2
Methodologies and Approaches

Many of the best practices discussed at the Workshop on Accelerating Technology Transition function by altering the risk–reward relationship of the military customer and the suppliers of high-technology materiel. This balance can be changed when both parties work to the desired technology function rather than to specification. This strategy results in the ability to both better quantify the rewards associated with success and the ability to mitigate the risk of failure.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM A COMPARISON OF RISK–REWARD MODELS

The risk–reward relationship for success or failure in military systems was noted by many speakers at the workshop as being a primary barrier to the insertion of new technologies into military systems. The risk–reward structures for military systems are shown schematically for noncritical and critical technologies1 in Figures 2.1 (a) and (b), respectively. The reward for success in a noncritical technology in military systems is significantly less than it is in the commercial sector. Moreover, as the technology becomes more critical for system functionality, the penalty for any failure increases and can become very large compared to the reward for success. At the limit, the penalty for a single failure of a critical technology is infinite. In fact, the Department of Defense (DoD) practice of punishing those who cause failure was cited by speakers from military and industrial organizations alike. They described the severe penalties faced by DoD program managers who introduce a technology that fails, even in preliminary tests. This attitude within the DoD that so heavily penalizes failure and does not provide appropriate rewards for success breeds a culture that is, by nature, averse to transitioning new technology very rapidly, or at all.

According to workshop presenters, the contrast in risk–reward structures between military and industrial customers is most apparent in companies that have interacted both with the DoD and with commercial customers. Joseph Tippens, Universal Chemical Technologies, described one extreme when he spoke of the entrepreneurial efforts supported by venture capitalists. In the venture capital experience, 80 percent of high-risk investments are expected to fail. However, the 20 percent that succeed are predicted to have very large returns on investment. Figure 2.1(c) demonstrates the high value of success and the relatively low penalty for failure on a particular technology. As the success level increases, the reward increases rapidly. However, the penalty for failure, while present, is not as severe as the rewards for succeeding. This approach gives a very strong incentive to attempts to create successes, and it is accepting of failures as a part of the process. This pull is key to rapid technology

1  

For purposes of this discussion, a critical component is defined as one that can cause complete loss of system functionality if it should fail.



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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems 2 Methodologies and Approaches Many of the best practices discussed at the Workshop on Accelerating Technology Transition function by altering the risk–reward relationship of the military customer and the suppliers of high-technology materiel. This balance can be changed when both parties work to the desired technology function rather than to specification. This strategy results in the ability to both better quantify the rewards associated with success and the ability to mitigate the risk of failure. LESSONS LEARNED FROM A COMPARISON OF RISK–REWARD MODELS The risk–reward relationship for success or failure in military systems was noted by many speakers at the workshop as being a primary barrier to the insertion of new technologies into military systems. The risk–reward structures for military systems are shown schematically for noncritical and critical technologies1 in Figures 2.1 (a) and (b), respectively. The reward for success in a noncritical technology in military systems is significantly less than it is in the commercial sector. Moreover, as the technology becomes more critical for system functionality, the penalty for any failure increases and can become very large compared to the reward for success. At the limit, the penalty for a single failure of a critical technology is infinite. In fact, the Department of Defense (DoD) practice of punishing those who cause failure was cited by speakers from military and industrial organizations alike. They described the severe penalties faced by DoD program managers who introduce a technology that fails, even in preliminary tests. This attitude within the DoD that so heavily penalizes failure and does not provide appropriate rewards for success breeds a culture that is, by nature, averse to transitioning new technology very rapidly, or at all. According to workshop presenters, the contrast in risk–reward structures between military and industrial customers is most apparent in companies that have interacted both with the DoD and with commercial customers. Joseph Tippens, Universal Chemical Technologies, described one extreme when he spoke of the entrepreneurial efforts supported by venture capitalists. In the venture capital experience, 80 percent of high-risk investments are expected to fail. However, the 20 percent that succeed are predicted to have very large returns on investment. Figure 2.1(c) demonstrates the high value of success and the relatively low penalty for failure on a particular technology. As the success level increases, the reward increases rapidly. However, the penalty for failure, while present, is not as severe as the rewards for succeeding. This approach gives a very strong incentive to attempts to create successes, and it is accepting of failures as a part of the process. This pull is key to rapid technology 1   For purposes of this discussion, a critical component is defined as one that can cause complete loss of system functionality if it should fail.

