Tri-partnerships in Knowledge Transfer: changing entrepreneurial mindsets
The challenge to the UK’s continual drive towards a low-carbon economy is the relatively low take-up by SMEs across the sectors. Over the last twenty years the government has invested considerable resources and time into supporting initiatives and demonstration projects associated with driving SMEs to develop wider and more diverse sustainable market opportunities in this areas. The Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), universities, have a significant role to play in this, being both the potential source of know-how and technology transfer, and being a relatively unbiased/trusted source of business advice to the usiness community. Using knowledge transfer is not an effective or efficient way of integrating knowledge, instead knowledge exchange includes the additional activities of understanding and integration both of which involve a cost to industry. Yet, at the back of this is the need to open the business entrepreneurs’ mindsets to change, to change as a consequence of reflection-in-action. There is existing research that suggests that entrepreneurs mindsets, and the way they think about opportunities and threats in their environment is largely driven by their ability to adapt, and this is influenced in some small way by their cognition processes. This paper reports on the findings of a longitudinal study into six enterprises involved in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, exploring the motivations, attitudes and practices of the entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and academic supervisors engaged in these short- to medium-term projects. The principal outcome was a framework by which entrepreneurs and outside agencies could understand the sensemaking behind business model changes, and so achieve increased value from these knowledge exchange partnerships.