Louis G Tornatzky and Elaine C Rideout (Authors)

Available at:, 2014, 258 pages

Reviewers: Branca Terra, Jana Almeida, Leonardo Lehnemann, Eduardo Campos
Rio de Janeiro State University

This is a review of the book Innovation U 2. 0 Reinventing University Roles in a Knowledge Economy, published in 2014, looking at the topic of innovation from the perspective of the authors and organizers: Louis G Tornatzky PhD and Elaine C Rideout PhD . The former is a professor , manager , researcher and author of several books and articles on technological innovation, technology, politics and entrepreneurship, while working in US universities and research groups. The latter has turned out several works in the fields of entrepreneurship and company formation geared to economic growth. Contributions to the book have been made by a number of innovation specialists working in research groups alongside the authors.

The work is a continuation of the book Innovation U: New University Roles in a Knowledge Economy, written by Louis G Tornatzky, co-author of the work under review here, Paul G Waugaman and Dennis O Gray . This 2002 volume presented twelve case studies of research at American universities conducting activities to promote technological innovation and technology-driven economic development. Scott Doron, who wrote the preface of the new book, said, “No one realized, ten years ago, just what a breakthrough the book Innovation U was. Back then, the words ‘economic development’ and ‘universities’ would rarely appear together. Nowadays, many economic agents include universities in their asset portfolios and a large number of university representatives interact purposefully with their local economies. Innovation U cannot claim the sole credit for this change, but it is fair to say that it helped to open the eyes of certain critical groups and build momentum for the development of public policies in this area.”

The objectives of Innovation U 2.0 are to (i) present a summary of the new areas of mastery and innovation activities (especially in entrepreneurship) at the universities; (ii) note the leadership and cultural roles for promoting innovation at the universities; and (iii) take a look at some different universities that, for whatever reason, were not included among the 2002 sample of cases.

The book under review, Innovation U 2.0, goes on to present the twelve American universities that stand out in the development of innovation, showing the economic impact of the start-ups, chosen from a list of 100 universities conducting research that received the most support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) during the 2010 fiscal year, as well as a sub-sample of the smaller and less research-intensive institutions that have nevertheless gained a reputation as innovative. They are:

 Arizona State University (ASU);
 Brigham Young University (BYU);
 California Institute of Technology (Caltech);
 Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); Clemson University (Clemson);
 Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech);
 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT);
 North Carolina State University (NC State);
 Purdue University (Purdue);
 Stanford University (Stanford);
 University of Florida (UF); and
 University of Utah.

The analyses of the twelve university cases involved five dimensions (referred to by the authors as key problems or opportunities) related to the organizational models and attitudes that the universities displayed, in terms of technological innovation, as follows:

(1) University culture ─ aims and aspirations: lists the elements of the university culture ─ mission, vision, goals and strategies related to innovation activities.
(2) Leadership: introduces the internal and external academic leaders who are playing a part in the growth of technological innovation within the universities, with emphasis on the experience, functions and roles of these agents and their teams.
(3) Expanding frontiers ─ entrepreneurship: describes the activities to promote entrepreneurship within the academic sphere.
(4) Expanding frontiers ─ industry and community partnerships: presents the policies, practices and support for the transformation of research into tangible products, extending the academic boundaries into the private sector.
(5) Expanding frontiers ─ technology transfers: presents the structures that deal with technology transfer within the universities, describing some of their policies and practices.

Certain points become evident in the case studies of those twelve universities. With regard to the dimension (1), cited above, at ASU, one of its presidents, Dr Michael Crow, wrote a paper about a new university model, called the New American University . The paper advocates the strengthening of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the establishing of political and trans disciplinary departments that motivate students and professors to participate in the process of innovation. For example, Arizona T echnology Enterprises is ASU’ s technology transfer unit and V enture Catalyst is a start-up accelerator, connecting the university to local and nationwide companies.

Meanwhile, B YU provides teaching that enables graduates to participate in science, innovation, and business, including the practical processes and technical environment. Another example is Caltech, whose mission is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research that is integrated with education. They emphasize research into challenging problems in science and technology, within an interdisciplinary university atmosphere, educating students to become creative members of society and considering as priority areas: energy; land and the environment; medical science; information science; advanced materials, nanoscience and the universe.

With regard to dimension (2), those cited as leadership examples included presidents, vice-presidents, rectors, directors, CEOs, founders, professors, administrators and governors who played a significant role, showing the political will to give due importance to the innovation process and entrepreneurial training within the academic sphere. At Caltech, CMU, Georgia Tech, MIT, Purdue, Stanford and the University of Utah, successive presidents not only allowed but encouraged innovation within the university. Some examples of leadership by university professors were also cited at CMU, UF, NC State, MIT and Stanford. Some of these leaders had already worked at other universities with a strong reputation for research, innovation and entrepreneurship or in technology transfer offices, while others had established startups.