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems FIGURE 2.1 Different views of the reward structure for new technologies. transition in the entrepreneurial commercial arena. With fear of failure and its accompanying penalty as a key barrier to moving forward with new technologies in military systems, far less focus is placed on the potential gains to be realized should a technology be successful in the long run. For almost every new technology awaiting insertion, there is a conservative fallback solution that has lower performance, but a much lower risk of failure. Ned Allen of Lockheed Martin expressed the importance of the fallback technology in terms of the number of new technologies inserted per year. He postulated that the real rate of technology insertion is determined by the status of the fallback position. The insertion of new technologies into military systems is, therefore, most rapid and effective when existing technology fails: there is a crisis and there is no fallback position. In contrast, Rich Bushman of 3M indicated that the technology advancement process at 3M is often driven by examining both the costs to be incurred and the potential for success or failure, and then comparing those with the entitlements to be accrued should the new technology be successful. Figure 2.2 indicates that, unlike the case with traditional goal setting, the focus becomes the maximum benefit to be accrued in the event of success, that is, the performance that the project is "entitled" to. Using this approach, one can set realistic goals in terms of achieving some large fraction of the "entitlement." For a greater acceleration of technology transition, several of the participants felt that acknowledging and appreciating the benefits as well having better estimates of the risks would aid in the transition. By placing appropriate metrics on rewards for success as well as on penalties for failure, FIGURE 2.2 Six-sigma view of available benefits. SOURCE: Reprinted, by permission, from Sigma Breakthrough Technologies, Inc. Copyright 2003 by Sigma Breakthrough Technologies, Inc., San Marcos, Tex.

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems workshop participants said, the DoD managers could select and advance technology programs based on an appropriate cost–benefit model. Those programs that had a high level of potential performance could then be moved forward rapidly even if there were known risks of failure. Moreover, this could be done in the absence of any crisis, as seems to be necessary in the current DoD environment for the rapid transition of technology. Risk aversion is critical, according to workshop participants. In fact, much of the work in the Accelerated Insertion of Materials (AIM) program was directed at resolving issues of risk, uncertainty, and confidence. Technical uncertainty is a major reason for rework cycles in product development aimed at correcting problems in the design. In turn, rework is the primary cause of cost and schedule overruns. If a technology has progressed far enough that insertion pilot programs are feasible in parallel with ongoing product-development programs, this can provide the needed application experience. This is one strategy to overcome the risk aversion of future product development programs. SUCCESSFUL BEST PRACTICES Based on the workshop presentations, the committee identified three corporate best practices that are effective at accelerating technology development and product introduction into the public marketplace. Best Practice 1: Developing a Viral Process for Technology Development One successful best practice identified by the committee is that of developing a "viral"2 process for technology development. This process involves quick, iterative development cycles and prototyping of materials and products; free, open communication with all stakeholders; agile manufacturing processes;3 and realistic modeling of materials and processes, system performance, and cost. Quick, Iterative Development Cycles and Prototyping From the perspective of several industries, iterative processes for research, product development, marketing, manufacturing, and accounting are necessary, and they must be done in close consultation, if not actual collaboration, with potential customers. Two examples were provided at the workshop of quick development cycles and prototyping in order to accelerate the insertion of new materials and technologies within the DoD. At the workshop, General Alfred M. Gray, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), described the rapid development of a shoulder-mounted weapon. The design was improved and its deployment was accelerated using feedback on prototypes provided for use to soldiers in field conditions. Anthony Mulligan, president of Advanced Ceramics Research, presented to the workshop attendees an example of that company’s recent successful viral development of small, surveillance uninhabited aerial vehicles. This was accomplished by putting several generations of prototypes into the hands of U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. By having the end user involved in such a way, the development process is constantly focused on making the new technology meet the end users’ needs. Prototyping is not a new concept for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1986, the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (the “Packard Commission") 2   "Viral" in this context means infectious, such that the process provides a seemingly effortless transfer of information and products to others in the team, exploits common motivations and behaviors that are reinforced by the team members’ behaviors, takes advantage of other team members’ resources and knowledge to find solutions, and scales easily from small- to large-scale implementation. 3   "Agile" in this context means well-regulated manufacturing processes that are able to react to perturbations and continue to produce quality products. Process control strategies that meet this goal include 6-sigma, and disciplined design of experiments concepts.

