TechNexus
Loading

How Enterprises and Entrepreneurs Can Help #InnovateDHS

Blog — July 28, 2017

From first responder technology to cybersecurity, technology is advancing faster than the average company can keep up. Layer in the government procurement process and compliance constraints and it can make for a long and arduous innovation process. That’s why Department of Homeland Security CTO Mike Hermus and Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa and their teams are attacking the challenge head on.

Their approach? Work directly with industry (the government term for enterprise businesses), entrepreneurs, venture capital firms, accelerators and incubators, and universities. This is the same venture collaborative approach that TechNexus takes when we look to solve specific industry challenges. By bringing different perspectives to the table, we’re a force multiplier and translator for each entity trying to solve similar challenges. It creates alignment among programs and ecosystems to solve problems like cybersecurity threats faster, invest in smart emerging technology sooner and get ahead of the rapid evolution of technology.

What does this look like for DHS? The EMERGE accelerator program is a great example of innovation with a government agency. Together with TechNexus and the Center for Innovative Technology, the program will be in its third year this fall. Connecting startups with DHS and with the first responder community, these ventures were able to receive direct feedback on their products and solutions, discuss contracts, and pilot programs together.

In addition to EMERGE, road shows with industry-leaders across the country and hundreds of annual innovation roundtables, are steps toward embracing a culture of innovation. They allow government officials like Mike Hermus and Soraya Correa to glean insights directly from private organizations. Some of the key takeaways from this week’s innovation roundtable, hosted by TechNexus are:

Ask the Right Questions

Chasing solutions to an abstract problem is a fool’s errand, particularly for startups with lean resources and budgets. By collaborating from the beginning to discuss the problem to be solved, agencies like DHS can guide the research, define clear parameters and outline goals, so that private companies and startups can strategically approach these innovation opportunities more effectively. For instance, rather than digging into all city data to solve long commute times in urban areas, it might make sense to only review traffic and mass transit data to identify bottlenecks and other flow issues that can be solved.

Productize Technology and Services

Cities like Chicago are fortunate to have the data analytics to optimize its services such as healthcare, city parks, roads and transportation, etc. These insights give the city the opportunity to create efficiencies and decrease costs for the government. It’s often made up of several complex systems of data that are combined to create the larger picture of how the city works.

But that capability often doesn’t make it past large urban areas into the more rural parts of the state and country, where cost savings can be vital. By working with startups to productize many of the data solutions that larger cities have, these can be shared and customized to solve unique challenges of rural communities.

Take a New Approach

As with any individual or company that has been doing the same work for an extended period of time, it can be tough to take a fresh approach to a problem. DHS works with leading universities to foster innovation because students are uninhibited by previous knowledge and can think outside of the box. Whether it’s with students or another diverse group of people, bringing new points of view to the table to challenge traditional thinking allows for new ideas to take hold.

This is how innovation happens. Through asking specific questions, making technology more accessible, and by thinking more creatively, The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology is making progress toward driving innovation. Today, they have 3,000 new contracts per year, they’re increasingly working with emerging technology ventures, and they’re collaborating with a variety or organizations. For more information on EMERGE, please visit emerge.technexus.com.

Blog

What StitchFix’s IPO Can Teach Corporate America

One topic that gets discussed a lot here at TechNexus is how we should help the corporate partners that we invest alongside think about making the transition from transactional business models where you sell, say a treadmill, to longer term subscription or subscription-esque services where you're still providing that treadmill but also providing value added services on top of that, that improve over time by including customer data and feedback.
Read more

Blog

Introducing Apartment One: The Office for Straight-from-University Entrepreneurs

Venture enabled innovation is a driving force of growth for enterprises and entrepreneurs. In addition to our work bridging the gap between these two groups from a strategy, investment, incubation and acceleration perspective, we also created a micro-community called Apartment One within the TechNexus Collaboration Center. The transition from university campus to city life can be tough. Add in the fact that these recent-graduates are also embarking on what is likely their first entrepreneurial endeavor, and it can seem nearly impossible.
Read more

Related content

Blog

What StitchFix’s IPO Can Teach Corporate America

One topic that gets discussed a lot here at TechNexus is how we should help the corporate partners that we invest alongside think about making the transition from transactional business models where you sell, say a treadmill, to longer term subscription or subscription-esque services where you're still providing that treadmill but also providing value added services on top of that, that improve over time by including customer data and feedback.
Read more

Blog

Introducing Apartment One: The Office for Straight-from-University Entrepreneurs

Venture enabled innovation is a driving force of growth for enterprises and entrepreneurs. In addition to our work bridging the gap between these two groups from a strategy, investment, incubation and acceleration perspective, we also created a micro-community called Apartment One within the TechNexus Collaboration Center. The transition from university campus to city life can be tough. Add in the fact that these recent-graduates are also embarking on what is likely their first entrepreneurial endeavor, and it can seem nearly impossible.
Read more

Blog

Cities Leveraging Analytics Platforms to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Corporations are not alone when it comes to gathering and interpreting data, and taking action based on the insights gleaned from the data. Increasingly, cities are pursuing and implementing tools to collect, make sense of, and act based on population and infrastructure-oriented data to improve urban efficiency and safety—to make cities work better for all of its constituents. The concept of “smart cities” has increased in popularity as a result, acting more as a catch-all for the kinds of innovations that ultimately ladder-up to these macro urban efficiency and safety goals.
Read more

Ready to Join?

Contact Us