISBN : 9789187531392
Research Institute : Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes