Lessons Learned at NASA – Patience and Persistence
Over three years ago my company MMC undertook a pilot with NASA to see the effectiveness of using rich media to market technologies. The timing could not have been worse. As the media was being readied for release the financial crisis of 2008 hit. I remember looking at a first cut of one video on a new fiber optic sensor and the same evening American Express called to ask if I could pay my card bill early because they needed the money.
All the videos were all finished in October 2008. Here’s one video you can view. The pilot was rolled out into a world where there was a significant possibility the whole business and financial system would collapse. Needless to say while everyone liked it, we had no bites. This was followed by a stimulus that included no extra government staffing but a 20% increase in the staff workloads. Just to add to the chaos NASA decided to restructure their Technology Transfer operation. It was a process that took over a year. In this time the Partnership Intermediate, Fuentek and the NASA technology transfer office kept chipping away. I could see from the web metrics, that all the big Aerospace companies, like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, the European and Japanese Space agencies, as well as countless companies from the US and Overseas checked out our technologies and came back repeatedly.
So it was with a sense of satisfaction, that I read on my Google Alerts that three years after releasing the marketing materials the Fiber Optics Technology had been licensed to a company in Austin, Texas.
Innovation generally takes time, and above all patience and persistence. It comes down to belief that what an inventor or a technologist has created is worth all the calls, presentations and meetings. Innovation is not a lottery, very rarely is it possible to make a quick buck. Mostly, success is hard earned.
So Kudos to all, and maybe sometime in the future when a designer or engineer shows me a cool fiber optics stress measuring device initially designed by NASA, I will say, yes I know all about it, and in the back of my mind I will be thinking if only you knew how much time, effort and belief went into getting it that sensor into your hands.
Peter Doyle is an award winning media marketing, news and documentary producer using rich media to accelerate innovation and commercialization. Check me out at https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterjdoyle