- Have a clear philosophy, and repeat it regularly. Dugan explains the philosophy at DARPA as a mashup of basic science in service of a driving application. If she said that once in 45 minutes, she said it five times. If you have one without the other she believes you don't get the innovation. It can start from either the direction, however -- the science or the application. For instance, DARPA has developed a small drone that mimics the flight of a hummingbird. The driving application was a drone that can fly in any direction. The scientific genesis was the only bird that can hover and fly backwards.
- Hire smart people who are excited about the mission and like to build things. Dugan says that innovation only comes when you have smart, engaged people who like to build things. To get the engagement, you have to help people see why their efforts matter. You then turn them loose on building things and trying things out. That's why DARPA has invested in donating 3D printers to 1,000 public schools in the U.S. Making things, she said, is key to innovation.
- Design the organization for creativity. DARPA is a very lean organization. That enables them to move with speed and keep the decisions moving. As Dugan said, "Urgency inspires greater genius." Obviously, not everything turns out perfectly on the first try (see the Mach 20 glider mentioned above). Dugan, though, says she doesn't encourage failure, she discourages the fear of failure. Big difference there. It leads to smart people doing creative and valuable things.
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