National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Anup Engineer Research Project

Glenn Research Center Business Process Development

Research Assistant: Anup Engineer

Principal Investigator: R. Joseph Shaw

Background on Business Development at GRC

Catching new opportunities and envisioning how an organization could exploit them can not be reduced to a simple formula. Strategies for conducting business development operations are varied: from the highly complex and methodological to the eclectic and Zen-like.

The field encompasses many topics:

  1. Building relationships with partners.
  2. Understanding the needs of a market.
  3. Finding and exploring untapped or newly emerging markets.
  4. Preparing an organization to have a light-footed reaction to business opportunities.
  5. Searching for gaps in market and technical knowledge that intersect with the organizations capabilities.
  6. Developing business that is in sync with the long term goals of the organization.

When the GRC Business Development and Partnership Office (BDPO) was created in 2007, a workgroup was formed to design the processes that the office would use to capture new business. This inter-directorate team created a shared executive vision for business development which fostered a collaborative approach between GRC and external partners. To act on this vision, the team created several key metrics to measure progress and a central business development process to guide their efforts.

The current approach is based on a modified version of the Strategic Management Offices’ new business development process. The process uses a classic stage-gate and down-select framework. An opportunity is scrutinized and refined as it moves through the following sections of the framework.

  1. Determine area of strategic partnership.
  2. Opportunity identification.
  3. Analyze opportunity.
  4. Prepare bid.
  5. Performance.
  6. Review/recommend.

Over the past two years, the BDPO has matured and settled into the working environment at GRC. Dr. Joe Shaw, the chief of the office, has given me an assignment to re-evaluate the current metrics and processes and to develop a more disciplined framework to capture business opportunities.

Planned Contributions to Work

My task is to develop a process to be used by the Business Development & Partnership Office and partner organizations to identify new business opportunities which are aligned with GRC competencies, present a good business case, and therefore should be considered for active pursuit by GRC and its appropriate partners.

The objective of developing a new process is to provide a more disciplined approach to utilizing existing tools and techniques to proactively identify new business opportunities which are aligned with GRC priorities.

To complete this objective, I will:

  1. Develop a list of current tools and techniques used at GRC for identification and evaluation of potential reimbursable business pursuits.
  2. Conduct a limited benchmarking effort to identify best practices of selected external organizations including other NASA centers and private corporations.
  3. Develop a recommended set of practices to be used and the rationale for use of the set of practices.
  4. Develop a set of process charts to describe the flow of events that would result in a more disciplined process than is currently in place and a supporting presentation to be used to brief GRC and external partners.
  5. Provide appropriate training for GRC and external personnel.
  6. Provide initial leadership for implementation of the process.

This process package, including adequate support documentation, will be used to educate appropriate members of the GRC staff as well as external partners and leadership. Through this work, I hope to provide Glenn with a well-constructed way of obtaining new business, keeping employees of the center motivated with challenging problems, and keeping itself competitive with the market, and preparing itself for opportunities yet to come.

Anup and Dr. Kankam in the Visitor's Center at GRC.