Leadership. Personality. Education: The Innovation-Promoting Triad in University-Industry Collaboration – Real-World Projects Foster Students' Innovative Capability

Leadership. Personality. Education: The Innovation-Promoting Triad in University-Industry Collaboration – Real-World Projects Foster Students' Innovative Capability

Liane Windisch, Alisa Schwinn, Werner G. Faix
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3901-9.ch017
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The challenges of today's rapidly changing environment are tremendous. Almost every organization has new tasks; some must even completely modify their strategy or business model. In most cases, these processes are accompanied by the implementation of innovations. To achieve important innovations that are suitable to change our world for the better, the cooperation between academia and industry must be enhanced. A dual education model is suggested, as knowledge and competencies are mainly delivered by institutions of higher education, but the implementation of new ideas occurs most often in organizations. Besides the generation of new ideas, a successful realization may be challenging. Therefore, leadership is necessary. Taken together, a contemporary educational program should focus on innovation development and leadership competencies. Based on a literature review, the current situation is analyzed, and a summary of the educational requirements is given. Finally, a newly developed study program—the Diploma of Performance and Leadership—is presented.
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The world and its inhabitants must cope with challenges in all areas of life: social, economic, global, national, and individual (Willke, 2014). These sweeping changes not only occur in politics, states, and businesses. Humanity is strongly affected by digital and biological transformation, overpopulation, and so forth. In the face of today's and tomorrow's challenges, a dramatic rethink is indispensable.

To change our lives for the better, revolutionary innovations have had far-reaching effects in history. Ever since, innovations are crucial especially to the long-term growth and survival of organizations (Tucker, 2008, as cited in Xu et al. 2006) and society. Innovations are useful ideas that become value-creating reality (Faix, Mergenthaler, Ahlers & Auer, 2015). Thinking about the origin of new ideas that become innovations, new knowledge is required, which is mainly produced in universities (Huggins, Johnston, & Steffenson, 2008) and higher education institutions (HEI). Gaining knowledge is one important educational outcome. Furthermore, university students, scientists, and scholars develop key competencies crucial to the implementation of innovations, such as critical thinking, curiosity, and the ability to ask questions (Reichert, 2019). Based on this, universities have the potential and the obligation to impact practice, to be more relevant for economy and society as well as to yield human prosperity and well-being (Alajoutsijärvi, Juusola, & Siltaoja, 2015; Watermeyer, 2014).

Today the realization of innovations in organizations “[...] is no longer restricted to R&D laboratories. Innovation could be and is more general and horizontal in nature, including social, business model, and technical innovation” (Dutta, Lanvin, & Wunsch-Vincent, 2019, p. 205). Given this widespread occurrence of innovations, typically several organizational areas and their respective leading managers are responsible for decision making and implementation (Damanpour & Schneider, 2006). Those leaders show specific traits and competencies (Sikora, 2017) as well as a certain personality (Schumpeter, 1934) that are important to generate an innovative environment. The development of competencies and personality is the central aspect within the Humboldt’s humanistic educational model for universities.

The need for innovations is evident in our fast-changing world. However, the challenges caused by digitalization and the search for sustainable development can only be solved when multiple actors jointly merge their respective strengths (Reichert, 2019). Therefore, discussions focus on the opportunities that may arise out of university-industry-collaborations (Cohen, Nelson, & Walsh, 2002; Feldman, Feller, Bercovitz, Burton, 2002; Murmann, 2003).

This chapter focuses on the questions:

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    How and to which degree do industrial players and HEIs collaborate in order to achieve innovations?

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    Which educational approaches lead to competencies and personality traits that are important for innovation management?

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    Which role does leadership play with regard to innovation management and which didactical strategies are suitable to develop respective leaders?

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    How could a state-of-the-art program with regard to leadership development look like that involves HEI and industry?

In this chapter, the above-mentioned questions are addressed in form of a literature review. The current state of research is presented and definitions of the most important terms are given. An educational strategy derived from these findings will be exemplified by the description of a newly developed higher education program. This chapter therefore makes a theoretical contribution in order to understand to the status-quo of HEI-industry-collaboration. Furthermore, it summarizes existing knowledge regarding strategies for leadership education, considering current and future requirements. Based on these findings, practical implications are provided on how a leadership development program should be designed in our fast-changing society.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Creative Personality: Is considered a basic prerequisite for innovation and entrepreneurial success, which is of immense importance for the future viability of any organization and for finding solutions to global challenges. A state-of-the-art leadership education should therefore provide a framework that supports people to become creative personalities by fostering performance and leadership competencies.

Innovatability: Was introduced by Faix and Mergenthaler to emphasize the importance of innovations for the value creation of companies as well as their contribution to increase one's own professional and employment capabilities.

EBC: Is the specific form of SIBE’s Experience Based Curriculum at SIBE and is characterized by the interaction of the three elements of theory, action and reflection. These three elements play an equal role in the educational process and are an integral part of the curricula of SIBE’s study programs. In contrast to traditional institutions of higher education, the EBC takes place with the interaction of these three protagonists: institution of higher education, student and company.

Development of Competencies: Is the most important component of an effective educational program for future leaders. Since learning activities based on real-world projects enable students to acquire an individual competency profile, the link between theoretical learning with practical application is seen as an important fundament for creating future innovators. In order to assess the students’ competencies, the study programs using the EBC are accompanied by a systematic analysis called KODE ® .

Innovation Quality: Denotes the degree to which there is a certain outcome, resulting from an innovation initiating, sustaining, or safeguarding value creation (Faix, Mergenthaler, Ahlers & Auer, 2015).

Inquiry-Based Learning: Is an educational approach that emphasizes the student's role in the learning process by focusing on investigation and problem-solving. Rather than imparting knowledge through the teacher, students are encouraged to conduct research themselves, i.e. to explore the research topic, ask questions, and find solutions.

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