How knowledge diffusion in University-Industry Collaboration can foster ICT innovations in Sri Lanka

Sammanfattning: Collaboration between universities and the industry has long been regarded as critical for innovation through knowledge diffusion. Despite its long history, several barriers to such collaboration persist in Sri Lanka, a developing Asian country, and the ways to overcome them are unclear. Understanding how knowledge is generated and how its dissemination path could be defined is vital for the country’s development. This study was conducted to answer the research question: How can knowledge diffusion in university-industry collaboration foster ICT innovations in Sri Lanka?The thesis consists of four interrelated studies. The first study was an exploratory case study to understand the current situation in Sri Lanka concerning university-industry collaboration (UIC) and ICT innovations. The second study focused on exploring the best UIC practices in other countries using a systematic literature review. The third study examined the success criteria for ICT innovation in Sweden using an exploratory case study. After identifying potential attributes for UIC and ICT innovations, a survey-based study was used to investigate the behavioural intentions of the end-users, who were university students, regarding the use of an ICT system for knowledge diffusion in Sri Lanka. The first study found that university-industry collaborations in Sri Lanka are conducted primarily based on personal relationships, are short-term, and are mostly ad hoc. Both parties are interested in formalising the UIC structure and believe that systematic collaboration will reduce current impediments to collaboration. An ICT system can mitigate geographical distance issues and the problem of efficient collaboration and communication. The second study proposes management directives, financial support, distance issue, policy, and heterogeneity in collaboration as characteristics for increasing UIC for ICT innovations in Sri Lanka. According to the third study, education and mindset, risk-taking environment, embracing failures, digitalisation, and collaboration are important conditions of ICT innovations in which Sri Lanka could benefit from Sweden. The fourth study was about the usefulness of the ICT system and behavioural intentions to use it. Its perceived usefulness and how easy it is to use increases intentions to use the ICT system. Making the system easier to use would improve its usefulness and thereby the intentions to use it. The system's trialability would also improve its ease of us. Conclusion: Fostering ICT innovations in the country, providing knowledge input for the innovation process, making use of R&D results, and creating new knowledge is an important part of support for university students. Universities in Sri Lanka need to develop an innovative mindset among undergraduates. Government policies will be necessary to support innovation activities in universities. An ICT system can be used as a channel for knowledge diffusion. Since this intermediary is expected to be used mainly among undergraduates in universities, ease of using the system is a crucial determinant for system use. It is recommended that future studies use more system attributes, including hedonic features, to investigate user acceptance, as the main users of the system would be young undergraduates.