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Sources for Space Technologies: Finding and Evaluating New Partners

Successful technology infusion requires (1) finding a match between an organization’s needs and technologies and those of an external partner and (2) helping both parties realize that they have something to gain from working collaboratively. After assessing whether the specific technical need is fully understood and confirming that pursuing partnerships to fulfill that need is indeed a worthy venture (i.e., a “need assessment”), one begins a Strategize-Seek-Secure process. The Strategize phase includes using appropriate parameters and sources to search for all organizations that might be potential partners and then down-selecting the results to only those that are truly relevant. These remaining organizations are then ranked A, B, or C, and a strategy is devised for approaching each level as well as each individual organization. During the Seek phase, appropriate communication materials are developed and used to contact potential partners. Using the information gleaned from these interviews, one then evaluates the organizations, re-ranking them as needed. The Secure phase involves facilitating meetings and conducting negotiations between the potential partner(s) and the internal “Need Owner” who will participate in any agreement for collaborative research and development (R&D). This entire process is part of the “6-S for Partnership Development Success” methodology.