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NineSights 3.0 FAQs

What is NineSigma and what do you do?

NineSigma is a leading provider of innovation solutions and strategy to organizations in the private, public, and social sectors. Companies such as Nike, GSK, PepsiCo, Suntory & Yanfeng use NineSigma's Open Innovation services to solve immediate challenges, fill product pipelines, integrate new knowledge into their organizations, close development gaps, and improve financial performance.

With our Request process, we connect global organizations who have technology needs with anyone we identify as a potential Solution Provider. Essentially, NineSigma is a technology matchmaker between our clients and other companies, universities, and individual inventors. These initial connections or introductions are made using only non-confidential information, and there is no cost to potential Solution Providers to join our network and participate in the Request process. If our client and a Solution Provider agree that their needs and capabilities are a good fit, the client and Solution Provider directly negotiate all aspects of any business agreement.

The connections that are being formed between Solution Seekers (our clients) and Solution Providers are creating real value for both parties in the form of contracts, supply agreements, joint development agreements, co-development or licensing arrangements, research contracts and consulting agreements. To date, NineSigma has facilitated more than $10 million in open innovation contracts between our clients and Solution Providers.

You can learn more about the benefits of participation in the Open Innovation process on our website: https://www.ninesigma.com/success-stories

 

What is NineSights?

NineSights is a secure, online platform that connects innovators of all sizes with resources and relationships needed to drive business value. Developed and powered by NineSigma's global innovation experts, NineSights provides Solution Seekers and Solution Providers with the unprecedented opportunity for partnership.

As the leader in facilitating open innovation connections, the NineSigma team recognized the difficulties faced by small Solution Providers looking to market their innovations to global Solution Seekers.

We encourage you to join NineSights today as a Solution Provider in order to:

  • Create a profile that includes your interests and expertise
  • Receive recommendations for new RFPs and other opportunities based on your profile
  • View and respond to NineSigma RFPs and other opportunities

 

Am I eligible to respond?

In general, NineSigma and its clients are open to solutions from all individuals and organizations, though some projects and challenges may have specific limitations.

Collaboration: Joint submissions and interdisciplinary proposal teams are commonly seen as a response to NineSigma requests. Please submit one proposal detailing what each party intends to do. Your proposal should contain a brief description of the expertise of the principal members of your group.

Geographic Limitations: Our clients are specifically seeking new contacts outside of their established network, and we welcome proposals from around the globe. In fact, NineSigma has received proposals from over 120 countries.

Submitting a response via NineSights indicates that you are not a citizen of a country under trade restrictions with the European Union (EU), Japan, or the United States of America (USA) and that you are legally permitted to conduct business with corporations in those same areas.

 

How did you find me?

We have a team of researchers who identified your interests as related to the topic areas within a specific project. Your email was found in the literature, digital or otherwise, by our research team. In some cases, you were recommended to our research team by our client, a colleague, or a friend.  We generate a custom search for every project, and we are intentionally inclusive in constructing the solution space.

We may, on occasion, contact people whose connection is too remote. All email sources are human screened for appropriateness, but like any human system we have errors from time to time. If your expertise and capabilities were not a match for this request, we may have other clients interested in your technology, and we will keep you in mind for other offerings.

 

What is the difference between a Gallery Need and a Request for Proposal (RFP)?

Both Needs and RFPs represent real and reputable partnership opportunities and have financial incentives attached.

Needs are often broader topics that are ongoing for the Solution Seeker. Many of NineSigma's corporate clients sponsor Galleries to showcase their Needs. Needs are typically not sensitive in nature or representative of a strategic innovation initiative for the company, and the Solution Seeker also may distribute these needs to the public through platforms such as corporate website portals and trade shows.

On the other hand, RFPs may represent more specific and highly sensitive needs where the Solution Seeker enlists the help of NineSigma to articulate the problem statement, find possible Solution Providers, and facilitate the evaluation process. In an RFP from NineSigma, the Solution Seeker also has the option to remain anonymous.

