Monday, August 02, 2010
Dan Callahan

I see some true leadership coming out of selected individuals in the IC and it is inspiring.  Sure, there are a million things that could be better and nobody would deny this.  However, my philosophy is that we need to support the ones who are in charge, and help them do their job.  This is the system we have.  Working against it won’t help you reach your goals and certainly will not help the nation reach its goals.


Anyway, Dawn Meyerriecks over at the DNI, (her official title is deputy director of national intelligence for acquisition and technology) believes that we need to fundamentally rethink how we’re going about cyber security.  The current approach and its effectiveness will peter-out in short order, so she is strongly advocating R&D that is truly innovative; read about it here.   (If you’re new to the expression, “out of the box thinking”, browse here.)


As she is exhibiting, our federal government and IC need a fresh idea or two, as well as validation of the core concepts on which we’re operating.  If there are better ways to protect our networks, let’s get on with it.  Whether or not you fall into the Cyber Security market is irrelevant to my point; Meyerreicks is trying to instill deep innovation using her R&D monies as a catalyst. 

Now is a good time for you to also think out of the box, when it comes to the solution your service you’re providing to the IC; What do you have to offer that is different?  Can your commodity be used in a different manner that is innovative?  Are there any commercial innovations surrounding your technology that may be useful to the IC mission? Could your product or service be comingled with another such that a new and high-impact solution is born?  Do you know who the true innovators are in your given target agency(ies)?  What would you have to say, if they asked you, “what’s new in your area and how will it help me achieve my core mission goals?


Most IC agencies have a chief innovator or at least someone designated to think out of the box.   Yes, it’s not long before the system beats them into submission, and their innovation is more evolutionary and incremental.  But this is where they may need your help.  Don’t expect to go into full production and agency wide deployment right off the bat… try for a pilot...then a funded but limited roll-out...then agency wide.  Be a fresh thinker for your client.  Give them an idea that they did not have before.  Help them think out of the box and still meet their mission faster and cheaper.  The pressure is also slowly mounting in Afghanistan.   It’s time for fresh thinking.