Industry ‘vs’ Academia?

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J.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had great dialogue here.

A tension that should never exist!

Those of you who have been following my blog know that I am a business professor at Okanagan School of Business doing research on remote work. You may also know that I am a coach/consultant who focuses on all things people development, and have a clear passion for those working remotely, or managing remote teams.
From my perspective, the conversation should not be industry vs academia, but rather ‘how can industry learn from academia, and how can academia learn from industry?’ It’s a new face to the age old ‘experience vs education’…each has incredible value on its own, but when the two are combined the outcomes are incredible.

What I find frustrating is that conversations are still happening that pit one against the other. Some say that academia is where invention and innovation happens, while other feel that academia is archaic and that new thinking happens in the ‘real world’ by people actually working in the field.

I came across this article that reported those interviewed “…don’t pay much attention to the publications about fundamental discoveries by universities because they don’t trust them.” Ouch!
Another article representing the flip side states that people don’t trust scientific research when companies are involved because of the propensity for bias. Ouch again!

While I respect the opinion of these perspectives, I tend to believe the best learning lives in the coming together of both sides, each doing their part. I appreciate the sentiment expressed by Martha Crago, VP of Research and Innovation at McGill University.

In addition, like any good partnership, industrial research partnerships need to be based on recognizing the value of the partnership, on trust, and on the ability to meet the other’s needs.

As we move through this project of learning about what makes remote workers great, I am thrilled to be collaborating with both academia and industry. Nathan Sawatzky has been working with me from day one on the research, and Rodrigo Bruno, a student at Okanagan School of Business, has recently joined as a research assistant. Both of these individuals bring immense insight from industry, and as Rodrigo digs into the academic research side of things, he is able to filter it through his own experiences and those he has worked with in remote settings.

Academia and industry collaborating for the purpose of bringing clarity and support to those working in a new era of work. I love it!

One thought on “Industry ‘vs’ Academia?

    Robert Scott said:
    October 21, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Roberta, congrats on continuing with your very interesting project. Apropos the conflict between academia and industry, we shouldn’t be surprised. Those who work in the ‘real world’ (as they might refer to it) often feel a sense of jealousy towards those who are perceived to ‘have it easy’ (as they might refer to it) and those in academia may feel that others prefer to remain stuck in the past and reluctant to adopt new ideas. Politicization of education is another sticking point, one that irritates many people and diminishes the respect and appreciation that should be directed towards academia with its mandate to improve knowledge and understanding through research. I would respectfully take issue with the premise that academia is the single domain where invention and innovation takes place. However, I totally agree with your comment that we will all benefit as a result of the two sides coming together and working for the good of all, rather than choosing to take sides which not only wastes resources but delays the many benefits of shared findings and experience.

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