Some of the positions occupied by these leaders are highlighted here, with a look at some of the work they carried out and the results:

1. One of the ASU presidents assisted in the setting up of several research centers and institutes, including the Columbia Earth Institute, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation and the Center for Science Policy and Outcomes in Washington. Furthermore, one of the rectors established the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, the Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism and the New Media Innovation Lab.

2. At BYU, a rector with a background in mechanical engineering and a specialization in design supervised 250 undergraduate and graduate design projects focused on innovation.

3. At Caltech, one of the presidents co- authored an important paper about the impact of scientific research on society.
4. One of the CMU presidents, in the early part of the twentieth century, headed the founding and growth of the Carnegie Technical Schools (between 1903 and 1912) and the Carnegie Institute of Technology (until 1922). Other presidents founded research laboratories investigating metals, coal, chemistry and physics, the Computation Center and the Robotics Institute, as well as setting up a technology transfer program. They also ensured that there was university interaction with the Pittsburgh Technology Center and the Regional Economic Revitalization Initiative.
5. At Clemson, presidents, vice- presidents and rectors took care of the budget and the process of reorganizing the university and gave emphasis to certain fields that would allow academic disciplines to be grouped in order to fit into the economic clusters being set up in the state of South Carolina.
6. At the UF , the president, vice- president and directors expanded the research centers connected with industry, creating posts that focused on technology and promoting research partnerships with other institutions and various technology initiatives of the state of Florida, as well as reorganizing the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL), including new services and activities that gave the university a position of national leadership in carrying out technology transfer.

7. At Georgia Tech, the presidents increased research funding, the number of research centers and institutes, the quality of undergraduate teaching and student participation in research and the technology transfer activities, as well as promoting efforts alongside the Georgia Research Alliance.

8. At the MIT , the presidents, vice- presidents and professors worked on reorganizing the undergraduate and graduate curricula, focusing on the innovation process and training in entrepreneurship, founded the David H Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and provided support for Kendall Square, a location for setting up companies working in the fields of life sciences and biotechnology, helping to make MIT a leader in research and development focused on national defense, the developing of new products, registering patents and setting up companies.

9. At NC State, the governors of North Carolina State, along with a president and a bank executive, established the Research Triangle Development Council and the Research Triangle Committee, as well as supporting the creation of Research Triangle Park, by means of a fund-raising campaign.

10. At Purdue, ten presidents were mentioned, one of whom established the School of Aeronautics and the Purdue Research Foundation, another increased the research budget tenfold and then another established new schools of Industrial Engineering, Materials Engineering, Technology and Veterinary Medicine, as well as the Purdue Research Park.

11. At Stanford, the presidents helped to set up the Stanford Research Park and the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing, while also promoting the establishment of various research centers and programs that achieved a nationwide reputation.

12. At the University of Utah, one of the presidents organized a community education campaign stressing the benefits of a university that is strong in research, which led to a large number of spin-offs derived from the university research and growth of the sponsored research portfolio, which in turn helped to push the institution up the national university rankings.

A perfect example of dimension (3) is ASU’s development of courses and competitions aimed at social entrepre- neurship, such as an in-depth study on Social Entrepreneurship and the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative. Examples at MI T are the D-Lab undergraduate
Lab, focusing on entrepreneurship.
problems, ASU has the Sun Devil Entrepreneurship Network and the Spirit of Enterprise Center, while at CMU there is the CREATE Lab, Georgia Tech has the AMAC (Accessibility Solutions), the Health IT Outreach Partnership and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center-Atlanta, and at MIT there is the MIT VentureShips Club.
Looking further into dimension (3), one can cite the interdisciplinary activities that the universities carry out, some of them product development programs and consulting activities, which bring the university closer to the local community. For example, there are Integrated Product/Service Development (IPD) course at CMU, the Integrated Technology Venture Program (ITV) at the UF, the Ti:GER (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) carried out by Georgia T ech, the Biomedical Enterprise Program (BEP) at MIT and the Juelsgaard Clinic at Stanford, where law students analyze things that may facilitate or hinder innovation and entrepreneurship.

MIT has the Founder’s Journey course, a product development and design course offered to engineering school’s under- graduate students. They are also offered the Gordon Engineering Leadership program, which promotes innovation and leadership and includes innovation within established companies. Then there is the Medical Device Design course, where undergraduate and graduate students apply mechanical and electrical engineering basics to design new devices for doctors that meet the clinical requirements.

At Caltech, the Entrepreneurial Development E102 course involves assessing the viability of Caltech technologies that have not yet been commercialized and the students build a business case, while the Management of Technology E/ME 103 student teams evaluate the technology of a company or perform consulting and auditing of the company’s innovation capacity.

At most of the universities studied there are clubs of entrepreneurial students and events such as business plan competitions and talks given by entrepreneurs.

Assistance is also provided for entrepreneurial students and professors, such as mentoring; courses for the creation and development of products and management of the business; and incubators, for inventors to perform their business activities and networking.

