With overworked staff and under resourced organizations, it is often hard to move from doing what must get done (box-checking) to being intentional. Many employees are simply trying to keep their heads above water. In cultures like these, there is no time for strategy, which could ultimately lead to the desired outcomes. While this widespread challenge exists in every industry, this case study focuses specifically on technology transfer, where, as an industry, there are historically under resourced offices. These limited resources are combined with a critical need to move innovation out of the lab and into the world where it can achieve a broader impact. Government laboratories feel pressure to show benefits from taxpayer funded R&D, while universities (and even government laboratories to some extent), feel driven to spur economic growth through the formation of startups and the licensing of technologies to local businesses.
IVT brought its time and talents to create a pragmatic and readily doable strategy for the innovation management team at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). The Innovation to Impact Strategy was developed after interviewing with key leaders, performing an in-depth review of public documents, analyzing best practices, and developing a clear understanding of the client’s expectations. Combined with the strategy were visually appealing and effective graphics to support the sharing of the strategy and securing buy-in from leadership, technology transfer staff, and researchers.
The result was a unifying strategy that was equally appealing to the team “on the ground” and the organizational leadership. Unlike many overly visionary (and completely unattainable) strategies, IVT’s strategy was concise, specific, and practical, all while achieving the desired outcomes. With just three objectives—each one paired with specific goals, metrics, action steps, and tools—the ERDC Office of Research and Technology Transfer (ORTT) team was equipped to take tangible steps forward. Armed with a practical strategy and the corresponding communication tools, ERDC has been taking great leaps forward in its goal to drive more impact from its R&D investments.