Industry engagement pros share their keys to stewardship excellence
Excerpted from the December 2023 issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. UIDP members can view the entire issue here.
Having an industry partner agree to a collaboration — be it a one-off project or a strategic partnership — is really just an initial step in what will hopefully be a successful journey. Industry engagement experts agree that it’s the ongoing stewardship of the partnership — or lack thereof — that holds the key to a lasting relationship.
So, what are the key elements to effective stewardship? “There are a few key things that really help set you up for success; they are rooted in pretty basic things in general, but people often graze over them,” says Cody Noghera, executive director of corporate research partnerships at the Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California San Diego. “First and foremost, you need to build trust and have a strong connection with the set of individuals you work with — identify mutual goals, push towards the objectives of those goals, with both sides being satisfied in engagement along the way.”
His personal approach for building that trust, he continues, is ‘what you see is what you get,’ and “really focusing on my strength — which is authenticity. If people can align personally and your values are aligned, you have the basis to really build from.”
That trust, he adds, is essential for building common goals — especially when it comes to research partnerships. “Sometimes there are agreements that help foster that openness, but at the end of the day if a partner can’t tell you how they’re being measured, it makes it more difficult to help them be successful,” he says. “Think of partnership as a team-working relationship; there is a higher potential of success versus an industry partner looking at you as just another vendor or transaction.”