The Innovation Influence of Cluster Cooperation between Universities and Companies M. Papalova Abstract: Small and medium-sized enterprises create alliances, associations, networks or clusters, for to obtain contracts, better use of production capacity, spreading the cost of marketing, etc. The highest stage of networking is chaining, such as by cluster for joint development and research. The cost of the innovation process significantly burden small firms than large firms. The clusters generally operate small and medium-sized companies, but also large companies.
Common activities bring positive and negative relationships and effects. In article will be examined cooperation of companies associated in clusters and universities, the influence of co-operation on companies innovation. Universities play an important role in the development of innovation. Close cooperation between university and group of companies specialized in the one sector offers the possibility of improving knowledge and understanding of business processes and needs.
This kind of cooperation causes firms benefit from the intellectual capital of students, which undoubtedly has an impact on the innovation potential of companies and on the other hand university graduates are better prepared for industry and study plans for students are better suited. The results of questionnaire show, given the large number of applied research co-projects of companies and universities (more than 1/3 companies), that this cooperation affects the ability of firms to innovate and it makes sense to vigorously promote the cooperation of universities and companies.
Key words: Cluster, Innovation, University, Co-operation Introduction The basement of every economy are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs? ). They occupy an important role as the largest employer, they can create jobs at low capital cost, are a source of innovation. SMEs? can to decentralize business activity, help to the region’s growth and last but not least help to reduce the negative effects of structural changes (Malach, 2004). The size of SMEs? rings not only positive benefits, such as flexibility, adaptability, ability to fill the market niche, but it is also burdened on negative characteristics – SMEs? have little economic power, operates with a high administrative costs and their access to capital is difficult. Other negative factors driving small and medium enterprises is one particularly weak position when competing for public contracts, limiting sales to the domestic market, ignorance on the part of retail chains, restricted access to vocational education, etc.
Small and medium enterprises to overcome some negatives form alliances, associations, networks or clusters. They can together easily to get a contract, to improve of use of production capacity, to share marketing costs, etc. The highest degree of connection is a cluster based on the joint development and research, because the cost of the innovation process to a considerable burden on small businesses more than big companies. Clusters as regional cooperation of enterprises, universities and research institutes meet the demands of a new business models.
They prefer cooperation, although not escape from competition. These groups are concentrated locally, inter alia, an effective instrument for regional development and for increasing of competitiveness, both at macro and at micro level. It helps them as well as cooperation with research institutes and universities (Ludvik, Mikolas, Papalova, 2005). Materials and methods Cluster Cluster is the network of interconnected firms, knowledge producing institutions, supporting institutions, or connected customers in the value chain.
It is an association of cooperating companies and this association is concentrated in a particular location and industry (Cluster – definition, 2006). The foundation for defining the concept of cluster was posed by M. Porter in his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations. There is a cluster defined: “Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions (e. g. universities, standard agencies, trade associations) in a particular field that compete but also cooperate. (1990, p. 126). According to Porter (1998) clusters lead to increased economic growth for three reasons: 1. Improve productivity by enabling access to specialized inputs and employees, increase the possibility of access to information to institutions and public goods. 2. Increase innovation capacities of companies accelerating the diffusion of technological knowledge and innovation. In addition, competitive pressures within each cluster increases the corporate incentives to innovate. 3.
Stimulate the rapid formation of new firms, because many workers have become entrepreneurs in spin-off companies generated by a split from the original company, due to lower barriers to entry. Causes of clusters formation Cause of the cluster formation is a common area of interest. The most often reason according Pavelkova (2007) are: networking, human resources, research and innovation, cooperation and trade promotion, investment financing and attracting investors, lobbying. The cooperation between companies within the cluster with educational institutions is usually.
Significant cooperation may be a cluster of high schools and/or universities, particularly in defining the profile of the graduate schools, according to the needs of specific companies. Great attention is paid to a cluster of research and innovation. The support of innovation process is focused on new products and improve their performance and improve processes. The cooperation between companies in the cluster can take the form of sharing information and ideas, joint research projects.
Companies can build research infrastructure and collaborate with research institutions that have a material and technical equipment and the necessary human capital. Clusters are also the promoters and operators of incubators and science parks. The clusters cooperation is also important for universities and research institutes – are able to better commercialize research outputs. The influence of clusters on competitiveness International practice is proven that the clusters in the region create a system that uses the effects of synergy and consensus and motivated cooperation.
