Communication, transparency among steps toward NGA’s revolutionized business practices

Photo caption: Polly Shaffer spoke april 17 at gEOINT 2013* Symposium.

By Regina Galvin, Office of Corporate Communications

As an information-packed week ended at the USGIF Symposium in Tampa April 17, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s advocate for industry innovation highlighted the agency’s plan to change the way it works with industry.

 “By taking the energy of uncertain times, combining it with clarity of vision and purpose, together we will produce another great era of American invention, ingenuity and teamwork,” said Polly Shaffer at the Tampa Convention Center.

NGA is operating under five principles to accelerate its strategy, said Shaffer. The principles are: strengthening private sector partnerships; changing the relationship with industry; driving industry’s investments in the development of innovative, operational GEOINT capabilities; maximizing transparency and expanding the agency’s contractor base; and disaggregating its supply side.

In a pre-symposium interview, Shaffer discussed NGA’s plan to implement the transformation of its business practices, including a focus on what the agency calls the “seven C’s,” which are communicating, connecting, clearing, compensating, contracting, collaborating and co-creating.

“We need to communicate NGA’s vision, needs, challenges and opportunities,” said Shaffer. “To increase transparency, we need to expose more about NGA to prospective partners in an unclassified environment.”

Connecting with prospective partners will help the agency learn their capabilities, interest areas and ideas, said Shaffer.

The clearance process is another area that needs to be streamlined to make cleared people available on-demand, said Shaffer. The agency must also look beyond the traditional ways of contracting services for innovative ways to compensate partners for their services.

“We’re talking about pay-per-use and pay-per-impact on mission,” said Shaffer. “Additionally, we’re considering non-monetary compensation.”

The new compensation model will seek to implement agile ways to contract with partners, so that getting a contract could be a simple as clicking a link.

“We will develop and implement processes and high-performance technical solutions that allow globally distributed virtual teams to be formed on-demand, based on topics, people’s registered skills and security classifications,” said Shaffer.

“Finally, NGA with its customers and partners will co-create capabilities, content, products and services in an online common environment that builds on our collaboration efforts,” said Shaffer.

The target for implementing these changes is 2017, she said.

“The era of the [request for proposal] and traditional acquisition is waning,” said Shaffer. “We have to craft a new national defense economic model based on a disaggregated supply side.”

Public release #14-308