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Author's profile photo Gerd Ehrhardt

Three Ways to Co-Innovate with Universities and Business Schools on New Scenarios for the Cloud

During a recent follow-up research, to bring myself up-to date with newer efforts, I stumbled across the Open Innovation Blog. It offers extensive resources, research, discussions, and applications of “open innovation”—the idea that firms should remain open to ideas from outside as well as pursue and leverage internal innovation. It intrigued me to find opportunities that could support the current transformation of an organization towards the cloud business model.

Organizations have many “change-resisting” questions about the future of the cloud and their transformation towards it. The questions touch upon two possibilities: either hire the right people for the job, or develop the necessary skills (in the shortest time possible) to help the organization sustain its growth.

Hence, the immediate question could be to ask, “Why not extend the understanding of the bigger picture by leveraging research and knowledge transfer by partnering with academic institutions and, in the process, further opportunities?”

You may realize such an opportunity in partnering co-innovatively with an university and realize new scenarios. However, a partnership in co-innovation depends on choosing a form of engagement that is adapted to the needs and resources of both the university and the organization.

I believe this is possible in the following three ways:


Joint R&D projects with universities established and governed according to Framework programs and researches on bachelor, master and PhD level, when grounded in a deep knowledge of the particular organizational culture and industry, allow researchers to work on the most current problems of business.

However, for this to be effective, new methodologies for observing and reporting internal business phenomena must be created and integrated with appropriate theory and analysis. This is especially true for the current shift towards the cloud.


Universities are intrinsically committed to creating new bodies of knowledge, and so require new sources for analysis and knowledge creation. It is identified that organizations and universities always meet at the crossroads where real experience and committed analysis create opportunities for knowledge creation and transfer through mutually beneficial workshops and forums.

I think a special case can be made for finding opportunities for contract-based, in-business training and education delivered by the partnering university. This would allow access to the necessary skills to help the organization to grow and to transition to the cloud.


Universities, by their academic nature, train experts. These are capable of fluently communicating insights, can act as valuable consultants in matters they have remained abreast of through their academic careers, and are able to conduct bespoke researches to aid the organization in reaching its goals. Furthermore, universities are a great source for finding talented young minds, significantly simplifying the recruitment process.

If you are on a journey of transformation, innovation and co-creation, it might be interesting for you to find the right university or business school to partner with, to discover effective and responsible solutions to your current challenges and to progress sustainably.

Looking forward to your feedback on this blog post and to sharing knowledge with you!

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