At Stanford, for example, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Graduate School of Business Entrepreneurship Club help the students and professors with their networking, with the latter organizing presentations, talks and other events.

Examples of dimension (4) are the various ASU research centers funded by business partners within a consortium format, most of which are based at the Fulton School. These include the Power Systems Engineering Research Center, the Water and Environmental T echnology ( WE T) Center , the Center for Embedded Systems (CES) and Net-Centrics System and Software (NetCentric). At B YU there are more than fifty research centers and institutes, in addition to partnerships, through the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC), with larger and more research intensive universities. At Caltech, there are also many research centers and partnerships with other centers, among which are the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion, the Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, T errestrial Hazard Observation and Reporting ( THOR) and the Materials and Process Simulation Center (MSC).

MI T also participates in various programs offered by centers run by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Among these is the Science and T echnology Center in Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems, working in collaboration with Georgia Tech and the University of Illinois. There is also a partnership with an NSF Science and T echnology Center focused on Science of Information, as well as the Science and T echnology Center for Microbial Oceanography, led by the University of Hawaii. And it is a partner of the Science and T echnology Center for Biophonics, led by the University of California, Davis and runs the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

The innovation and entrepreneurship centers of the universities studied generally focus on areas such as information technology, energy, health, the automotive industry, space exploration, climate change, materials and technology for the disabled. Several of these seek to provide for the needs of the local community and businesses in the regions where they operate. Purdue, for example, has a T echnical Assistance Program ( T AP), whose mission is “to advance economic prosperity, health and quality of life in Indiana”, while the College of T echnology is committed to meeting the needs of the people and resolving business and industry problems in the state of Indiana.

However, dimension (4) is not limited only to the centers and laboratories. At the Stanford Research Park one finds companies whose technological interests complement those of the university . They usually are technology-based companies that have links to the institution’s programs, which gave rise to the Industrial Affiliates Programs. There are more than fifty Industrial Affiliates Programs in operation, providing opportunities for businesses to engage with the academic teaching departments, centers, forums or institutes. They can support research, participate in meetings and events, and receive copies of reports.

Georgia Tech helped to set up the Georgia Research Alliance (GR A), in which the university is a partner. It makes strategic investments in people and facilities in order to develop centers of excellence in research at universities located in the state of Georgia. The GRA also fosters research partnerships among the participating institutions.

The MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) is also an aspect of dimension (4). Every company that joins the program is assigned an Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) as its primary contact at MI T , facilitating the company’s relations with faculty members and centers. ILOs can organize meetings that involve company personnel and members of the MI T research community . Events and conferences can also be organized for business associates.

An example of dimension (5) at Clemson is that technology transfers and related activities are organized through the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF), which handles the disclosure, patenting and licensing activities, as well as mediation by members of the CURF Board to facilitate the discovery of new products and getting them onto the market.

At Stanford, the office of technology licensing (OTL) deals with Technology technology transfers, handles the disclosure and licensing activities and organizes the distribution of royalties amongst the inventor , the inventor’s school and the inventor’s department, so as to encourage the transferring of technology.

The University of Utah, Technology and Venture Commercialization (TVC) office deals with technology transfers by providing procedural and strategic guidance that includes policies, procedures, forms, and individual counseling, assisting in the commercializing of intellectual property via licensing and helping to launch innovation-based start-ups, including the provision of online guides for the clients (Inventors Guide and Startup Guide). The TVC organizes events and services for students, professors and much of the Utah state community, offering guidance for inventors and assistance in bringing them closer to the industry, through workshops, seminars, lectures and market pitches, and giving them the opportunity to participate in a new approach aimed at speeding up the assessment, registration, and commercialization of inventions in an early stage of development.

Finally, in the Recommendations, the authors state that the case studies have shown: a) there are universities that are demonstrably more “innovative” than most of their peers (even when they have approximately the same level of spending on research); b) that there are policies, practices and behavioral patterns that may have a causal relationship with “innovation capacity”; c) the innovation related policies and practices presented are negligible in comparison with the whole innovation context in the USA; but d) nevertheless, the practices and policies that are presented are promising, as well as adaptable, and other universities can imitate them. They also offer suggestions about what universities should consider in order to become entrepreneurial, as follows: encouragement of external guidance for the private sector; hiring talent; developing an entrepreneurial culture; encouraging putting into practice what has been taught; identifying the opportunities presented by federal and state government initiatives focused on innovation; adopting a results-based approach; and establishing a strategic and tactical budget aimed at innovation and entrepreneurial training.

At the end of the book, the authors emphasize that, in order to get a university to attain the sort of performance level that is consistent with the innovation presented in the twelve examples studied; leadership needs to be treated as a critical factor.


Branca Terra
Jana Almeida
Leonardo Lehnemann
Eduardo Campos

Rio de Janeiro State University