Nearly a year has passed since the Defense Intelligence Agency unveiled an initiative to rapidly field disruptive technologies and lower the barrier to entry for innovators who have never worked with the government.
The Open Innovation Gateway wasn’t ready for prime time last June, when DIA Chief Innovation Officer Dan Doney previewed the new initiative, but that day is nearing.
“This is almost a year late from when we promised to have it out last June,” Doney said earlier this year, at the Collaborate innovators conference, in Washington, D.C. “It’s coming, I promise, very soon.”
DIA launched an alpha version of the Gateway for select companies in order to vet the system and to work out any kinks. Already, Doney has seen the benefits of exposing vetted innovators to DIA’s security requirements and enterprise environment via the Gateway.
He has described the Gateway as having the look and feel of a web portal, allowing participants to connect with DIA virtually and securely and to show how their solutions perform in the agency’s environment.
“It costs us a lot less,” Doney said. “I don’t have to spend anything to find out whether or not what you’re telling me is true, and I certainly don’t have to sit through a PowerPoint presentation or other business development exercises, and I can find out straight away.”
One of the Gateway’s alpha providers on the West Coast claimed it could “do things a couple of orders of magnitude faster than us with respects to handling big data,” Doney said. As an alpha provider, the company was able to back up its claims in the Gateway’s virtual environment.
“In any RFP or BAA process, they would have been rejected for the absurdity of their claims. But because they were able to show that their claims were legitimate, it fundamentally changes the way we think about our business,” Doney said.
DIA is targeting a 30-day time frame, from assessing technologies in the Gateway to fielding them, Doney explained.
“When you conform, you are ready for mission use,” he said. “I’m not asking for you to show me your capabilities just in the wild; I’m asking you to show it in a way that tells me that it’s ready for me to field.”