Keywords: organisational innovation, technopreneurship, innovative spirit, IC industry, Taiwan, semiconductor industry, entrepreneurship, technology transfer, industrial development, transformational leadership, training, management skills, industrial clusters, innovative capability
Organisation innovation and entrepreneurship: the role of the national laboratories in promoting industrial development
The development of IC industry in Taiwan began with a technology transfer from the USA based RCA Company, which was conducted by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). ITRI's Technology Transfer Team (TTT) members were first incubated in the National Laboratories at ITRI, and then dispatched to spin-off companies in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park (HSIP). Many of these TTT members are now the CEOs of leading companies within the IC industry. The aim of this study is to examine how ITRI's Electronics Research and Service Organization (ERSO) shaped R&D engineers into technical entrepreneurs (Technopreneurs) and how ERSO has promoted Taiwan's industrial development. This study uses in-depth interviews with 16 TTT members, combined with critical incident analysis of historical documents to support the following themes: 1. ERSO/ITRI's organisational innovation inspired IC technopreneurs to realise the 'Innovative Spirit' and 'Technopreneurship'. This was done by ERSO's adoption of new-enlightened experimentation procedures, by ERSO's cultivation of the 'Innovative Spirit' of technopreneurs under transformational leadership and by ERSO's innovative climate. Besides, the all-purpose training of operation executives was conducted in an environment that simulated market and business operations, which perfected the managing skills of these 'technopreneurs'. 2. As national laboratories in Taiwan, ERSO has contributed human capital and social capital to the development of IC industry in Taiwan and it has also effectively linked Taiwan's common innovative infrastructure with the geographical advantages of individual industrial clustering, thus creating the national innovative capability of Taiwan's IC industry.