The U.S. national defense establishment invests approximately $70 billion dollars annually for weapon system research and development. Most of this investment is to advance technology along predictable trajectories; however, the advantage realized comes at increasing cost. Disruptive innovation theory indicates that focusing on the architecture of technology solutions can open development pathways that offer significant military advantage. This study explores the relationship between an organization's technology development approach (TDA) and its success in winning SBIR Phase 1 competitions. The research posits a difference in SBIR Phase 1 success between companies using sustaining and disruptive TDA. Companies responding to DARPA SBIR Phase 1 solicitations are surveyed to determine their approach to developing technology solutions. A newly developed instrument is used to identify disruptive and sustaining TDA. Demographic data, SBIR success, and data on TDA are collected. Principal axis factoring was used to identify four orthogonal factors related to TDA. The factors were interpreted and a new objective scale was developed to measure sustaining TDA. Correlation and regression analyses indicated TDA is a contributing factor in SBIR Phase 1 success. Focus on the defense market and company inventiveness as measured by patent activity are also predictors. The findings indicate TDA mediates a company's focus and success at winning SBIR Phase 1 contracts. Implications for defense acquisition and disruptive innovation are discussed. A new conceptual framework linking focus, capability, inventiveness, and TDA with SBIR Phase 1 success is proposed for further research.
|Subjects||Business administration; Design; Management; Demography|
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