The Partner Canvas as a Tool for Building Innovation Centres

SIRIUS was evaluated by a team of external evaluators in March 2019. We prepared for this innovation by meeting with our industrial partners to review progress and decide on the aims of future work. These meetings use the University Collaboration Canvas described by Frølund, Murray and Riedel (2018). You can also read more in Frølund and Riedel’s book: “Strategic Industry-University Partnerships”.

Two workers were trained in the use of the canvas in March 2018. The process was explained to the partners at the SIRIUS’s general assembly and it was agreed that we would conduct these workshops. The workshops were then held in the second half of 2018. SIRIUS management visited each partner’s site to hold the meeting. However, in some cases, videoconferencing had to be used due to the geographical factors.

The use of the canvas was considered to be successful. Feedback from all participants was positive and the information gathered provided factual material for preparing the documents needed for the mid-term review. In all cases, we identified concrete actions that will improve the value of collaboration between the researchers and each industrial partner. The canvas identified gaps and potential problems for collaboration. In these cases we were able to agree on necessary corrective actions. The canvas is now shared between centre management and the partner and is a de-facto agreement on how the partnership will continue over the next 5 years.

The canvas is an effective and powerful tool for assessing and planning interactions between researchers and industrial companies. It is simple to use, easy to understand and brings rigour and structure to the discussions around current and new collaborations. We are actively promoting the use of this tool in other parts of the University of Oslo.

We described SIRIUS’ use of the partner canvas in a paper and presentation at the 2019 UIIN University-Industry Interaction Conference in Helsinki. You can download a copy of our paper and our slides.

The partner canvas was also introduced at a Tekna Seminar on Bridging the Gap between Academia and Industry held in Oslo on 29th October 2019,