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems recommended that DARPA take the lead in demonstrating the value of prototypes for reducing cost and technical uncertainties before formally committing to acquisition.4 DARPA experimented with various forms of prototyping, and the agency developed a successful model in forming partnerships between the warfighter and the supplier. A 1997 DARPA report on technology transitions5 describes DARPA’s approaches to transitioning basic technologies, ranging from fostering new methods for making high-performance materials to creating major transitions such as the F-117. Rapid development can be hindered if the development team focuses on improving a material, process, or system far beyond what is needed. At the workshop, Dave Tilles from Northrup Grumman described the company’s success in creating a production-ready, biodetection system for the U.S. Postal Service; the system was fielded, tested, and certified within 18 months. One of the primary reasons for this success was the multidisciplinary team that kept the development going without getting bogged down in any one aspect of the process. All workshop participants experienced in rapid technology development using the iterative development cycle acknowledged that challenges or opportunities arise throughout the process. For example, a material that works well in the laboratory may prove difficult to work with in manufacturing. In such cases, it is important to acknowledge the shortcomings and rapidly move toward addressing them. What might be perceived as failure by some may be viewed by others as new information about a potential bottleneck to development. The key to rapid technology development is to virally incorporate the knowledge into the development process and to modify the materials, fabrication processes, and systems as needed. Agile Manufacturing Processes For new technologies that require the development of new materials, there can be significant technical challenges and long time delays in transitioning from laboratory-scale materials, to generic, larger-scale prototyping, to full-scale, complex parts. If different processes must be designed in order to create these materials at different stages, new sets of increasingly difficult problems may have to be solved at each stage. These problems may include, for example, increased variability in materials properties and performance, below the tolerance limits. Agile manufacturing processes are needed for use at all stages in materials development, from materials development, to prototyping and pilot production, to full-scale production. An example of an agile manufacturing process is that of Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM), recently implemented under the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program. It was one of two technologies to receive the 2003 Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award.6 The LAM process produces parts built one layer at a time using stereolithography and is controlled by software that converts a computer-assisted data file to a sliced format corresponding to each processing step. Aluminum pylon ribs for the F-15 Strike Eagle were failing prematurely and were in low supply owing to use of the fighters in Iraq. The LAM process was used to manufacture ship sets made from titanium in only 2 months, meeting the increased demand for aircraft mission availability, improving aircraft safety, and extending the pylon part life by a factor of five. 4   National Defense University. 1986. Report of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management. Available at http://www.ndu.edu/library/pbrc/pbrc.html. Accessed July 2004. 5   Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 1997. Technology Transition. Available at http://www.darpa.mil/body/pdf/transition.pdf. Accessed July 2004. 6   DoD ManTech Awards. 2003. Available at http://www.dodmantech.com/Award/CY03/2003.html. Accessed July 2004.

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems FIGURE 2.3 The change in perceived risk and expenditures with time that the Accelerated Insertion of Materials programachieved. SOURCE: R. Schafrik, GE Aircraft Engines, Technology Transition in Aerospace Industry, briefing presented at the Workshop on Accelerating Technology Transition, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., November 24, 2003. Modeling of Materials and Processes, System Performance, and Cost Agile manufacturing processes are not possible for many materials and applications. Robert Schafrik, of GE Aircraft Engines, described the ramifications of having to scale up processes from initial feasibility studies through manufacturing. Schafrik made the key point that in many systems, particularly for critical components, the perceived risk of failure actually increases with time as the materials become more complex to manufacture and the demands on the technology become greater. The perceived risk of failure increases because of the challenge of scaling up structures from laboratory-size samples to full-scale parts, while keeping the complex materials, their microstructures, and their resulting properties constant. A discovery of new materials with specific combinations of properties is usually based on measurements of small, uniform samples. When the materials are fabricated in larger parts with more complex geometries, the fabrication processes lead to material inhomogeneities that result in inhomogeneous properties. Significant research and development is required to modify the fabrication processes to produce the designed spatial distribution of materials properties needed for the application. As the parts become larger and more complex, two or more such scale-ups are sometimes required before making the final part. (Appendix C contains a more detailed description of the complexity of the development of critical components and the problems and risks that emerge in moving from the laboratory version to final part in development process.) The only way to accelerate this process is to use modeling of materials processing and properties to design fabrication processes that circumvent one or more scale-up cycles. Many modeling tools already exist, but more are needed. The DARPA AIM program has recently demonstrated the ability of modeling tools for materials and processes to effectively reduce the risk over time in complex new materials insertion projects; the two demonstration projects were for polymer composites and superalloys for aerospace applications. A comprehensive suite of materials modeling software and data is needed to accelerate the development and insertion of a wider range of material systems. The change in perceived risk and expenditures with time that the AIM program achieved is represented in Figure 2.3. A vision for the ability of modeling tools to dramatically lower risk in technology development and insertion is embodied in the schematic entitled "tomorrow." Detailed, physically realistic models of materials and materials processing could be used to design new materials and processes for specific high-performance applications. Materials modeling could not only be used to establish the average performance of new materials, but it could also be used to establish the range of materials performance likely as a result of processing variability and of the application environment. Average materials property behavior is not enough; three sigma properties are

