Government, Research, Strategy


Can Open Innovation principles and in-house strategy departments shift the US Maritime Administration from admin to innovator?

For nearly 70 years the Maritime Administrator of the United States (MARAD) has been an organization that manages a diverse and ever-changing array of initiatives and responsibilities. These include he upkeep of secondary war fleets, enforcing invasive species regulation, and monitoring nearly anything that has passed its expiration date in the maritime sphere. At times, acting as the graveyard for Naval resources has caused serious environmental issues and accusations of mismanagement from other organizations that were initially responsible in the first place and that passed their problems along to MARAD. At other times, MARAD has proved itself to be incredibly resilient and innovative, for example donating technology to organizations and governments in need of guidance and providing job saving grants to naval yards in economic downturns. Yet, MARAD’s work sites are scattered across the United States and its operations are incredibly diversified and often disconnected. Abandoned projects, handed off to MARAD have the potential to either become incredibly fruitful or recklessly detrimental because of the disjointed nature of the organization and its stultified bureaucratic management.

Abstract protocols for a big picture shift

Open MARAD is a design model that proposes open collaboration principles to rethink Maritime Administrator of the United States (MARAD) as an innovation architect rather than a graveyard for depleted resources. MARAD controls initiatives that can be recognized as hubs for innovation, although they currently only fulfill limited innovation criteria. By leveraging a new organizational design and approach to the work the agency is assigned and rethinking several of its pre-existing practices paired with new, distributed network for management, Open MARAD would enable the Maritime Administration to build new methods for fulfilling its mandate while simultaneously exploring its potential for innovation and monetizing its work.