The Entrepreneurial University: A comparative analysis of self-reflection tools

The EU-funded THEI2.0 project comparatively analysed the user experiences of two tools designed to support the entrepreneurial university: HEInnovate[1] and the newly designed THEI2.0 Model[2]. The five project partners – LUT (Finland). Munich University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Dundalk Institute of Technology (Ireland), University of Aveiro (Portugal) and Tecnocampus (Spain) – completed extensive questionnaires about their experiences of the tools and constructed user cases around these. The first questionnaire relating to the HEInnovate user experience comprised 22 questions over four thematic sections, and the second questionnaire relating to the new THEI2.0 Model experience comprised 15 questions over five thematic sections. Analyses were completed in mid-2021 and mid-2022, respectively.

Key Takeaways and Impact

With regard to the HEInnovate tool, analyses highlighted: the realisation that HEInnovate initiates a transformational process; identifies what works and what does not; signposts toward positive actions; stesses the need for effective communication and senior management involvement. With regard to the THEI2.0 Model, findings revealed: the THEI2.0 Model’s particular value for HEIs in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey; illustrating how eHEI Cards and the User Tutorial are valuable for suggesting improvements and moving from assessment to action; showing how the Canvas allows users to plan future actions, keep ‘score’ to recognize achievements, and identify areas where growth is needed. Overall, key messages were about inspiration and helping HEIs in a practical way along their entrepreneurial journey. For both reflection tools, the user experience and impact were positive, with HEIs prompted to reflect on their entrepreneurial position and activities. While the HEInnovate tool is clearly effective, findings suggest that combining it with the THEI2.0 Model allows for a more robust self-reflection exercise and the identification of a structured pathway from assessment to action.

Colette Henry


[1] HEInnovate is a self-reflection tool for Higher Education Institutions who wish to explore their innovative potential. It guides you through a process of identification, prioritisation and action planning in eight key areas. The self-assessment is available in all EU languages. HEInnovate is an initiative of the European Commission in partnership with the OECD. It is free, confidential and open to anyone to use.

[2] The THEI2.0 Model was designed to bring users from assessment to action. It requires the HEInnovate tool to be used as part of the process, and adds a complete toolkit comprising eHEI Profiles, eHEI Recommendation Cards, a Canvas and a Miro Board all delivered within a facilitated workshop setting. Supporting resources include User Cases, Digital Badges and an Academic Book.