Reinvigorating Innovation: Lessons Learned from the Wright Brothers

11 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2016

See all articles by Steven L. Schooner

Steven L. Schooner

George Washington University - Law School

Nathaniel Castellano

Arnold & Porter; George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: April 2016

Abstract

The Department of Defense (DOD) increasingly recognizes that it must do more to spur innovation to maintain its technological superiority. This article suggests that DOD’s leadership make time for David McCullough’s recent biography, The Wright Brothers, as an aviation anecdote chock full of fundamental lessons that DOD must embrace to succeed.

Among other things, this article encourages DoD to consider - in light of the Wright Brothers' experiences and successes - experimenting with prizes and contests; looking outside the inner circle (including conventional contractors and sources of R&D) for new ideas; appreciating that bigger isn’t always better; recognizing that prototyping makes sense - DoD should embrace "fly before you buy"; embracing, understanding, and rewarding responsible risk-taking; and coming to grips with the reality that, today, innovation respects no geographical boundaries.

Keywords: innovation, wright brothers, prizes, contests, challenges, public procurement, defense acquisition, better buying power, research and development, fly before you buy, risk

JEL Classification: H56, H57, K23, L33, L93, L98, N41, N71, O31, O32, O38

Suggested Citation

Schooner, Steven L. and Castellano, Nathaniel, Reinvigorating Innovation: Lessons Learned from the Wright Brothers (April 2016). Contract Management, Volume 56, Page 46 (April 2016); GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2016-8; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2758727 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2758727

Steven L. Schooner (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-3037 (Phone)
202-994-5614 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.gwu.edu/steven-l-schooner

Nathaniel Castellano

Arnold & Porter ( email )

601 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
126
Abstract Views
671
rank
242,938
PlumX Metrics