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems also needed.7 Some materials cannot be formed by agile manufacturing processes; here, modeling materials and processes can provide the alternative means of agility. In terms of accelerating the initial selection of materials, combinatorial and high-throughput materials research methods show great promise in developing needed materials property data as inputs to modeling and for differentiating competing materials and processes. In the areas of polymer science and catalysis, combinatorial research methods have dramatically reduced the time and cost necessary to identify and optimize new materials for applications as diverse as polymer coatings for marine structures and organic scaffolds for tissue engineering. New, high-throughput measurement methods are being developed for a wide range of organic and inorganic systems that could accelerate the selection of the best materials for a specific application, as well as stimulate the development of a deeper fundamental understanding of new materials and their properties.8 There is a strikingly effective tool for aiding the insertion of high-performance, multifunctional materials in America’s Cup sailboats and Formula 1 racing cars—it is system-level software that quantifies how system performance changes with the insertion of new materials in new designs. In the case of America’s Cup yacht,9 new mast materials and designs were incorporated into ship handling and meteorology models in order to predict boat performance relative to that of competing boats. The accurate modeling of system performance, combined with measured behavior of prototypes, identified certain new materials and designs as being critical to ultimate system performance. Such modeling in DoD systems will aid in setting priorities for the wide range of new materials that could be inserted, and will increase the awareness of the capabilities of materials available for future exploitation. Before advanced materials or new technology can be successfully brought to market, the economics of manufacturing processes must indicate some level of profitability. In areas of technological change, decision makers cannot afford to rely on cost-estimation techniques that are set up for traditional accounting purposes. These techniques cannot be used effectively to assess the cost implications of environmental aspects of process development. Knowledge of cost and environmental issues at the design stage is invaluable, since 70 to 90 percent of cost and emissions are determined by the product design; the remainder is due to control of the manufacturing process. The construction and use of process-based technical cost models, described by Joel Clark of the International Motor Vehicles Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), allows the estimation of manufacturing costs. Such models are especially important for defense systems, since the cost of the testing and evaluation of components made with new materials can equal one-third of the cost of manufacturing. Models are developed through collaboration with technology developers. By varying input parameters, sensitivity analyses aid in understanding the prime contributors to processing costs and may suggest nonobvious approaches to cost reduction. Further, current competitive processes can be assessed in comparison with the new technologies. This technique, developed by the Materials Systems Laboratory at MIT, has been used to successfully predict manufacturing costs for numerous processes in various industries.10 This modeling methodology has been used extensively to assess process economics in various developmental industrial processes. An understanding of the economic factors can help researchers and system developers optimize manufacturing conditions and work toward testing the performance of materials and fabrication systems that seem to be the most economically viable. This intersection of technical performance and economic performance is vital for the successful 7   The Greek letter s (sigma) refers to the standard deviation of a population. Sigma, or standard deviation, is used as a scaling factor to convert upper and lower specification limits to Z. Therefore, a process with three standard deviations between its mean and a specified limit would have a Z value of 3 and commonly would be referred to as a three sigma process. 8   E. Amis. 2004. News and Views: Combinatorial Materials Science, Reaching Beyond Discovery. Nature Materials 3:83-85. 9   R. Kramers, Team Alinghi SA. 2003. America’s Cup Technologies. Presented to the Workshop on Accelerating Technology Transition, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., November 24. 10   J.P. Clark, F.R. Field III, and R. Roth. 1997. Techno-Economic Issues in Materials Selection. ASM Handbook, Vol. 20, Materials Selection and Design. Metals Park, Ohio: American Society for Materials, pp. 225-265.

