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A qualitative study into the innovation and technology transfer experience of a micro-manufacturer within a University-Industry collaboration context in regional Australia

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Case Studies in Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.95.1 - 23.95.12

Permanent URL

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Paper Authors


Steven Chingnam Goh University of Southern Queensland

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Mr Goh completed his BEng in Manufacturing & Materials at UQ, MBA (Tech Mgt) at Deakin Uni, MPA at USQ, and a Diploma in Company Directorship from AICD. He joined USQ as an engineering academic staff in 2006 after spending 10 years in industry in various roles including R&D Manager, Business Development Engineer to Managing Director of his own firm, and is currently active in a number of boards; including the QLD Division committee of Engineers Australia and its sub-committee on Education Linkage (input into K12 and Tertiary Education). His research interests are in engineering education, engineering management, and renewable energy. He is a recipient of a USQ Faculty Award for Excellence in teaching (Early Career) 2008, USQ Associate Fellow 2009, and USQ Senior Fellow 2010. He served as the 2012 QLD President of Engineers Australia.

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A qualitative study into the innovation and technology transfer experience of a micro-manufacturer within a University-Industry collaboration context in regional AustraliaAbstract: Small-Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) play a critical part and are an importantcontribution to the economy in Australia, and the imperative to innovate has been greaterthan ever in a globalized economic setting. This research explored a number of questionssurrounding SMEs, their innovation practices and the policy that influence them. Thisresearch builds on prior studies and addressed a significant gap within the literature in adescriptive and explanatory way. This research reviewed and identified, through a case studyapproach with a series of in-depth qualitative data collection, analyses and discussions,barriers to innovation in micro-regional SME in Australia, and outlines recommendations forhow these can be overcome. In essence, the research aims to provides a deeper insight intowhat actually happens and why it happens; factors affecting innovation and technologytransfer (I&TT) in regional micro-manufacturers, and describes an intervening investigationinto the I&TT process in the SME sector within a University-Industry collaboration context.It is evidenced that this research field is well contributed by the large number of publishedresearch articles. The paper explores and reflects on the innovation and technology transferexperience within a micro-manufacturer, obtained through embedment of one of the authorsin an SME firm. The research initially focused on the manufacturing factors such asincreasing productivity through work study and work-flow analysis, and introducing semi-automation and flexible manufacturing methodology. As the project progressed, however,several non-manufacturing factors were identified as major influences in the I&TT processwithin the targeted micro-manufacturer. The ability for firms to progress in improving themanufacturing factors is often dependent on these factors, which are categorized as verypersonal and business related (rather than technical related). The research involved a SWOTanalysis on the business, learning and discovering the obstacles and barriers for I&TT,seeking and proposing ways to reduce it, and modeling the overall I&TT process withinmicro-manufacturers in regional areas, and termed Regional Knowledge Diffusion (RKD)model. This model developed through this research can be used as a conceptual frameworkfor developing future policies for encouraging innovation and technology transfer within auniversity-industry context within the regional Small-Medium-Enterprise sector.

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