Innovation of Business

and the
Business of Innovation™
 
Client Stories M-N

National Technology Transfer Center

This organization was   established by NASA to facilitate technology transfer, both for NASA and for other elements of U.S. government.

Challenges

Market Engineering was called into the organization to accelerate development of a practical tech-transfer program. Odd as it might seem, NASA acted as a consultant to other departments of Government. For instance, the Navy project (below) was done as a collaboration between NTTC and Market Engineering.

Solutions

Oue process was to visit and serve a variety of labs, using Market Engineering processes to support client (lab) efforts. Market Engineering Processes were formalized for sale at that time. Unfortunately, I accepted bad advice and lost the opportunity to market my systems for strategic marketing broadly into the   Federal Lab Consortium.

Results

My time at NTTC was   broad, and we served a range of clients. We formalized processes within NTTC that may still influence their programs and strategies.

NAVSYS

NAVSYS was a research and development house that delivers unique and workable solutions that transfer GPS technologies into its customers' products.

Challenges

Core   Strategy: Decide whether the company should manufacture and sell its products or license major technologies for commercialization. Product Launch: Create visibility in target markets for their flagship product, “Tidget”. Whether sell or license, NAVSYS need to develop markets and create credibility for sales.
Company brand: Define NAVSYS for the marketplace and establish the value of products and of the company as a source of new products.  Culture: Focus more on customer satisfaction while maintaining its unique culture and remaining attractive to the highest quality of personnel

Solutions

Corporate vision: A team answered key questions leading to a Strategic Identity, brand, and a basis for business decisions.
  Marketing communications: Corporate and product brochures were developed to incorporate and leverage strategic   decisions and brand.

Results

Three   product lines: The company clarified its businesses as Innovative Research, Special-Purpose Equipment, and Technology Transfer. That is NAVSYS chose a licensing strategy.
Competitive strategy: As a research house, then, NAVSYS began to position itself as a partner to larger companies, avoiding direct competition. It’s unique expertise and patents became bargaining tools rather than competitive threats. 
Brand: Where NAVSYS would be a small player in commercial markets, it could stake out a position as a major player in “innovative GPS solutions.”
Market focus: The company established priorities for marketing Tidget.

NIOSH Acumen

NIOSH (the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control) operates as a suite of Divisions, each with a focus on a part of improving workplace health and safety. To create more cohesive approaches to categories of concern, NIOSH established “cross-cutting” efforts that drew staff from all relevant Divisions. One studied musculoskeletal diseases - MSDs.

Challenges

Starting from scratch: Though a Division Director was assigned to manage the new organization and representatives from divisions had been assigned, nothing more had been done.
Team building: Tap the talents of representatives of all NIOSH Divisions
Business development: The cross-cutting program needed to operate as a business with customers. Return on investment would be funding of this new NIOSH business unit. The new team needed to justify its funding.
Research Agenda: Several organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences had recommended priorities for research into MSDs. Over 80 ideas had to be considered, some stated in detail and others just names. A key step was establishing priorities from the vast input. New processes were developed to achieve a workable agenda for review by team management.
Agenda Gaps: Use the structure of the Agenda to identify potential gaps, as for instance, tool or technology development to enable specific research.
Stakeholder diversity: Nominally, the focus was on safety for workers, yet employers would need to fund implement solutions, and outside practitioners would be key in many cases. 
Team size: Market Engineering had never worked with a team of 24 people. New methods were developed to enable voting on priorities and wordsmithing of statements that sustained progress in spite of team size.
Getting buy in: The Divisions who loaned staff for this project needed clear justification, even though the project was mandated by NIOSH. Staff quality (loaned) and amount of time (given) was dependent on recognition of value by Division directors.

Solutions

Research Agenda: New Market Engineering processes were developed and applied to achieve a workable agenda. 
Strategic Identity: Defined this new cross-cutting organization. We chose an abstract name to establish a non-standard government organization.  Integrated Strategy: Enable efficient actions by organizing focus around goals and objectives.
Extend structure of the Agenda: Move from six primary foci to categories within each focus. NIOSH focused on musculoskeletal disease and injury in workplaces. We facilitated strategic identity, brand, focused objectives, and integrated strategy.

Results

Strategic Identity: Established a business within NIOSH by considering the solving of MSDs from eight perspectives: Functions  of the business, markets, customers, needs for Acumen, benefits offered, competition, uniqueness, differentiation, desired perceptions, and value promised.

Integrated Strategy: Statement and characterization of goals, listing and prioritizing of objectives, within each goal, prioritizing of objectives across the six goals. Those top objectives then   drove strategy.

Research Agenda – part 1: Defined structure and initial  ontent of a national research agenda for MSD. When team brainstorming failed to identify useful categories, Market Engineering provided a structure of six stages that he’d developed during review of initial priorities. The team ordered initial priorities (recommendations from other organizations) into the new structure and added some missing pieces.

Research Agenda – part 2: Management asked Market Engineering to do second level steps. Though the team had prioritized topics in each category of research, it was clear that each could be organized by a substructure. That step suggested parallel structure within each primary structure… that is, it showed potential research priorities not included in the initial lists.
  Research Agenda – part 3: Some priorities were described by whole paragraphs; others by a name only. At management request, Market Engineering attempted balance of wording. In effect, we wrote the draft language of the National Agenda for MSDs.

