Managing Innovation: The Networked Form of University in the XXI Century
In the last decades, universities have deeply changed their role and mission in order to become entrepreneurial institutions able to compete in a global setting. Contemporary processes of globalization, digitization, and networking, have induced new forms of organization, production, and distribution of knowledge. The presence of research-oriented universities can assist geographically proximate firms directly through the provision of educated workers and indirectly by way of myriad externalities. Starting from different approaches, namely the Triple Helix Model and its extensions and the systems theory, the authors shed light on the new networked form of universities. Nowadays, competitiveness relies on a vast and complex entity constituted by many players. The university can develop through an externally-driven growth in which networks of (local and international) relationships enable to gain advantages and reputation.
This becomes particularly evident in the area of media and communications: the news industry and its ecosystem are being disrupted due to dramatic social and technological changes. Universities active in media and journalism education can play a central role not only when it comes to knowledge transfer, bringing together experts from academia and the industry. At the same time, universities try also to create a sustainable future for journalism by offering funding schemes and by incubating new media initiatives for instance in areas such as entrepreneurial journalism. Thus, pursuing the third mission, universities take more and more the role of an industry, transferring both knowledge and technology to infuse existing (media) firms with new life and helping to generate new start-ups.
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