ODNI’s new innovation division wants to be a ‘super-connector’

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The Office of the Director of National Intelligence wants to maximize the innovations that are happening within the intelligence community, through a new division that it unveiled Wednesday.

The Lateral Innovation (LI) division will serve as a “super-connector” for innovators across government and lead weeklong design sprints to make people’s ideas “a little more real, and quickly,” according to a blog post on the ODNI website.

“Basically, if you have an email address that ends in ic.gov,” the atypically chatty post says, “we care about you!”

The division will build on the work being done by the Intelligence, Science, and Technology Partnership (In-STeP), which arranges one-on-one meetings between companies pitching science and technology projects and intelligence agencies. ODNI issued a request for information in May looking to expand the scope of those meetings to include artificial intelligence, workforce and acquisition agility, data management and infrastructure modernization, public-private partnerships, and cybersecurity posture.

Similarly, LI will arrange technical discussions between companies and any of the 17 intelligence community agencies. Companies, in turn, will learn about everything from basic research to upcoming solicitations across the Technology Readiness Level spectrum.

LI has already helped one ODNI team better manage its records through a design sprint, according to the announcement.

“We are a small team. So it can be hard to accomplish all we’d like to, short of working weekends or cloning ourselves,” reads the release. “But every week, we meet others in the IC who share our goals and we have been able to leverage the work of other offices.”

The division is also part of the Virtual Student Federal Service internship program allowing students to work remotely from their universities.

Potential industry partners can contact LI via email.

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Innovation, intelligence community (IC), Lateral Innovation, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), sprints