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Discovery across Sectors—and Generations

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, July 8, 2019

Academic Partnering Gives Industry a Chance to Magnify Discovery—and Foster the Personal and Career Growth of Millennials

 

One of the benefits of academic collaboration is that industry has the opportunity to foster the personal and career growth of millennials. The academic collaboration article in Strategic Alliance Magazine highlights the Johns Hopkins University-MedImmune Scholars Program. We need more of these types of academic collaborations to support innovation, and also the young minds so eager to engage in finding the next great breakthrough for society. During an ASAP Global Alliance Summit Keynote Speaker Alex Dickinson, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Illumina, has pointed out, innovation has the power to lead to the end of disease. Are we ready for that kind of transformation?

 

I was reminded of the need to find ways that industry can engage millennials in innovation when my daughter and I swapped articles over the weekend. A technology buff with a gift for writing, she was interested in the advances and inventions noted at the beginning of the academic collaboration cover story. She also found the accompanying interview with Star Trek: The Next Generation writer and gaming aficionado Lee Sheldon intriguing, because he instructs a generation of millennials born and bred on futuristic worlds where technology can teach the joy of progress through teamwork and collaboration.

 

As I looked over my daughter’s essay, I marveled at how our work intertwined. She had selected the theme of “discovery” for this semester’s English class with the task of relating it to each book she reads. Her assignment was to relate discovery to Ayn Rand’s Anthem. My assignment for this issue of the magazine was to probe the value of discovery in relation to academic collaboration and industry.

 

“Discovery’s everywhere. It is fueled by the desire to learn and demands the yearning to grow. The uncovering of a new fascination is the manifestation of discovery. This love for learning is cherished and leads one to bigger and larger opportunities for growth; for without discovery one would not be introduced to areas where growth is needed,” she wrote. “Anthem brings to light the impact of discovery in societies, and shows that without it, one cannot advance or improve.”

 

The protagonist in Anthem is Equality 7-2521, an intelligent, non-conforming thinker who has been relegated to the career of street sweeping. Educating himself secretly by candlelight, he reinvents electricity during a moment of inspiration. Electricity was banned to keep the masses under control, but Equality 7-2521 realizes the revolutionary potential of his discovery if turned into an invention and manufactured because it would make life easier and also could foster other inventions, furthering societal growth. He takes the reinvention to the World Council of Scholars, the so-called greatest thinkers from around the world. But the government system has sapped them of their creativity, consensus-building, and collaborative abilities on even the simplest of innovations. Equality 7-2521 is then punished for his efforts to think out of the box and runs away.

 

“Discovery is the secret ingredient for the progression of a person or society. Without discovery, there would not be the realization that there could or needs to be improvement,” my daughter concluded. “The challenge to break free from other’s restrictions or our own is a daily struggle. When we transcend personal limitation and government obstruction, our capability to grow increases.”

 

While innovation needs some government limitations in place, such as safety and ethical guidelines, excessive restriction goes against the grain in human nature, as my daughter points out. Discovery, innovation, and manufacturing are an innate and necessary component of a healthy society. Clearly, academia is a seedbed for ideas. If nurtured properly with appropriate creative and financial resources, and combined with collaborative zeal, it can result in a cornucopia of benefits to industry and society. Many millennials are waiting in the wings for the opportunity to engage in discovery provided by a well-designed industry-academic program. It’s well worth considering as part of your overall alliance management strategy. 

Tags:  Collaboration  Forward Thinking  Millennials  Strategic Alliances  Technological Benefits 

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