Shooting next to the target? – Balancing stakeholder goals in university knowledge/technology transfer
Utilisation has emerged as a new concept and goal of university-industry interaction. Targeting the broad fulfilment of future challenges while broadening the pallet of activities, utilisation risks becoming a fuzzy concept with many different understandings. This paper describes and discusses various parties’ sensemaking related to the transformation of university-industry interaction into utilisation as the core objective of university-industry activities. The empirical part of the paper is based on interviews and participatory research related to a doctoral course on utilisation. The paper shows how parties that from start would have different priorities in their work tasks increasingly incorporate these as utilisation without changing what they do.
This means that when university-industry interaction moves from commercialisation to utilisation as a main goal, parties decreasingly work for the same targets and rather create rooms
for their priorities. This disconnects sensemaking from the sensegiving and forms what we refer to as sensedrifting related to the new concept of university-industry interaction. The paper importantly contributes to past research through highlighting sensemaking and sensegiving during times of change in multi-party settings. Practically, the paper indicates how utilisation as a new goal of university-industry interaction does not foremost become a path forward, but one which increasingly contains many different meanings.