Title: Government Enabled Innovation: Different Strategies to Promote Public and Private Innovation
Author(s): Ryan S. Lewis
Affiliation: University of Maryland
Presented At: STiS 2008
Primary Topic Area: Innovation Studies
The information revolution has introduced, and continues to introduce, many new, rapidly changing technologies. Developed primarily in the private sector, these technologies are being used by commercial firms to transform their enterprises. Coincidentally, events such as the War in Iraq and the War on Terror have exponentially increased the U.S. military and intelligence community’s demand for new, “disruptive” technological innovations to combat the increasing unconventional, asymmetric terrorist threat. To develop the necessary innovations, the U.S. government must increasingly leverage the academic and the private sector, where much of the critical technological advances originate. While the research and development for government innovations often has commercial benefits, large, established firms in the private sector traditionally under-invest in “disruptive,” groundbreaking technologies needed by America’s military and intelligence communities. To provide incentives for researchers and entrepreneurs in the private and academic sectors, the U.S. government maintains three primary strategies: high-risk research programs such as Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), small business grant programs such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/ Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and Public-Private Venture Capital Firms. In addition, emerging small business incubators can play an increasing role in meeting public innovations needs. These strategies have different product aims and government clients. This presentation seeks to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of these programs and indentify their areas of best application.