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems TABLE 2.1 Comparison of Formula 1 Race Car Technology Insertion Teams and Military Aerospace Market Formula 1 Military Aerospace Open specifications Ultimate in detail specifications Open processes Use only our qualified processes Constant improvement Prove it will work Rapid design cycles New vehicle every 10 years   SOURCE: R. Aubrecht, Moog, Inc., Technology Transition Approaches at Moog, briefing presented at the Workshop on Accelerating Technology Transition, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., November 25, 2003. commercialization of new materials, as Joel Clark and also Charles Wu of the Ford Motor Company indicated at the workshop. Wu described the process for the implementation of new materials and processing technologies in automotive applications. He suggested that the development of a business case and an understanding of cost are critical for technology transition in the commercial sector. The establishment of cost (i.e., functional) requirements and the business case early in the process can provide a means for terminating a project early, if warranted, and for allocating funds to technologies that have a higher probability of meeting all of the functional requirements—thus accelerating the transition of a "more deserving" technology. Moreover, by conducting this analysis early in the process, critical cost and business case issues can be addressed earlier in the development process—again accelerating transition of technology. Tools that can be used for cost estimates at an early stage in the design process are described in a recent report of the National Research Council.11 Best Practice 2: Increasing Reliance on Functional Requirements Rather Than on Specifications A second successful best practice identified by the committee is that of increasing reliance on functional requirements rather than on specifications. One of the key limitations to the rapid insertion or development of new technology, particularly for the DoD, is the lack of information given to vendors about the relevant functional (includes cost) and technological needs. Instead, strict adherence to detailed but incomplete specifications is expected. The benefits of the successful functionality approach, known at Moog as concurrent engineering-plus, were described by Richard Aubrecht of Moog in his contrast of two separate business models for different markets served by Moog: Formula 1 race car teams and the military aerospace market (see Table 2.1). Using the team-based approach with parallel development and constant iteration of design cycles, a new product for the Formula 1 market could be produced, tested, and certified for use in approximately 8 months between its initial development and volume production. This time frame is in stark contrast to the dramatically longer period for the military aerospace market, even though the particular systems and components are remarkably similar. The key difference is in the level of risk that the two customers are willing to take, which influences every aspect of the enterprise and, for military aerospace systems, eliminates the possibility of using the concurrent engineering-plus concept. Military specifications have been essential for purposes of certifying that a particular material or system will have an extremely low probability of failure in use. However, for the development of new technologies, specifications reduce the ability to rapidly implement existing knowledge and technologies developed for nonmilitary systems by the different vendors who are also stakeholders in the overall development process. Most of the industry participants in the workshop stated that having an understanding of the desired functionality, including the use environment, would significantly accelerate finding the right material and the right technology solution, and therefore accelerate technology transition. 11   National Research Council. 2004. Retooling Manufacturing: Bridging Design, Materials, and Production. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems This sentiment was echoed strongly by Northrup Grumman’s biohazard detection team. This team, with the concurrence of the U.S. Postal Service, focused on operational success rather than on specification compliance. At the workshop, Rich Bushman from 3M described how the selection of a proper abrasive material was hindered because the customer would not tell 3M how the material would be used. Based on incomplete specifications, an inefficient selection cycle ensued, and a candidate material was offered, evaluated, and rejected. The specifications were then refined to include new, albeit incomplete, information, and the cycle was repeated until a suitable material was identified. It needs to be noted that increased reliance on functional requirements rather than on specifications can only be implemented by having all stakeholders involved and by sharing information, as discussed in the subsection on Best Practice 1. Best Practice 3: Developing a Mechanism for Creating Successful Teams A third best practice identified by the committee is that of developing a mechanism for creating and recreating successful teams, independent of the industry and sector, as new products are envisioned. The success of committed, multidisciplinary teams implementing iterative prototyping and working to functional requirements rather than to specification was brought up with respect to many different industries and in many different forms throughout the workshop. From Formula 1 race cars to America’s Cup sailboats to aircraft, this approach needs to be based on parallel, iterative development processes, with rapid information dispersal that is described as the viral spread of information (whereby any new knowledge is infectious and is instantaneously dispersed throughout the team, and is self-propagating throughout the development process). Should an issue be discovered in the manufacturing processing of the material, this information would then rapidly be transferred to other materials development processes as well as to the testing and verification processes. Likewise, the solution to an issue that has arisen could emerge from this process. Joseph Tippens of Universal Chemical Technologies spoke of this as a constant adjustment of tasks through viral cross-functional interaction. The concept of technology incubators formed by people having the right technologies, the right team skills, and the right financial support is not new. A recent report from the Institute for Defense Analyses concluded that incubators are needed to accelerate technology transition in the military.12 Another recent report discusses recommendations for structures that could be created in the DoD to lead to greater technology transformation.13 The challenge in the case of accelerating technology transition in military systems is that the roles of the military and its suppliers in such an enterprise will be distinctly different from any of those that now exist in the venture-capital world. This is so because the military may be acting as the venture capitalist, technology developer, and the customer. According to the workshop presentations, all successful transitions to the military had the military customers as part of the team from the beginning, in order to ensure meeting the military’s high performance requirements. There may be other goals, such as minimizing initial and life-cycle costs that must be fully disclosed by the military customer in order to maximize the chances of success. The highest levels of the DoD must support the creation of incubators and be committed to working with them effectively to implement new technologies. The creation, management, and interaction of multidisciplinary teams with the DoD cannot be ad hoc or the teams will 12   R.H. Van Atta and M.J. Lippitz, with J.C. Lupo, R. Mahoney, J.H. Nunn. 2003. Transformation and Transition: DARPA's Role in Fostering an Emerging Revolution in Military Affairs. Vol. 1: Overall Assessment. IDA Paper P-3698, Log: H 03-000693, Alexandria, Va.: Institute for Defense Analyses, April. Available online at http://www.darpa.mil/body/pdf/P-3698_Vol_1_final.pdf. Accessed July 2004. 13   U.S. Department of Defense. 2003. Transforming the Defense Industrial Base: A Roadmap. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense, February. Available online at http://www.acq.osd.mil/ip/ip_products.html. Accessed July 2004.

