2006/08/30 15:20 "KIBS Track"

2006/08/30 15:20 "KIBS Track", SEM 2006, HUT

Services Engineering and Management Summer School, Helsinki University of Technology, August 28-September 2

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the Coevolving Innovations web site by David Ing.

Second presentation

Ian Miles, "Knowledge Intensive Business Services: Links to the Service Base"

Project two years ago for the British Government, and business-university links

  • Mostly science in universities
  • Privitized labs went under


  • Relationships with universities and public science
  • Analysis with surveys within KIBS firms and universities

Little work, maybe one German study, although a lot on university-industry link

  • Talks about industry are usually manufacturing, not services
  • Don't see many departments at universities on service innovation
  • Service tends to be service in management, running hotels
  • Little on services in the university system

Found many things in university-business link are common

  • Common: size differences, large firms will invest more and have more relationship with university
  • Exception:  in IT firms, the smaller firms have more relationships
  • Centre of excellence
  • Barrier to good relationships often related to professional funding, e.g. university quality assessment exercise is biased against applied and cross-disciplinary report

This is mostly about companies already cooperating, how far companies want to use universities as a source of knowledge

  • Requests don't always come from companies, but sometimes university person will come with a good idea, or come with EU study
  • CASE (Cooperate Awards for Scholarship) awards to students, where most money from government, small money and supervision from company.
  • Cheaper for company because graduate students are half the price of professors, but requires a lot of supervisor's time

Assumed knowledge flows are a linear model of innovation

  • Knowledge flows to industry, directly or through intermediaries (associations)
  • Flows through graduates or professional training, or publications, or cooperation, sometimes access to facilities (e.g. an experimental 3-D printer), or through general consultation
  • This simplistic model needs modification, and found more than expected
  • Can examine linkages, using existing survey, community innovation survey plus survey

Data from the communication inventory survey

  • Tells about flow of graduates, science and engineering vs. others
  • KIBS sectors are most knowledge-intensive, about hiring more university graduates
  • Orderd by number of graduates: more technology-based KIBS than professional KIBS
  • In terms of flows of bodies, the universities are very important for KIBS
  • This doesn't tell us much about innovation
  • Hiring from undergraduate training
  • Business say that universities don't teach useful skills, but do get people who are trainable
  • Computer science companies are dubious about computer science approaches at universities
  • Accountancy firms don't like accountant students, e.g. they don't like critical theory, want boring people; thus will hire and train other graduates
  • Construct validity: high-tech, medium tech, low-tech

Surveys tell about other things

  • Relevance of sources of information
  • Use of public information (blue line) is lower than that for private information (red line) ... except R&D firms
  • Services vs. manufacturing not much different in information sources


  • Manufacturing firms are more likely to collaborate with universities than service firms
  • 9% of manufacturers, 5% services collaborate:  relatively few
  • Exception is technology-based universities
  • Study: most dynamic companies correlated with collaboration


  • Large firms collaborate more, and use less formalized types of information
  • Types:
    • Environment Services
    • Business Continuity Services (disaster recovery, but doing risk assessment and risk management)
    • More interested in market research and marketing firms: one more physical and the other dealing with IT
  • All firms through innovation was important, but no person in charge of innovation
    • When engage, set up a new social network, rather than having a long-running department
  • Could be other links, but survey asked for innovation-related

Human resources:

  • Large firms more strategic
  • Often send people to professional development systems within their disciplines

Small firms have few links, links ad hoc, don't know how search for right people

Universities have lots of liaison officers, etc., but none has any strategies for services or KIBS

  • Occasionally, would say work in sector, e.g. media interested in engaging with multimedia students
  • No thought that historic links need to be refurbished, e.g. from industry to services
  • People were surprised by this idea, encouraging

Can see knowledge flows in both ways

  • Large firms: research collaboration, information


  • Lack of knowledge about KIBS (absorptive capacity) on both sides
  • Heritage: services didn't used to be technology-intensive
  • Create beacons, that universities may be useful to providing knowledge that is useful, or companies having interesting problems to research
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