NASA Langley Building Culture of Innovation through Fast Track To Market Competition

By: Daniel Satinsky, VP of Business Development

NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is continuing to develop a culture supporting technology commercialization through its second annual “Fast Track to Market Competition” which took place on June 22, 2017. Conceived by Foresight Science & Technology, LaRC’s technology commercialization support contractor, the Office of Innovation at the Office of Strategic Analysis, Communications and Business Development (OSACB) solicited technologies from LaRC’s research community in healthcare, transportation and heating & cooling.

Out of more than twenty submissions, ten competing teams were selected. They then went through a two-day pitch training session to orient them on how best to promote the commercial value of their technology in preparation for their presentation to a panel of experienced outside judges. Each team made a seven-minute pitch presentation to a panel of industry experts, composed of Eric Prescott, General Electric; Terry Hall, Hall Analytics, LLC; Jerry Cronin, Center for Enterprise Innovation, Old Dominion University; Jay Borkland, Tufts University; Luke Chow, Prime Manufacturing Technologies, Inc.; Marty Kaszubowski, Center for Enterprise Innovation, Old Dominion University; and Carl Knoblock, U.S. Small Business Administration. The judges then presented their evaluations and recommendations to OSACB. Norton Kaplan, who initiated the idea of the competition and Daniel Satinsky, who recruited the panel, led the Foresight support team.

The competition built upon last year’s competition to attract broader attention and interest in commercialization from the LaRC researchers. As a result there were a number of very interesting and potentially commercially successful technologies presented to the judges. With some difficulty due to the high quality of the competition, two technologies were selected to receive additional research funding and commercialization support. The winning technologies were a laser vibrometer for remote monitoring of cardiac activity and a laser surface treatment and spectroscopic analysis system. The promising technologies that did not receive an award will receive marketing and promotional support for outreach to industry from OSACB over the next year. So in most senses, all the participants were winners and the competition itself was another building block in the growing commercialization culture at LaRC.

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