NIOSH Health Effects Lab

NIOSH (the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control) operated a range of research and operations divisions. Under pressure from Congress, NIOSH established programs for increasing the impact of their divisions on their target markets. One program was “R2P” - Research to Practice, initially focused on technology transfer. Few of the divisions were prepared to meet the NIOSH requirements. Health Effects Lab Division (HELD) invited Market Engineering to help increase the impact of the Lab.

Challenges

Impact from a basic science lab. Measures of success were closely focused on scientific publications.
Technology transfer: No significant history of moving technologies to market.
Patenting: Costs came out of research funds, creating barriers to optimal science and distinct push-back from researchers.  Established academic research   environment: The Director set the stage early and chosen middle managers   who would maintain that culture.
No model for demonstrating impact: Not even a clear suite of stakeholders who would benefit from impact.
Approval of the NIOSH Headquarters, and at least acquiescence of CDC: Any significant changes in operating modes faced resistance from the bureaucracy. 
Funding: The Lab’s budget was always under stress. New strategic marketing needed to support funding efforts.

Solutions

Strategic Identity: Development of a new vision for HELD. (Included minimization of that acronym and emphasis on NIOSH Health Effects Lab)
Value Promise: “Science at Work for People at Work”: The fundamental focus was emphasized to reinforce the focus on service to workers and workplace owners. 
Stakeholders: Clear understanding of the “customers” served. For instance, standards organizations depend on top quality science, over time, that establishes the framework of a standard. On a different note, papers designed for research journals could also contain key words for applied scientists.
Integrated Strategies for Lab and  arketing: Four goals were chosen and characterized. Numerous objectives were defined and prioritized. Three initiatives focused near term actions.
Paths to Stakeholders: A dynamic diagram helped all staff to recognize the range of ways they could create impact. Tech transfer was just one way. Indeed, NIOSH and CDC had not created a vision as complete.
Product Strategic Identity –vs- Concept Analysis: The director funded comparisons of the benefits of doing the more comprehensive analysis vs the faster, less comprehensive approach. PathMapping: The concept of Research to Practice was expanded for technology transfer. Lundquist and the Director co-authored a paper for the 2006 Technology Transfer Society meeting.

Results

Culture   change: The Director made it his personal mission to add IMPACT to the research paradigm.   
Cooperation: The Branch Chiefs all participated in the original brainstorming and all agreed that the Lab needed to do more to achieve Impact and carried the message to their staff.
Focus: The value promise had internal impact. Science at Work for People at Work set operational   expectations that went beyond doing great science. 
Research Papers: Most of the Lab still resisted writing for other than their scientific peers. On the other hand, they agreed to develop more review papers that, by nature, were broad enough for applied scientists.

NRAD (NAVY)

NRaD (Now SPAWAR) is the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, a leader in command and control including the technology and technology management. As a federal lab specializing in sophisticated computer , communications, and information systems, NRaD brought expertise , technology, a history of success and disciplined management skills to address ne problems in command and control.

A the time we worked with NRAD, they sought innovative ways to gain outside revenues and leverage the many strengths of their labs.

Challenges

An opportunity was found on land. CalTrans, the California Department of Transportation, sought expertise in command and control for the statewide highway system.

Solutions

NRaD was a highly qualified and reputable institution not considered by CalTrans only because they had previously dealt with commercial contractors. We developed a proposal in cooperation with the senior officer and the senior civilian in charge. We prepped the two to make present a proposal. The Navy Captain made the presentation. CalTrans responded with high compliments, saying that this proposal was the first that to show understanding of the complexities and   desired results.

Results

Though top management was fully in agreement, we had failed to bring middle management into the process. Undertaking the Caltrans project would have required creating three divisions rather than two. That would mean that middle management would suffer a reduction of headcount. That would cost them influence and position. In the end, the project was killed. A unfortunate lesson was learned.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – NREL
National Bioscience Center - NBC

NREL is the primary Federal Lab for renewable and clean energy generation. NBC coordinates development of energy from renewable biologic resources. NBC operates the Process Development Facility (PDF), the nations premier midsize-capacity facility for testing of bioprocessing methods, especially those designed to create ethanol from bio-fuels through bioprocessing of plant materials. The NBC had been underused for several years.

Challenges

Increased   use: Find new clients, attract new projects for the PDF.
Industry relationships: Become recognized as the resource of choice by companies developing commercial bioprocessing using new methods and new biology.
Research levels: The PDF was staffed with high expertise by scientists developing next generation bioprocesses. They needed both projects and funding.
Reputation: Attract high profile projects that would establish both facility and staff as a powerful resource to the industry.
Marketing across the Lab was features driven rather than value driven.
Management: A small team sought a new approach. That approach required approval from NBC.

Solutions

Strategic   Identity: Develop coherent new perceptions in the management, scientific staff, and “sales” responsible for finding clients.
Broaden the market: Serve companies in any industry (e.g., chemicals, energy, environmental, food/feed, pharmaceuticals, pulp/paper) that do or could depend on commercial scale, fermentation-based processing to develop end products from a variety of feedstocks.
Rename: NFAB – NREL Facility for Advanced Bioprocessing. 
Refocus: Value promise became “Fermenting Solutions.” The team chose to think beyond process development to complete solution delivery. To think beyond processing to the product of processing.
Uniqueness: The team focused on NFAB’s mid-size reactors as the perfect step   for proving larger scale commercial reactors. 
Marketing: The sales member of the   team adopted new language and approach.

Results

A new brand, its value promise, and industry oriented marketing language. Within a year, NFAB had a “new money” $2 million contract.

Introduced “Next Generation Partner Development” as a process for ongoing marketing of NFAB. 

 



 



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