Progressing a university-industry collaboration (UIC) model for open and sustainable innovation

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This paper describes the implementation and progress of a university-industry collaboration (UIC) model, developed by the ipd-r research group at the University of Technology Sydney, to advance the competitive strength of small to medium manufacturing enterprises. The Integrated Product Design Research (ipd-r) UIC model opens up the innovation process and fosters engagement between industry partners, design academics and, in a unique way, a large cohort of undergraduate design students. Incorporating a diverse range of perspectives via methods of practice, the model explores short to medium-term outcomes for the industry partner over a series of iterative engagement cycles, over a 2-3 year term. The research reported here focuses on the first iteration of the model that incorporates a strategically planned exercise through two industry projects that generate a diverse range of innovative concepts. These concepts are collectively analysed both by the academic team independently and in collaboration with the industry partner for R&D planning and to inform the second iteration of the model. The research indicates that the ipd-r UIC model does successfully overcome some of the barriers previously identified with other forms of UIC and that the strategic management of conceptual development in an UG design subject by academic design practitioners, offers constructive open engagement for a participating manufacturing SME, otherwise inaccessible for them. Significantly, the results provide both short-term and medium-term strategic innovation directives for the SME and represents a way for manufacturing industry to learn how to develop innovation strategy and engage research for competitive advantage.
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