Clusters to stimulate economic growth through improving competitiveness and performance of businesses, spurring innovation, increasing exports and employment influence in the region. The main effect of the operation of clusters is the effect on the growth of competitiveness of firms, regions and countries (Pavey, 2009). National Cluster Strategy (Neuzilova, 2006) indicates that the clusters are one of the national, but also regional development instruments, given that: • they create conditions to stimulate innovation, including effective use of research and development.
This contributes to the growth and return on investment in the public sector such as tertiary education institutions and research institutes, • they improve the performance of individual businesses and create conditions for new businesses to increase innovation and accelerate the process of restructuring and diversification of industry, • they attract greater numbers and higher quality inward investment, which may engage on research and development, • strong clusters generate an environment in which they are present in specialized skills, knowledge, research and development, know-how and qualified contractors, it may be attractive for investors • represent a new source of regional or local benefits, • cluster strategy can increase the impact of government support for business by providing various policy initiatives integrating framework. Cooperation of companies and universities Universities play an important role in the development of innovation.
Close cooperation of the university and group of companies specialized in the sector offers the possibility of improving knowledge and understanding of business processes and needs. This causes that university graduates are better prepared for industry and better suited to study plans for students and on the other hand, firms can benefit from the intellectual capital of students, which undoubtedly has an impact on the innovative potential of firms (Mikolas, Papalova, 2005). Audretsch, Feldman (1996) in Fortune magazine suggested that a close distance to potential sources of generating new knowledge, such research work at universities or research institutes or the location of the laboratory, may be an explanation for the considerable knowledge workers tend to cluster in certain regions.
Participation in the cluster provides to high schools and universities (Pruvodce klastrem, 2010): • knowledge of the needs of industry, • education suited for their students, • applied research (collaboration on real projects) •earnings from joint research and development, • technology transfer into practice, • access to other funding sources (private funds, grant funds, etc. ) Cooperation with research institutions is one of the activities of firms in clusters in the field of research and development, the benefits, especially access to the latest knowledge, research and scientific co-work with the university or research institute or the application of research results in practice, as shown in Tab. 1 Types of activities in research and innovation and its benefits. Tab. o 1 Types of activities in research and innovation and its benefits | | | |Activities in research and innovation|Benefits | | |Sharing the cost of research and development | |Common Research and Development | | | |Central management of research and development | | |Finding new trends, industries and markets | | |Access to the latest knowledge | |Cooperation with research | | |institutions | | | |Co-financing of scientific-research work with university or research institute | | |Application of research results | |Product or process innovation |Cluster is a carrier for the development of new technologies and design implementation| | |of complex products and equipment | | |Faster and less risky for the market introduction of innovations | | |Expanding cluster | |Support “spin-offs ” | | | |Promoting innovation in the industry and region | |Incubator Services |The development of the business environment in the region | PAVELKOVA A KOL. , 2009: Klastry a jejich vliv na vykonnost firem. Praha GRADA Publishing, 2009. 272 s. ISBN 978-80-247-2689-2. Questionnaire survey
The questionnaire survey conducted from 24th of June 2010 to 6th 2010 to 14th of July 2010, within 3 weeks. Survey respondents were members of clusters in the Moravian- Silesian Region. Due to the nature of research, which is under investigation affect of innovation resulting from the collaboration of companies for the longer term, have been addressed only the clusters that during the survey, there were more than 2 years (period of establishment of at least 2007): 1. Narodni strojirensky klastr2003 2. Klastr Envicrack2005 3. Moravskoslezsky drevarsky klastr2005 4. Moravskoslezsky automobilovy klastr2006 5. Klastr Hydrogen2006 6. IT Cluster2006
In these clusters start date of the survey were 165 business members, this number does not include universities, schools, research institutes and other institutions and regional associations. The 14th of July 2010 was returned 35 completed questionnaires, one was excluded due to incomplete from further processing. Even though a set number of firms reached 40, and is therefore a small file with a lower statistical significance, it should be noted that the question was answered 20. 6% of respondents, which in terms of statistics is relevant sample. The survey questions were raised which concerned the relationship of universities and firms in clusters: 1st Cooperate within a cluster of universities? nd You have collaborated with universities before joining the cluster? 3rd Does your co-operation with universities affect innovation in the company? 4th Select from the options below collaboration between your company and those universities that have an impact on innovation in your company to rate: • Students will handle your company’s bachelor’s and master’s thesis • Students in your business process application-doctoral work • Students engaged in your business practices • Students are employed in the company • Are the results of applied developmental and research programs • Ongoing joint development • They operate a common laboratory test equipment • Exist joint workshops, conferences
