• development and implementation of an innovation practice.” The stress is heavily on organizational transformation, rather than the extension of new services.

  • NIST MEP is clearly seeking to drive the new strategy through the rapid adoption of the specific innovation- and growth-oriented tools developed by NIST MEP. A number of the metrics make this abundantly clear. As noted elsewhere in this report, many of these tools are still at the experimental or at least unproven stage, making adoption potentially risky for organizations with scarce resources such as MEP centers.
  • NIST MEP is seeking to drive centers to adopt all components of the new strategy—a one-size-fits-all approach which ignores the likelihood that centers will need to match different offerings to their differing client populations.

Despite some concerns about the new assessment approach, it should be noted that feedback from center interviews has generally been positive. As one center director observed, “If we are doing things right on the ground, we are confident that this will be reflected in the metrics.”

However, it should be noted that if at some future point NIST MEP is able to allocate additional funding to individual centers, or to reallocate existing funding between centers, the qualitative aspects of the balanced scorecard approach will require further bolstering: The transparency and independence of the metrics will undoubtedly attract close scrutiny.

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