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Analysis of Innovation Communities of Interest for Technology Transfer and Development

The so-called “Navy Innovation Network” consists of formal and informal collaborations that include the Athena Project, Task Force Innovation (TFI), the Naval Innovation Advisory Council (NIAC), Navy Warfare Centers and Labs as well as several social media groupings and innovation fora (both physical and virtual) that attract hundreds, if not thousands, of bright, motivated sailors and Navy civilians with creative ideas to share. But how do we connect these dedicated professionals to other intrapreneurs (those given freedom to innovate within an established entrepreneurial organization), entrepreneurs, and communities of interest in order to adopt their innovations through established programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research program that encourage public private partners for research and development of technologies of specific interest to the Navy? The focus on this research will be on communities of interest within and outside the Navy pursuing technologies related to additive manufacturing.

Researchers will code and develop social network analysis matrices of US Navy personnel and small business professionals (nodes) who are currently linked together through various formal and informal blogs, social media fora, information exchanges, technical fora, and command-sponsored innovation initiatives aimed at improving Navy additive manufacturing capabilities. Through the use of commercially available social network analysis software, the matrices (of members, events, technologies, organizations, etc.) will be used to develop graphical two and three dimensional topologic/sociogram depictions of the additive manufacturing innovation community of interest network that connects these nodes through strong and weak ties. These matrices will be dynamically updated by open source databases with information related to events being scheduled, funded programs, fora available, and progress being made in the area of additive manufacturing. Metrics of centrality, density, cohesiveness/structural holes, and clustering can then be longitudinally measured to determine how best to increase the network's effectiveness and integration with ongoing commercial research in order to more efficiently capitalize on new ideas and technologies to improve additive manufacturing capabilities for the Navy.
NPS Naval Research Program
NPS Naval Research Program