Passage of 1982 SBIR enabling legislation was one factor in a multi-pronged effort across legislative and regulatory space to address a seriously deteriorating US economy: high unemployment rates with systemic and extensive job loss, energetic foreign competition, sky-high interest rates and minimal capital access. As it was then - as is now - and in ensuing 40+ period, SBIR a useful and sometimes powerful reflection of changes and condition of US economy.
Neither can what
we do - and how
we do it - be in any way considered a form of Crowd-Sourcing or Speed-dating. The former is becoming a useful and potentially powerful tool in various settings; but, frankly, the value of the latter in almost any business-related context simply escapes me.
The trend analyses these data also make possible, clearly shows that collectively the SBIR community is by far the largest single concentration of technical talent: almost three times more graduate level engineers and scientists being SBIR employed than all academic researcher combined. However, unlike the fairly well-defined (and identifiable) population of academic and non-profit research institutions, for those wishing on any systematic basis to engage this talent
- simply even to find who they might usefully want to talk to
- then to achieve a mutually viable, appropriate form of initial working relationships with firms of interest
can be a daunting challenge
. SBIR-involved firms are - by definition - small in size: the overwhelming percentage employ fewer than 25 people. They are over the map geographically, in terms of stage of business development, plans for their firm, resource access, areas of technical focus and by any other variable one might wish to list.
Even among more established entities, if their SBIR involvement - and thereby funding agency identity
- is recent, limited and/or indicative of only a part of what they are about
- and/or they have a platform capability that extends beyond the specific BSIR-funded element
that Tech Seeker may never
find what they seek or the hidden gem that could/would be potentially important.
Massively distributed R&D facility:
Instead we opt to think about - and address - the SBIR community as the equivalent of a massively distributed RD facility within its ranks being some onyl one or two - but often many small firms of potentially considerable interest. The ASSET system is the means by which the value of what resides in that facility can be most effectively realized.
ASSET system components:
The ASSET system is organized around TWO primary means of delivery
- By-invitation, event-focused: various forms of face-to-face interactions in smaller groups with participation of appropriately qualified small firms always by rigorous selection and by-invitation and
- Topic specific, proposal-based systems - designated iP3. 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.
Both these contact initiation and delivery systems, along with a 24/7 tracking of all SBIR awardees of interest and/or consequence to a particular Tech Seeker, are usefully integrated though a sophisticated and secure, online Office Suite System