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Avoid Industry-Project Failure

FC
Fabio Carnevali
Industry collaboration is fundamental to a thriving economy. With rapid technological advancements, shorter product lifecycles and ever-growing global competition, collaborative university research projects are becoming more critical to a company’s bottom line. But conducting any form of research is inherently risky. By very definition, you are venturing into the unknown in the hope of discovering a new path forward. However, there are ways to increase your industry-project’s chances of success! According to researchers Barballo & Corredera, there are several factors within our control that lead to a statistically higher success rate.

1. Less is more

Projects that have fewer partners are more likely to succeed despite the potential for larger funding opportunities. Research shows that industry-projects with just one industry partner had a 33% greater chance of success when compared with projects that have 3 or more parties.

2. Communication
The impact COVID-19 has had on how we communicate is undeniable. With the wide adoption of communication tools such as
Microsoft Teams
and
Zoom
, we are becoming more available for more hours of the day. But despite being more accessible, project simplicity and clarity remain a priority. Researchers Barballo & Corredera discovered that two key reasons for project failure were in fact due to the lack of clarity on the project scope and projects not stating each partner’s mission. Both of which are easily solved by spending a little more time at the start of the project to ensure all project participants are clearly aligned before kick-off.

3. Industry-Partner Involvement
It may be unsurprising that an industry-partner’s involvement in a project is a major factor in determining project success. Barballo & Corredera’s discovered that the more closely a partner is involved in the project the better chance it has of being successful. Clearly defined milestones and visibility of progress also contributed to higher success rates. The less obvious contributing factor was how well the industry-partner understood the project. It was discovered that successful technology transfer was more likely to occur when the industry-partner had a clearer understanding of project progress which provided critical information in allowing the new technology to be incorporated into the existing business processes or product offerings.

These simple yet effective considerations are not rocket science and yet, too many of our industry-projects fail. So the next time you are engaging with an industry-partner, project planning or creating a budget, consider these factors to increase your chances of success!
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