 

What sort of information should I include in my response?

Your response should be short and address the questions posed in the online form accessible using the “Respond” button on the project page. Supporting documentation can be attached to your response. The purpose is to interest our client in further discussions that will ultimately determine whether a relationship proceeds. Most importantly, the submission may not contain any proprietary or confidential information.

Your response should emphasize what you can do, while leaving out details that would enable someone to replicate your invention without compensating you for it. A submission should contain a brief description of who you are, what you can do, and why your technology or solution meets our client’s needs. You should focus on what your technology has to offer and what differentiates it from others in the field. Your submission also should include what you would need in order to continue the discussion or reveal the details of your solution. For example, requirements may include knowing the identity of the client or signing a confidentiality agreement.

Generally, but not always, responses that best conform to the specifications are greeted most favorably. In most cases, our client is not looking to fund long-term basic research projects, as is most often the goal when writing a grant proposal. Instead, the client usually is looking for technologies that are at or very close to the proof-of-concept phase. In addition, the client's decision is based on more than just the validity of the technology presented. The client also evaluates the commercial viability of the solution and the ability to work together with a respondent.

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like assistance in using our platform to submit your response, please contact our Provider Help Desk at phd@ninesigma.com

 

Can I include confidential information in my proposal?

Your submission should not contain any confidential information that could allow someone to reproduce your technology without compensating you for it. Your response should focus on the capabilities of your proposed solution and the theory behind them, as opposed to the technical method used to achieve these results. All responses are screened by NineSights moderators, and those containing confidential information will not be conveyed to the solution seeker.

 

How long does it take to review a submission?

The review process may require up to 2 months or more after the Request deadline date - depending on the client and proposed timeline for the specific project. If our client expresses interest in your proposal, NineSigma will make the initial introductions. Our client may request additional written clarification, a teleconference, or possibly a sample or prototype to better understand the opportunity for collaboration. You will negotiate terms of your agreement directly with our client regarding confidentiality and scope of work.

If our client provides information about why proposals are not selected, we will share that with you.

 

If I respond to a project, how do I protect my intellectual property (IP)?

Your response should include only non-confidential information, enough to garner our client's interest, but not enough for someone to replicate your technology based on your description.  If our client decides to proceed with you, you can negotiate further terms regarding intellectual property rights directly with the client.

 

What are the password requirements for NineSights?

You will be prompted to change your password after your initial log in. Your password must contain:

  • at least eight characters
  • at least one letter
  • at least one number

 

Passwords must not contain any white spaces, your first or last name, your user name, days of the week, months, or the word ‘password’

 

 I’ve got a great marketing idea for your client – can I submit it?

We are focused exclusively on the technology projects that our clients bring to us. As a result, we are unable to act upon your inquiry. Additionally, we are unable to provide a client contact name or email address.

 

I’ve got a great technology, but I need someone to fund the development – can NineSigma help?

NineSigma does not distribute unsolicited proposals or requests for funding to our clients. However, we encourage you to use NineSights to market your capabilities by responding to our active projects.

NineSights is an enhanced online community managed by NineSigma that connects innovators of all sizes with the resources and relationships needed to drive business value.

 

I’m an academic researcher and I’d like to study NineSigma’s practices – can I do that?

We are currently working with a group of academic researchers who evaluate our systems and methodologies.

As a result, we cannot, unfortunately, accommodate your request at this time. Nevertheless, we wish you the best of luck as you continue your Open Innovation research.

 

I have questions about a project. How do I get additional information?

The project document contains the full description and criteria, and our process allows you to attract our client's interest with a brief non-confidential response (about 2-3 pages) that may lead to further discussion and the opportunity to negotiate a business relationship.

If you have specific questions that are not addressed on the project page, please send your questions to our Provider Help Desk (phd@ninesigma.com) and we’ll attempt to obtain the information you are seeking.

 

I know someone who might be interested in a project – can I share the project page with them?

Absolutely! Thank you for your response and for forwarding our request to your colleague.