Personnel from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD), Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) came together at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Oct. 25-26 for an innovation discovery event.
The innovation discovery process is rooted deeply in brainstorming theory and was inspired by Min Basadur’s Simplexity System of Applied Creativity.
The Office of Naval Research-sponsored forum brought together scientists, innovators, academia and industry partners from the community. The purpose of innovation discovery is to improve the transfer, transition and commercialization of inventions.
The event was facilitated by three personnel from TechLink. TechLink is the Department of Defense’s (DOD) primary national partnership intermediary for technology transfer. Technology transfer involves transferring DOD inventions to industry in order to allow companies to create new products and services.
Over the course of the two-day event, six innovators presented their projects to the panel. Two of the six were from NSWC PHD. Electronics Engineer Mike Virbia was the first presenter on day one. He shared the work that he and Computer Engineer, Benjamin Catarino performed on a combat system distance support server. He was followed by Computer Engineer, Liping Chen who presented her work on biometric authentication for secure applications.
At the conclusion of each briefing the floor opened to panelist, who asked further questions to the briefers. After approximately 10 minutes of questions and answers, the briefers sat down and the panelist started their process of “brain writing”; a more formalized process than traditional brainstorming. During the brain writing process the panelists discussed ways the concept presented could be used in the civilian world outside of its original scope. There are three steps to the process. Finding a technical fit, analyzing value-in-use and determining what the market attractiveness is. This process is eye opening for the panelists and presenters. While the panel was brain writing Chen’s idea, she sat in the audience and took extensive notes. The discussion led to some ideas she had considered and some she hadn’t.
“The brain writing and mapping by the group reaffirmed some of the ideas of the possible application and also expanded functions to areas that hadn't been discussed previously,” Chen said.
NSWC PHD Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA) Manager, Alan Jaeger and his counterparts from NAVAIR and NAVFAC EXWC played a large role in coordinating the forum and were in attendance both days.
“One of the things we really want to figure out is how to gauge, is it (a patent) worth the money,” Jaeger said. “Every good idea doesn’t necessarily warrant getting a patent.”
Innovation discovery events seek to produce patent disclosures, improve patent applications and improve the success of technology transfer.