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How To Engage Nontraditional Tech

February 26, 2021 / Dcode

It’s hard to get emerging tech to engage with government solicitations. Solicitations posted on traditional channels often receive the same responses time and time again. When your agency is looking for something different, those responses are likely underwhelming and disheartening. How can you forge ahead?

Once you’ve scoped your organization’s problem sets and tech needs, here are some ways to tech scout like an investor, market like an accelerator, and engage with the right tech that can improve mission outcomes.

Get on the same page

The best tech company to work with is the one that has a product that solves your problems and is well-equipped to work with the federal market. Even though some companies have dedicated federal teams or strong industry relationships, that doesn’t mean they are fluent in federal. You could be missing out on some great tech solutions if your solicitations are hard to digest and react to.

In addition to the full solicitation, promote the action items in bite-size pieces. As deadlines close in, publicize them widely to build a sense of urgency. Tech companies need to understand where their solutions fit and how to take the next steps; otherwise they’ll move on to the next opportunity.

For lengthy procurements, keep lines of communication open and provide avenues for interested companies to stay in touch. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is a fantastic example of this. They’ve stood up a community platform for their Workforce 3.0 initiative and have 400+ people engaging with the solicitation.

Tech scout like an investor

In Dcode Accelerate, our program for emerging tech companies scaling in the federal market, we teach that building relationships is vital to federal market success. The same is true for government agencies looking to work with tech, too.

Build relationships in the venture community and with nontraditional partners. These relationships will open doors to networks that can be helpful when it comes to tech scouting.

Reputable VCs can provide your agency with access to emerging tech areas. Smaller partner organizations are more agile and likely have portfolios with tech solutions that align to your use cases.

Don’t discount larger govcon systems integrators, though. Traditional federally-focused partners and primes can still help to bring in nontraditional tech as subcontractors through their massive networks.

All these relationships can open the doors to a community of tech companies that can solve your mission challenges, and through tech scouting and direct outreach, engage companies to encourage their participation.

Market like an Accelerator

Now that you’ve tailored your messaging and scouted awesome solutions, it’s time to get your solicitation in front of the audience you want to reach.

To do that, market like an accelerator. To get in touch with companies, go to where they are. Social media can offer direct access to the tech companies you want to reach. To stay up on trends, hit virtual events with the audiences you are looking for, read what they’re reading, and listen to the podcasts they’re listening to and producing. Find ways to get your opportunity in front of the audience where they are already spending their time.

To engage nontraditional tech, you don’t have to start from scratch. Look at investors and how they research, accelerators and how they market, and apply those strategies to your solicitations. Open communication, solid relationships, and outside-the-box thinking will take your agency’s innovation initiatives to the next level.

To learn more about reaching nontraditional tech, get in touch with Dcode’s GovHub