Seeking to increase exposure to external technology, and infuse a culture of innovation into their R&D staff, British Telecom, Becton Dickinson, in Eastman chemical are examples of companies which have co-located various types of external idea partners at R&D campus parks. The physical proximity of the research partners creates occasions for impromptu idea sharing that supplement the parties more formalized research interactions.
These efforts have been undertaken despite increasingly globalization of the R&D function and the emergence of IT-based virtual collaboration. Many companies continue to consider physical co-location a necessary component of any external innovation strategy. Seeking to build stronger relationships with external research partners and re-invigorate entrepreneurism in its own R&D group such companies have found co-located collaboration opportunities important.
The main difference between this model and the University research model is utilizing a research/business development park location next to a University campus allows interactions with five versus just one type of external idea partners. These include academic researchers, MBA students, other venture partners co-located at the site, startups, and value chain complementors. The physical proximity allows project teams to be formed that have a much broader set of technical and business backgrounds.