The objective of the Kaufman Innovation Network "Market's Lab" workshop is to spur market driven innovation in the NSF's Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer ("SBIR/STTR") program in two industry segments: financial services and healthcare services (insurance). The workshop is to be held in Omaha, Nebraska; there is a significant business community around financial services and health insurance which is motivated to spur innovation in their industries. There are two key components of the workshop. The first is having the larger corporations articulate three key "pain points", for the purpose of providing visibility to NSF SBIR/STTR grantees about what sorts of innovation they would be interested in. The second is introducing these companies to NSF SBIR/STTR grantees with technologies that have the potential to match up with pain points.
The broader impact of the proposed activity is to spur market driven innovation within the NSF's SBIR/STTR program. The NSF SBIR/STTR program makes over $100mm/yr in grants annually to small to mid-stage technology companies, with the goal that these companies will eventually make a significant contribution to the American economy. An impediment to some grantee's ability to make such a contribution is a lack of visibility into what market there is for their technology. The proposed workshop proposes to provide this sort of visibility by having larger companies with a demand for innovation discuss what sorts of technologies they are interested in. This improves the chances of "market-driven" innovation occurring within the NSF SBIR/STTR program. Focusing the workshop on a very particular industry - financial services and health insurance - further improves these chances.