WKI’s online tools provide us with a sustainable and scalable system to reach across Europe and support innovators submitting proposals to us for co-funding consideration. The system guides our clients to develop quality proposals and provides a platform for our staff to have high value discussions about the commercial value of projects."
— Michèle Le Saux
Head of Commercial Ground Segment Section
TEC-ETG, European Space Agency
What do thermal sensors, cube-sats, and fiber optic gyroscopes all have in common? Apart from being based on complex science, they all share one important characteristic: these ideas (and others like them) are eligible to receive co-funding support for research and development from the European Space Agency’s GSTP programmes. Serving an audience ranging from small startups to large multi-nationals across Europe, the GSTP programme supports market-ready ideas and research projects that have the potential to become commercial products. As is often the case, many of the project proposals ESA receives are often steeped in technical details but lacked key commercial elements. ESA was looking for a way to help proposal submitters to expand the commercial aspects of their proposals and in the process, enhance the quality of proposals submitted for co-funding consideration.
Leveraging the online edition of So what? who cares? why you?, the methodology is woven into the ESA GSTP process for outline proposals via a custom online toolkit. This ESA-branded interface incorporates WKI tutorials, tools, and takeaways, and offers applicants a self-directed system to discover, define, and describe the commercial value of a new research concept, service application, or science/technology product.
Now in use for several years, the online outline proposal toolkit has dramatically improved the quality of submitted proposals. It has cut down the time it takes for companies to get a successful outline proposal decision from several months to several weeks. Equally important, proposal reviewers now have a consistent method for assessing proposals and sharing the results of that assessment.
WKI – Design Thinking for Business Builders