Video Case Studies

This series of case studies developed under DON contract N00178-08-D-5396-EE01 contract is intended to promote discussion about successful business growth using the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These videos – all less than 15 minutes in length – are designed to facilitate discussion and generate ideas about how to transition technologies to Phase III and increase the rate of insertion of innovative technologies into the fleet.

This series highlights three different companies: (1) Out of the Fog Research founded in 2004 by Stuart Berkowitz, a Ph.D. physicist; (2) Arkansas Power Electronics International started in 1999 by a college professor; and (3) Physical Optics Corporation founded in 1985 by a husband and wife team – both Ph.D. scientists. We will look at each company; explore their past as well as their current structure; examine how they prepared to bring product to market; and finally review the lessons learned. To facilitate a case study approach a short list of discussion questions accompanies each video.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR "Out of the Fog"
  1. When deciding which SBIR/STTR topics you will bid on – do you bid on anything that fits your company capabilities or do you focus on enhancing a technology platform?
  2. What process can you use to maintain a focus on transitioning technologies for which you have received SBIR/STTR funding?
  3. Do you have a technology platform that you are developing and how are you funding its growth?
  4. How do you currently benchmark indirect rates?
  5. How do you enhance your relationship with your TPOCs and other key players? Who has that responsibility? Could you be doing something more in this arena? What could you do?
  6. Are you aware of other funding sources that could potentially fund future development of your technology?
  7. What do you do within your firm to assure that you deliver on time and on budget?
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Developed under DON contract N00178-08-D-5396-EE01


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR
"Arkansas Power Electronics International"
  1. How did the vision for the company change over time and why?
  2. What did APEI decide to build a manufacturing facility?
  3. How did opening the manufacturing facility make them “better engineers”?
  4. How are the Business Units structured and how is business development integrated with technology development?
  5. What were the supply chain challenges
  6. What is the value of having an Employee Owned Company?
  7. What type of assistance did APEI secure from the State?
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Developed under DON contract N00178-08-D-5396-EE01


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR
"Physical Optics Corporation"
  1. Why did the structure of Physical Optics change over time?
  2. Why is it difficult to integrate business development personnel with engineers and scientists?
  3. What considerations were made in deciding to spin-off a company?
  4. When is a licensing strategy appropriate to consider?
  5. What strategy did POC’s management use to facilitate its growth?
  6. How is marketing to the Defense and commercial markets different?
  7. What role do the users play in technology development?
  8. What is management’s role in company growth?
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Developed under DON contract N00178-08-D-5396-EE01