Consumerism and Innovation: The Starting Points for the Creation of University Spin-Off

Consumerism and Innovation: The Starting Points for the Creation of University Spin-Off

Enrico M. Mosconi, Michela Piccarozzi, Cecilia Silvestri
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5880-6.ch015
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In the current economic environment companies are progressively required to focus in innovation. In particular, consumerism is one of the major pulses to innovation. Today, consumers are looking for more and more innovative and qualitative products and so companies seek to heavily invest in technological advancements to meet the needs of customers. Even universities try to follow the trend of consumerism and adapt their activities to the market demands: first of all, in the way of teaching and transferring culture, and secondly, using their knowledge to create innovative companies. So, this second mission that allows universities to commercialize research results, has assumed a strategic role and primary importance in government policies, in Europe as well as in the rest of the world. University spin-off (USOs) can be considered one of the most important vehicle to create innovative firms based on scientific and new technological product. The trend of consumerism can be followed with spin-offs. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the link between spin-off planning, especially during the business plan preparation, and consumerism. This area is investigated through a systematic review of the literature about the consumer, consumerism and the spin-off phenomenon.
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Short Notes On The Demand For Goods And Technology Services

The demand for consumer goods as well as for services is determined by consumers who purchase products to satisfy a personal need or requirement. The hi-tech market is characterized by a set of current and potential consumers and by a set of products and services. Consumers have a common set of needs and requirements and confront each other when taking a decision: the market is not seen only in the classic sense of a place where economic exchange takes place, but as a living reality where consumers interact, communicate and exchange opinions. In this perspective, the hi-tech market must be considered a segment of a larger and ‘global’ market, made up of an “active network” of buyers: consumers who are also geographically distant belong to the same market, if they can communicate. The market needs to have these characteristics.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Innovation: The application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society. The term innovation can be defined as something original and, as consequence, new that “breaks in to” the market or into society. One usually associates to new phenomena that are important in some way. A definition of the term, in line with these aspects, would be the following: “An innovation is something original, new, and important - in whatever field - that breaks in to (or obtains a foothold in) a market or society.”

High-Tech Market: The integrated communications-based process through which individuals and organizations discover that existing and newly-identified needs and wants may be satisfied by high-tech products.

Consumer Behaviour: The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society.[1] It blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the decision-making processes of buyers, both individually and in groups. It studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference groups, and society in general.

Consumerism: A social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts. The term “consumerism” has also been used to refer to something quite different called the consumerists movement, consumer protection or consumer activism, which seeks to protect and inform consumers by requiring such practices as honest packaging and advertising, product guarantees, and improved safety standards. In this sense it is a movement or a set of policies aimed at regulating the products, services, methods, and standards of manufacturers, sellers, and advertisers in the interests of the buyer.

Technology Transfer: The process of transferring skills, knowledge, technologies, methods of manufacturing, samples of manufacturing and facilities among governments or universities and other institutions to ensure that scientific and technological developments are accessible to a wider range of users who can then further develop and exploit the technology into new products, processes, applications, materials or services.

Technology: The making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species' ability to control and adapt to their natural environments.

University Spin-Off Means: New companies created from universities to exploit knowledge produced by academic activities in a profit making perspective.

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