Using Strategic Doing to Accelerate Ecosystem Development

Universities can develop two distinct, overlapping ecosystems: one targets at start-ups; the second focuses on innovative companies. To date, most universities concentrate on the first, less so on the second. But a stronger innovation ecosystem creates near term opportunities to expand the university research base. We are currently working on several projects to strengthen innovation ecosystems at Purdue and other universities.

Strategic Doing can help universities develop these ecosystems more productively. With Strategic Doing, a university can increase both the volume and velocity of its collaborations both inside and outside the university. Regions across the globe are facing a growing list of wicked problems. Universities have valuable assets with which to address these challenges.

However, many universities are not productively deploying their knowledge assets to address these complex challenges. Two problems are apparent. First, the opacity of university boundaries to outside constituents often makes the university hard to navigate. Second, internal to the university, resources flow vertically through colleges and departments. There are few faculty incentives to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries. As a result, internal resources are often fragmented. 

The Purdue Agile Strategy Lab has partnered with Fraunhofer IAO to deploy tools and frameworks to strengthen the university innovation ecosystem. The New Jersey Innovation Institute has adopted this approach to design new innovation labs as hubs for these ecosystems. NJII uses Strategic Doing as an open source operating system to accelerate collaborations across these ecosystems. The University of North Alabama is using Strategic Doing to accelerate the development of its entrepreneurial ecosystem, Shoals Shift. And James Madison University is using Strategic Doing to accelerate the development of ecosystems in rural communities. 

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Ed Morrison