Using the Industry Collaboration Canvas in the Mid-Term Review. Experience in applying the framework in the oil and gas industry.

David Cameron
University of Oslo

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Arild Waaler
University of Oslo

Knut Sebastian Tungland

Elisabeth Nøst

The SIRIUS Centre for Scalable Data Access in the Oil and Gas Domain is a collaborative centre for research-based innovation, funded by the Research Council of Norway and hosted by the University of Oslo. Its purpose is to pursue fundamental research that drives innovations related to digitalisation of the oil and gas industry. The centre consists of researchers from four institutions (University of Oslo, NTNU, Simula Research Centre) and twelve companies that span the entire oil and gas supply chain. The centre is funded for eight years from the end of 2015 and is now undergoing a mid-term review that assesses the progress of the centre and determines whether it will be funded for its full term.

As part of the preparation for the mid-term review, the management of the centre determined that it was necessary to have a structured discussion with each industrial partner. The purpose of the discussion was to determine how successful the partnership had been to date, see if any changes needed to be made to make the partnership better and sketch a plan for the last half of the centre’s life. This assessment required a tool that was simple to use, easy to understand and flexible. We chose to use the Industry Collaboration Canvas developed by Frølund, Murray and Riedel (2018), with small adaptations made to cover the specific circumstances of the centre. This paper describes the process and results of this work, from the perspective of the centre management and two of the larger partner companies, Equinor and TechnipFMC. Equinor has the role of chairman of the centre board and has been involved in the centre since its inception. TechnipFMC, on the other hand, joined the centre in 2018.

Two workers from the University of Oslo were trained in the use of the canvas at a UIIN workshop in March 2018. At this stage, a high-level canvas of the SIRIUS centre was prepared as an exercise. This was sufficiently fruitful that it was proposed that the canvas should be used to assess the relationship with each partner. The process was explained to the partners at the centre’s general assembly in May 2018 and it was agreed that we would conduct these workshops. The workshops were then held in the second half of 2018. Ideally, representatives from the SIRIUS management would visit each partner’s site to hold the meeting. However, in some cases, videoconferencing had to be used due to the geographical distribution of participants.

The canvas was modified to a format that could be used over videoconferences and in small meeting rooms. We describe the way in which the meetings were run and will described the different dynamics in the various types of meeting. Since the results of the assessment are commercial in confidence, we will generalize some of our observations to ensure that this confidence is maintained.

The use of the canvas was considered to be successful. Feedback from all participants was positive and the information gathered provided factual material for preparing the documents needed for the mid-term review. In all cases, we identified concrete actions that will improve the value of collaboration between the researchers and each industrial partner. The canvas identified gaps and potential problems for collaboration. In these cases we were able to agree on necessary corrective actions. The canvas is now shared between centre management and the partner and is a de-facto agreement on how the partnership will continue over the next 5 years.

Our conclusion is that the canvas is an effective and powerful tool for assessing and planning interactions between researchers and industrial companies. It is simple to use, easy to understand and brings rigour and structure to the discussions around current and new collaborations. We are actively promoting the use of this tool in other parts of the University.