A new method for developing true partnership in universities Teemu Ylikoski Mika J. Kortelainen Presented at the Learning by Developing Conference, May 2012. Updated Nov-2012 11/24/201224.11.2012
University – business partnerships?Experiential learning, LbDFundingJoint learningIncreasing importanceSystematicityStrategic goal <-> haphazard approach?A university’s business partnerships do not appear as agenuinely common resource24.11.2012
Forms of cooperation •Campus visibility •Teaching cooperation •Corporate presentations •Learning assignments •CV clinics •Business projects •Sponsored classrooms •Theses •Cases •Practical training Employer Student reputation contacts and and sharing recruitment knowledge Know-how Innovations development and and innovative competitive practices advantage •Knowledge sharing and •Research cooperation networking •Small and large research •Consulting experts projects •Seminars •Innovation support •Targeted training services •Promoting •Information services entrepreneurshipBased on Aalto University School of Economics and PriceWaterHouseCoopers, 2009 24.11.2012
How are partnerships managed?1. Relationship management is a strategic concern. It is related to long-term competitive advantage, and is a top management issue.2. The ultimate purpose of relationship management is to increase value for the organisation, and its stakeholders.3. The process of relationship management is about identifying key “customers” (such as partners), and developing the relationships with them.4. Systematic building of relationships results in various benefits, such as profitability, retention, and customer (partner) satisfaction.5. All of this depends on documenting and sharing knowledge about the key “customers”.(Adapted from Payne & Frow 2005)24.11.2012
Problems…A university is not a business:• autonomy of organisational units and individuals• internal competition• government-funding and non-profit operationWho OWNS the partner?• individual, research unit, faculty?• more rarely are they common to the entire school.24.11.2012
Case Lohja• Lohja Yrityslabra “Business Lab” has started managing a partnership program for local businesses• The Business Lab is a blended learning environment that coordinates learning projects for the students• …and knowledge-producing commissions for local clients• Represents expansive learning: tasks are complex, with no set correct outcome, and there are several participants making the learning collective24.11.2012
SkillsParticipating students learn skills:• project management and• customer relationship managementwhile coordinating the projects. At the same time,students learn to expand their knowledge intheoretical issues, such as marketing, strategy or e-commerce, when they collect data and writereports for the commissioning companies.24.11.2012
A partnership programAs partner organisations are vital for this type of operation,the Lab has initiated a partnership program to manage localpartners itself. Much like a “real world” customerrelationship program, the Business Lab hosts a database ofpotential and current partner organisations. Thesepartnerships can be used as the learning context for anyrelevant course in the entire Lohja unit.Since the partnerships are systematically nurtured, over timecooperation will become more strategic. For example, futuredevelopment projects with the aforementioned companymight focus on its e-commerce strategy – something thatwould not be possible without a successful history of workingtogether.24.11.2012
Students run the programbusiness students are responsible for:1. Contacting the “customers”, i.e. local companies and organisations who are potential partners for the Lab,2. “Selling the service”, i.e. introducing the partners to the idea of continuous cooperation with the Lab,3. And following up on the “customers”, i.e. keeping in touch to make sure mutual needs are covered.4. Also, as in a “real” CRM, the students document everything in the database. Hence, when one student graduates and a new one enters the Lab, the partner history stays available. As a consequence, knowledge accumulates, is shared and future projects can build on previous ones.24.11.2012
Benefits• improved learning for the students: first hand experience in customer relationship management• deeper partnerships, as relationships evolve over time• The partnership program does not assume or require individual educators to relinquish their “private” partners. Rather, it offers an alternative route for cooperation, parallel to the more conventional method of maintaining partnerships.24.11.2012
Full results of the case areavailable:Teemu Ylikoski, Mika J. Kortelainen, (2012) "A newapproach for managing university-workplacepartnerships", Industrial and Commercial Training,Vol. 44 Iss: 6, pp.349 - 35624.11.2012
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