Knowledge Transfer
Commercial Knowledge Transfer The main forms of Commercial Knowledge Transfer are engineering; direct investment followed by construction, reconstruction, modernisation of enterprises or production process; scientific-industrial cooperation; sale of patents and licences for any patented industrial property except of trademarks; sale of licences for any kind of know-how, manufacturing secrets, technological experience that is not protected by patent, etc. Commercial KT usually includes contracts to be signed.
KT can be active or passive. Active transfer includes a neutral intermediary organisation that helps/ is responsible for finding a better solution/ a better buyer. In passive transfer the developers of knowledge/ technology look for a partner on their own, assuming all the risks related to innovation and its commercialisation. Despite of ever growing number of definitions, models and theories related to Knowledge Transfer, most would agree that KT is not an act but a complex, dynamic and multidirectional process. It has several pre-conditions:
  • The organisation transferring knowledge must hold relevant state-of-the-art competence, be capable to produce it or to provide applied research services for the implementation and adaptation of knowledge developed elsewhere.
  • There has to be a motivation to transfer knowledge. It could be benefits such as financial rewards, better reputation, or access to competence held by the other party of the transfer process.
  • There has to be a knowledge transfer mechanism that is transparent to the potential users and capable of combining and integrating competences.
Explicit knowledge it’s codified knowledge, expressed through language, e.g. documents, manuals, publications, patents. This type of knowledge is relatively easy to transfer, share and communicate.
Knowledge artefacts are sometimes discussed as a separate form of knowledge. The artefacts refer to machinery, software, new materials, and new technologies.
Knowledge Brokers The role of Knowledge Brokers (also known as Knowledge Champions, Liaison Officers, Linkers, Synthesizers, etc.) is considered as very significant in the Knowledge Transfer field. Knowledge Brokers may be individuals or organisations who take on the role of facilitating knowledge exchange between and among different stakeholders. They aim to develop relationships and networks with, among, and between producers and users of knowledge by providing linkages, knowledge sources, and in some cases knowledge itself, (e.g. technical know-how, market insights, research evidence) to organizations in their network.
Knowledge holders/ suppliers/ producers are individuals and organisations that create knowledge. Historically research institutions were perceived as a source of new ideas, knowledge and technologies. However, other research, development and consulting centres established as independent companies or departments of large enterprises can also be actively involved in knowledge transfer. Often they are considered to have closer links with business. More and more SMEs and large companies employ open innovation approach, combining internal and external resources, aiming to maximise the value from their intellectual property
Knowledge transfer involves the processes for capturing, collecting and sharing explicit and tacit knowledge, including skills and competence. It includes both commercial and non-commercial activities such as research collaborations, consultancy, licensing, spin-off creation, researcher mobility, publication, etc. While the emphasis is on scientific and technological knowledge other forms such as technology-enabled business processes are also concerned. (European Commission, 2007)
Knowledge Transfer describes how knowledge and ideas move between the knowledge source to the potential users of that knowledge. ( Research Councils UK)
Knowledge Transfer refers to systems and processes by which knowledge, including technology, know-how, expertise, and skills are transferred from one party to another, leading to innovative, profitable or economic and social improvements. (Institute of Knowledge Transfer)
Knowledge users are any individuals or organisations that are on the “receiving” end of the knowledge chain. Adoption of new knowledge depends on absorptive capacity, which can be defined as an ability to recognize the value of new information, assimilate and apply it.
Non-commercial Knowledge Transfer consists of information that is not commercial – basic research or unpatented inventions. Non-commercial KT happens freely, without any legal documents or contracts. KT may also be unintended (spillovers).