Why isn’t there an In-Q-Tel (IQT) for the Department of Defense? For those of you who don’t know, IQT is a non-profit venture fund that is underwritten in part by the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). The idea is to seed promising technologies that have application to needs in the IC as well as commercial market potential.
The biggest innovation to come out of IQT doesn’t have anything to do with technology – it’s the business model itself. The idea of the super secretive IC outsourcing technology discovery and incubation to the quasi private sector is as revolutionary as it is obvious. IQT harnesses capitalism to harvest the best technology innovations for the IC. Brilliant!
Why then isn’t there an analog of IQT in the DoD? Rather than entrusting private enterprise to drive the innovation engine, DoD has rather clumsily attempted to insert itself in the venture ecosystem through initiatives like DeVenCi, which seek to align DoD and commercial market needs without making any real investments.
DoD should take a page from the IC playbook and leave the venture game to private enterprise. Everyone will come out ahead.