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Connecting students, industries partners and faculties through Open Innovation

by Emer Walsh

Universities have a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders ranging from their current students, alumni and new applicants, along with academic staff, the local community where their campus is based and industry partners. Universities face challenges that impact these groups individually, but they also encounter challenges that impact them collectively. For example, Welcome Week events for new students often involve off-campus activities. This effects new students, returning students and the local community. The diversity of their stakeholders can often make it difficult to collaborate and compare responses, which is where Open Innovation can support.

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Open Innovation is often considered a practice confined to the corporate world, but its applications are broad and extremely customizable. In short Open Innovation is a method defined by Henry Chesborough; it is the practice of expanding internal innovation practices past the theoretical walls of an organization and inviting external stakeholders to be a part of the innovation process. You can read more about Open Innovation and its challenges in our previous blog. 

As discussed in previous blogs, the practice of Open Innovation has been successful for many organizations such as Lego, Nivea and more. It enables organizations to access a pool of ever- expanding knowledge and tap into the interests of their customers, partners and suppliers to identify new opportunities for growth and cost reduction.

Universities are continually seeking ways to create knowledge transfer between academia and industry, be that knowledge, research focused or employment opportunities. Alongside this, they are trying to ensure course content is catered towards the interests of their students. Applying the same Open Innovation practice as corporate organizations, universities can connect with their stakeholders and collaborate to find new and inventive ways to overcome challenges.

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Leveraging Open Innovation for challenges aligned to industry research has never been easier with edison365 Open Innovation. Faculties can collaborate internally on edison365ideas, which is built for Office 365, to highlight areas that require external industry insight, and then these challenges or questions can be posed to your industry partners through the Open Innovation tenant. With the ability to restrict visibility of ideas, you can ensure that any intellectual property shared can be accessible by only the contributor and the internal team or have it open to encourage collaboration between industry members within the comment section. Bring ideas into your internal edison365ideas platform and triage the suggestions against your own configurable metrics to ensure that research is being aligned to both industry standard as well as the universities own capabilities and goals.

Open innovation also enables Universities to drive student engagement by bringing them into the innovation process. Share challenges surrounding course content, campus accommodation, welfare activities and more to gather their insight and identify opportunities for student led change. edison365 Open Innovation makes it incredibly easy for students, alumni and prospective applicants to gain access to challenges with Social Media authentication. Students can log on with their login of choice and ensures they can share their ideas anywhere, anytime.

As mentioned within our ‘Challenges in Open Innovation and how to overcome them’ blog, it is important to ensure that your internal teams are aware of the process and are included within it. Internal collaboration and innovation are needed to refine the ideas from your students and industry partners. edison365 Open Innovation allows you to bring ideas internally so that your faculties can discuss amongst themselves as well as with the original contributor to turn suggestions into solutions. Alongside this edison365ideas is built for Office365, which means that you can use your existing collaboration tools such as Teams and Yammer to drive innovation and change internally without having to worry about user adoption rates.

Leveraging existing investments in Office 365 and adopting Open Innovation, universities can gain the ability to connect students, communities, industries and faculties with each other and identify opportunities for research, campus improvements and more. edison365 is supporting universities to accomplish this by offering free licenses of edison365 Open Innovation, if you would like to find out more about this offer click the button below. 

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If you would like to find out how you can drive campus wide engagement with Microsoft Office 365 and Open innovation, sign up for our upcoming webinars.

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