Carnegie Mellon University
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Sustaining Life – The Role of Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR )

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-10-24, 00:00 authored by James JordanJames Jordan

Being asked to contribute an article on SBIRs at a time when the program was up for renewal caused us to research the debating arguments. We thought one of the serious impediments to the debate was the obscurity of the process of innovation itself. Calls to action encourage debate and measurement, however, without comprehensive knowledge of the process itself, how can a balanced argument be made and how can we determine what we are measuring?

If data expressed that nine out of ten companies failed to make it to venture capital funding sources, that may feel correct, as many should fail early technical hurdles. If we shared that the data was obtained further downstream, after technical feasibility was determined and a working prototype created, perhaps you might be concerned.

Participating in the debate without context would not meet our objective, nor would it assist in improving the public’s understanding of ways in which government and citizens can leverage innovation for the common good After reviewing existing publications, it appears our national discussion on innovation frequently excludes commercialization. As we will discuss, the definition of innovation itself must include commercialization.


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