Design Principles


StarNet's  Paul Masson describes several key elements of Innovation Alliance design.

Rather than assume that they are separate segments of society and they hand off to one other, we eliminate the handoff process. We organize to operate under a single vision, a single mission, to achieve certain objectives, and then to shut down and go back to their home organizations.
— Paul Masson, Managing Director, StarNet LLC

Innovation is the objective, and alliances are the vehicle.

Under this approach, StarNet organizes and manages innovation alliances under two sets of design principles.

Innovation Principles

  • Innovation Continuum- Technology based innovation requires connecting research from the basic stage through development, testing and market acceptance.
  • Innovation Ecosystem- Every organization operates in an “innovation ecosystem” composed of academic research (theory), applied technology development, suppliers, financiers, regulators and operators.
  • Innovation Financing- The majority of innovation is now generated by small and medium sized commercial organizations, therefore some up-front financing participation is necessary in each alliance.
  • Innovation Uptake- Innovation must always be user or “needs driven”, a reversal of our centuries long practice of generating knowledge on a “technology push” premise.

Alliance Principles

  • Organize Alliances to the Need- Don’t Copy an “Example”- Each alliance must be organized according to a set of carefully defined needs, not a fixed legal agreement or organizational template.
  • Cost and Return Sharing- Each alliance must have clear cost and risk sharing structures.
  • Educate, Disseminate, Codify and Trust- Each alliance is like a diplomatic arrangement, not an acquisition, joint venture or license agreement. Therefore, each alliance must include education about the alliance principles and communication processes to build trust.
  • Settle Disputes with Communication, Leave the Law Last- Disputes are always settled by communication and facilitation. Resorting to legal agreement or “threats” is a waste of time and money.