ASSETs - Access SBIR-STTR Scientific & Engineering Talent System - is an integrated, needs-driven, market-pull system grounded in powerful databases which provides the tools, resources AND opportunities (on and offline) - pro-actively to enable relevant technology capability connections, to support real and appropriate business transactions and to facilitate viable, potentially sustainable working relationships between
- those personnel in major and mid-sized corporations - called here Tech Seekers - tasked with the responsibility to seek out and identify; the authority to engage the talent and capabilities and in-place outcomes of high-quality small firms; and with access to the resources - financial and otherwise - required to enable working relationships actually to happen
- and those specific SBIR-STTR involved firms that our extensive pre-contact analysis suggest have the requisite skills-sets and capabilities sought by particularTech Seeker(s) to enable their tackling projects of consequence, along with the in-place IP and/or the products they want/need to buy
With Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing extensively discussed and featured in the business context, he critical and important difference between the
Drawing down on demonstrated talent: cross-industry relevance
The basic premise from which the ASSET system proceeds is that what the small firm has been working on with SBIR and other similar support is useful indicator of what they are capable of doing. Critically, the emphasis in the ASSETs approach is far less - if at all - on showcasing what the small firm is selling as it is about addressing directly what the Tech Seeker is buying.
An interesting consequence of this technology-use approach is the extent to which the working relationships established and deals consummated - over $225M worth to date - have involved cross-industry application. Many SBIR awardees are working on platform-based technologies where their own business-use may be quite narrowly defined. Being able to license their technology or be funded further to develop to other applications can represent a major business boost
The ASSETs process is anchored in powerful, privately-developed and privately funded relational databases. These variously and currently track a comprehensive range of information re. the business and technology condition of every SBIR-STTR-involved firm - now almost 21,000 awardees (to include many now well-known names) - of which some 7,000 small firms are currently active.
Arguably, by the trend analyses these data make possible, the SBIR community is by far the largest single concentration of technical talent - usefully perhaps considered in this context of business partnering as the equivalent of a massively distributed R&D facility.
However, the sheer scale and scope, along with major diversity in all its forms of what SBIR and the small firms involved are about presents serious challenge for those wishing on any systematic basis to engage these small firms: simply even to find what they they’re looking for and to achieve a mutually viable, appropriate form of initial working relationships with firms of interest.
ASSET system components:
The ASSET system is organized around TWO primary means of delivery
- By-invitation, event-focused endeavor: various forms of face-to-face interactions in smaller groups with the participation of appropriately qualified small firms always by rigorous selection and by-invitation and
- Topic specific, proposal-based systems - designated iP3. See details over page. Usefully considered a private-sector funded version of SBIR, iP3 involvement is also highly targeted to engage the specific SBIR-involved talent judged capable of project collaboration and/or funding.