Creating University Spinoffs: A Science-Based Design Perspective

Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 114-128, 2008

40 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2009

See all articles by Elco van Burg

Elco van Burg

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics

A. Georges L. Romme

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences

Isabelle M. M. J. Reymen

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE)

Victor A. Gilsing

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS); Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Ministerie van Economische Zaken

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

Academic entrepreneurship by means of university spin-offs commercializes technological breakthroughs, which may otherwise remain unexploited. However, many universities face difficulties in creating spin-offs. This article adopts a science-based design approach to connect scholarly research with the pragmatics of effectively creating university spin-offs. This approach serves to link the practice of university spin-off creation, via design principles, to the scholarly knowledge in this area. As such, science-based design promotes the interplay between emergent and deliberate design processes. This framework is used to develop a set of design principles that are practice based as well as grounded in the existing body of research on university spin-offs. A casestudy of spin-off creation at a Dutch university illustrates the interplay between initial processes characterized by emergent design and the subsequent process that was more deliberate in nature. This case study also suggests there are two fundamentally different phases in building capacity for university spin-off creation. First, an infrastructure for spin-off creation (including a collaborative network of investors, managers and advisors) is developed that then enables support activities to individual spin-off ventures. This study concludes that to build and increase capacity for creating spin-offs, universities should do the following: (1) create university-wide awareness of entrepreneurship opportunities, stimulate the development of entrepreneurial ideas, and subsequently screen entrepreneurs and ideas by programs targeted at students and academic staff; (2) support start-up teams in composing and learning the right mix of venturing skills and knowledge by providing access to advice, coaching, and training; (3) help starters in obtaining access to resources and developing their social capital by creating a collaborative network organization of investors, managers, and advisors; (4) set clear and supportive rules and procedures that regulate the university spin-off process, enhance fair treatment of involved parties, and separate spin-off processes from academic research and teaching; and (5) shape a university culture that reinforces academic entrepreneurship by creating norms and exemplars that motivate entrepreneurial behavior. These and other results of this study illustrate how science-based design can connect scholarly research to the pragmatics of actually creating spin-offs in academic institutions.

Keywords: university spin-offs, design science methodology, organization design, case study, literature review

JEL Classification: O31, O32

Suggested Citation

van Burg, Elco and Romme, A. Georges L. and Reymen, Isabelle M. M. J. and Gilsing, Victor A., Creating University Spinoffs: A Science-Based Design Perspective (March 2008). Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 114-128, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1458905

Elco Van Burg (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands
+31 20 59 82510 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/elco-van-burg

A. Georges L. Romme

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences ( email )

Den Dolech 2
Eindhoven
5600 MB Eindhoven
Netherlands

Isabelle M. M. J. Reymen

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) ( email )

PO Box 513
Eindhoven, 5600 MB
Netherlands

Victor A. Gilsing

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) ( email )

P.O. Box 513
NL-5600 MB Eindhoven
Netherlands
+040 247 4435 (Phone)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 4081945, 4081980 (Phone)
+31 10 4089015 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://web.eur.nl/fbk/dep/dep2/Staff/people/vgilsing

Ministerie van Economische Zaken ( email )

Bezuidenhoutseweg 20
Den Haag, 2594 AV
Netherlands
+31 70 354 3771 (Phone)
+31 70 379 7788 (Fax)

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