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Government Fatigue in Silicon Valley

November 21, 2018 / Dcode

A number of agencies have satellite offices in Silicon Valley to be closer to innovation and to change the perception around doing business with the government.

Emerging tech companies are still wary and slow to warm up to the idea of pursuing government contracts. The misunderstanding between the two markets is perpetuated by differences in sales, marketing, and delivery processes that spiral into stereotypes.

As government tech scouts continue to connect with tech companies in the private sector, it’s important they demonstrate how far the federal government has come in their ability to move faster and essentially keep pace.

To avoid scaring off tech companies that are interested in the federal market, make the following clear:

  • Whether you are researching or buying

It’s vital to make it clear to tech companies whether you are conducting research and looking for more information or whether you have decision making power and are looking to buy. Technologies aren’t necessarily chomping at the bit to work with government, and a few bad experiences where demos turn into dead ends can make tech companies government-shy. Be open and clear with your communication. Don’t drag out no’s when you realize a solution isn’t the right fit, and provide constructive feedback for the future.

  • What your specific challenges and problems are

Be upfront about your problem areas and challenges. What seems clear to you and your team may not be as easily understandable to a tech startup.

Plus, outlining your challenges can help tech companies map their solution to your use case, and help both sides figure out if it can solve the problems you have.

  • What your plan of action is

Plan for follow-up after the meeting and stay in communication after the initial meeting. The tech companies move quickly, and consistent communication will help keep both parties on the same page. In addition, have a contracting plan in mind, so you can act fast and help dispel concerns that the federal market moves at a snail’s pace.

Communication is key to dispel the notion that tech companies should be wary of working with the government. Be forthcoming with information, clear about your goals, and intentional with follow-up and a plan of action, and you’ll show the tech community how serious you are about bringing innovation into the government.

Learn more about the training Dcode offers for federal agencies that covers how to engage with emerging technologies here