How inbound open innovation helps SMEs learn and improve: knowledge transfer from university to industry through direct coaching

January, 2019

Authors: Farrukh, C., Athanassopoulou, N., & Ilevbare, I.

This paper explores how coaching using University generated knowledge can be seen as a form of inbound organizational innovation (OI) that enables SMEs to improve their innovation activities. Evidence from one of seven OI pilots within the EU Science2Society program is starting to offer analytical evidence of what aspects of the approach are successful and why, and discuss the learning from the project with respect to inbound open innovation. The pilot involves working with 10 SMEs to explore and map knowledge transfer in the form of direct one to one coaching engagements between academia and SMEs. The knowledge transfer in this pilot is carried out by means of applying strategy and technology management tools, which have been developed through research, in a workshop setting using an SME’s own business context. Preliminary results are being analysed to show what limits and enables effective knowledge transfer and to understand why and how group coaching helps an SME’s innovation activities.