Evaluation questionnaire Questions No. 1 and No. 2 responded to all 34 respondents. The first of these questions asks whether companies are now working together with universities, the other maps, whether in universities and companies worked together before in a cluster. The responses (Table no. 2 Cooperation with universities before and after the cluster), whereas 25 respondents (73. 5%) cooperated with universities before. Companies operating in the cluster cooperate with universities in 28 cases (82. 4%). Mere cooperation with universities, companies may influence innovation in the company. Table 2 Co-operation with universities before and after the cluster Indicators of |Absolute frequency | | |the frequency | | | |/Options | | | | |Sum |Sum |Relative | | | | |frequency in % | |Otazka c. |2 |1 |2 |1 | |Sum |34 |34 |100 |100 | |Yes |25 |28 |73,5 |82,4 | |No |9 |6 |26,5 |17,6 | | | | | | | Next question no. 3 further examines how companies evaluate the impact of this cooperation. This question is answered 29 out of 34 total respondents (Table no. The intensity of the impact of business cooperation with universities for innovation in the company). For the six companies (20. 7%), a fifth collaboration with universities has a decisive influence on innovation in the company, “rather yes” to assess a further 15 firms (44. 1%), a positive answer to this question then gave 21 companies, which accounts for 61. 6% of the total, and this result can be assessed as very good. Only a very small effect – “rather not” – was identified seven companies (20. 7%) and was determined not only checked by one firm. Five respondents gave no answer, we can assume that their answers will fall into negative reviews, probably the area of the Sun
Table 3 The intensity of the impact of business cooperation with universities for innovation in the company |Indicators of the frequency /Options |Absolute frequency |Relative | | | |frequency in % | |Total |34 |100 | |Absolutely yes |6 |17,6 | |Yes |15 |44,1 | |No |7 |20,7 | |Absolutely no |1 |2,9 | |Not answered |5 |14,7 | |Modus |2 |x | |Median2 |2 |x | Question No. 4 as follows to questions 1 to 3 Representatives of the companies had to choose between these options for cooperation between companies and universities, those that affect innovation in the company and assess the points 1 to 5 Five marked the most impact, the smallest one, could be checked more responses (Table No. 4 Effect of co-operation of firms with universities for innovation in the company). Table No 4 Effect of co-operation of firms with universities for innovation in the company in order of frequency Evaluation/
Options of cooperation | |1 |2 |3 |4 |5 |Total | |Students will handle your company’s bachelor’s and master’s thesis ces | |13 |1 |3 |0 |1 |18 | |Students in your business process application-doctoral work | |2 |4 |4 |2 |0 |12 | |Students engaged in your business practices | |4 |4 |2 |0 |0 |10 | |Students are employed in the company | |0 |1 |5 |3 |1 |10 | |Are the results of applied developmental and research programs | |1 |2 |1 |3 |2 |9 | |Ongoing joint development | |2 |1 |3 |0 |1 |7 | |They operate a common laboratory test equipment | |3 |3 |1 |0 |0 |7 | |Exist joint workshops, conferen | |1 |0 |0 |0 |0 |1 | | The results show that, given the large number of applied research projects of companies and universities (more than 1 / 3 companies) may assume that this cooperation affects the ability of firms to innovate, thus affecting the potential for innovation. For this reason, it makes sense to vigorously promote the cooperation of universities. On the other hand, it is necessary to continuously evaluate the results of this cooperation, to establish appropriate criteria for measuring innovation performance resulting from this collaboration.
The criteria should not only focus on the evaluation of return on invested funds, as it is not easy to determine the degree of influence the final results of firms in innovation with universities. Summary As already mentioned in the introduction, the basic disadvantage (but also an advantage), small, or medium organizations is their size. Size disadvantage is reflected for instance in dealing with large companies, small and medium-sized firms have far less bargaining power than large companies. Also, if funding of development activities is the need more capital than what small businesses have. To overcome this deficiency requires the cooperation of enterprises. Establishing a relationship creates a network of businesses of various sizes and forms.
It may be a customer-supplier connections are also possible connections to get a common procurement network to finance a joint advertising campaign, promoting a common brand. The highest stage of networking is the chain of companies for joint research and development. The cooperation with universities is benefited in several ways. There is a cost-sharing between firms themselves and also between companies and universities, as is the sharing and knowledge transfer in the direction from practice to theory and from theory to practice. Participating students share knowledge, also have the opportunity to absorb knowledge, and possibly enrich scientific practice of new approaches.