StarNet works with alliance groups large and small.
These examples portray the range of services and solutions developed by StarNet for industry consortia, Federal laboratories and universities.
Need: The American small aircraft industry, known as “general aviation” sought a new technology initiative from the US government aeronautics research groups (NASA, FAA and DOD-AirForce) to increase technology transfer to their industry. NASA was charged with leading the development and transfer of advanced technology to improve small aircraft (general aviation) capabilities six areas: flight controls, propulsion sensors & controls, integrated design & manufacturing, icing protection systems, flight training.
Solution: NASA engaged StarNet personnel at their previous organization (AmTech) to design, launch and support the administration of a public/private R&D alliance covering the entire American small aircraft industry. The industry leaders, Raytheon/Beech, Textron/Cessna and their major suppliers retained StarNet to organize their separate industry consortium to partner with NASA. StarNet personnel used a “limited partnership” model to design a cost-sharing alliance that included just under one hundred (100) organizations over an eight year period that collectively invested $198 million in R&D
Results: The alliance generated twenty-two major advances in technology breakthrough across the six areas, of which fourteen were certified for commercial use. The alliance also generated three new small aircraft vehicle architectures, some of which are used today in advanced business and small commuter aircraft.
CMU-Robotics Engineering Consortia (REC)
Need: The CMU-Robotics Engineering Consortia manages multiple robotics partnerships and industry funded projects. One project encompassed five equipment companies and Federal government agencies seeking to develop sensors for robotic arm movements. The business agreement between the commercial, academic and government organizations generated a dispute that was referred to StarNet for independent facilitation.
Solution: StarNet personnel analyzed the alliance legal agreement(s), group processes and technology transfer mechanisms. StarNet found the basis of the dispute in language of the legal agreement that had different operational and organizational meanings in the three respective groups: academic, government and industry. Rather than facilitate a series of meetings, StarNet personnel revised the language of the legal agreement between the parties and provided an operations guide to explain the implementation given the distinct accounting requirements and cultures of each group.
Results: The language revisions were accepted and implemented within one week of their recommendation, and the project returned to its development timeline.
U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative
Need: A business plan was needed to organize a collaboration of wind energy companies, state energy authorities and non-profit groups into a common science and technology evaluation alliance for the purpose of promoting off-shore wind turbine energy solutions. The groups had meet and agreed upon a Framework in 2005 that identified challenges and a Path Forward in 2009 that identified actions to achieve the Collaborative goals.
Solution: StarNet personnel were subcontracted to design a business plan to transition the collaborative into operations. StarNet designed a master non-profit organization that could accept membership from government, industry, academia and public advocacy groups. StarNet used a “small organization” membership model to maximize participation that would permit compilation of information to advance permitting.
Results: StarNet’s basic business plan was adopted and the Offshore Wind Collaborative non-profit was launched in 2010.
Adaptive Planning and Execution (APEX) Dept of Defense
Need: The US Department of Defense needed to shorten the time period to create operational plans, primarily for transportation of personnel and supplies on a global basis. The traditional DOD planning processes required up to two years for initial plans and six months for revisions. The plans incorporated assumptions or cause-and-affect scenario rules that required constant adjustment. The DOD leadership decided to adopt scenario-based, adaptive planning concepts supported by advanced information systems that would constantly update planning implementation models. The research and development of the information system was assigned to an experimentation lab for prototype development. However, the laboratory managers found that the rate of change in the underlying technologies was so rapid and the problem solution so complex that they needed additional conceptual and technology sources for development and testing. The DOD project managers turned to commercial firms operating on a global scale for possible solutions. Those firms, however, used different technologies, test models and supplies for their solutions. The DOD program managers had identified nine (9) small-scale, commercial vendors of new technology, but did not have an organizational or business method to engage the vendors in developing prototypes.
Solution: StarNet personnel organized a small scale, public/private partnership between the DOD and two US, global corporations that faced the same planning problem. StarNet then negotiated with an independent, professional planning association to sponsor the partnerships shared planning and technology evaluation.
Results: The partnership was accepted by the Department of Defense and funded to proceed with implementation. The funding, however, was not disbursed to launch the project. The funding was under the operational control of the DOD’s prime contractor for the Department’s existing planning and implementation information systems. The prime contractor cited the difficulty of implementing the disbursement instructions as the reason for not launching the project.