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems likely be unsuccessful. Methods for encouraging movement toward the best practices described above are not obvious, and it is not clear how to structure the technology incubators for success. It is likely that (1) there are a number of different successful structures, and (2) the organizational management of the incubator might be more or less successful, depending on the type of technology. Along with the development of methods to promote successful technology incubators, a major hurdle to overcome in transitioning to such a structure will be the determination of methods for measuring the success of any given scheme. Methods to assess the performance of the technology transition scheme must be delineated so that investments in the more successful structures can be more frequently realized. Methods for assessment must also provide some measure of accountability within the organization that is funding the development. By developing technology incubators and finding performance indicators to assess their success, the time duration for technology transition from conception to implementation is likely to decrease. It is not clear that technology incubators alone can overcome what is called the Valley of Death concept—that is, the gap between technological invention and acquisition; there is still a large disconnect between military acquisition and what the incubators can create. One possible model is the venture-capital firm, In-Q-Tel, sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency. This firm’s mission is to identify and invest in cutting-edge technology solutions that serve U.S. national security interests.14 Through this paradigm, the intelligence community can procure technology without going through the standard procurement and acquisition processes. It is unclear, however, whether this model will work for large-scale activities. Perhaps a champion needs to be found at the level of the Secretary of Defense or the Joint Chiefs, and a small, venture-like Skunk Works be nucleated. The military mindset of small rewards and large punishments, respectively, for success and failure tend to defeat any motivation generated by individuals. If this approach were changed in a Skunk Works venture, it would be more consistent with the military's overarching goals to have the best equipment possible for the warfighter. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The committee concludes that there is no single solution that will accelerate the insertion of new technologies into either commercial or military systems. Instead, it is more likely that failure will occur if a key component is missing. Common characteristics of successful technology innovators include the following: (1) the establishment of enterprises similar to Skunk Works, that is, committed multidisciplinary teams led by champions who inspire and motivate the teams toward specific goals; (2) team determination to make the technology succeed and be profitable, including convincing the customers that they need the technology; (3) mechanisms of open, free communication of knowledge and problems in meeting goals; and (4) a willingness of the champion to take personal risk, which leads to a willingness of the organization to take risks at the enterprise level. As described in detail in Chapter 1, having this organizational culture and structure in place is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for the successful acceleration of technology transition. These three best practices were identified as being critical to such streamlining. While other corporate best practices are also effective at accelerating technology development and product introduction into the commercial marketplace, these three have been shown to increase the chances of success and to lower the perceived risk of failure, including personal, technical, and business risk. Recommendation 2. The Department of Defense should adopt the following three best practices found in industry for the accelerated transition of new materials and 14   R. Yannuzzi. 2000. In-Q-Tel: A New Partnership Between the CIA and the Private Sector. Defense Intelligence Journal, Winter. Available online at http://www.in-q-tel.com/news/attachments/in-q-tel_cia.html. Accessed July 2004.  

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Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems technologies from concept to implementation. Develop a viral process, one that is infectious and self-propagating, for technology development through the quick, iterative prototyping of materials and products, with free and open communication; agile manufacturing processes; and effective modeling of materials, processes, system performance, and cost; Work to functional requirements rather than to specifications; and Develop a flexible mechanism for creating and recreating successful teams as new systems are envisioned.