What I’m reading: “The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies”

January 20, 2020.

DARPA — the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — is often held up as a model of a successful innovation agency. Its early research funding and support is credited with stimulating the development of many technologies that are widespread in civilian use, including the ARPANET computer networka forerunner of today’s Internet. The UK Government indicated towards the end of 2019 that it was considering a “DARPA-like funding agency” to boost breakthrough research.

There is a broad notion that DARPA operates differently from more conventional research funding agencies, but what are the specific ways in which it works? Indeed, why was DARPA created, what is its policy and programmatic history, and are there insights to be gleaned for innovation initiatives elsewhere?

I’m looking forward to reading a new edited collection has just crossed my desk that aims to answer such questions. Published in January 2020, “The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies: Perspectives on the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,” is edited by William (Bill) Bonvillian, Richard Van Atta, and Patrick Windham.

I’ll aim to update this post as I read through the book!