5 Principles of Other Transactions

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In this podcast episode Strategic Institute discusses the five principles of Other Transactions (OTs) authorities for federal R&D.

5 Principles of Other Transactions (OTs)
1.  OTs = Flexibility
2.  If it’s R&D, use an OT
3.  OTs are FAR out
4.  OTs want you to Think
5.  Team for Success

After 30 years in use, government and industry insiders struggle to conceptually understand what Other Transactions authorities are for, why they are different, and what they permit.  This is, in part, due to a dearth of “real world” business experience within the government and a relentless push by bureaucrats for compliance and control; this crowds-out creativity, business acumen, and actually accomplishing goals.   The status quo, the current mindset, culture, and skillsets within the federal government are frequently incompatible with the flexibility OTs offer.   OTs allow for (radically) different business approaches and arrangements focused on achieving mission goals.   Leadership, the job title, not the action which is rare, appear confounded as they too are bureaucrats and industry insiders lacking the experience for transformation.  Too many don’t know what they don’t know.  Hence, they are unable to provide vision or meaningful support.  Instead, leadership appears frustrated and angry by the limited improvement when using innovative acquisition authorities.  Has it never occurred to them, that just simply introducing innovative contracting authorities into the same business-as-usual work environment with the same incentives and metrics will produce predictably lackluster results?

If DoD and the federal government are serious about improving federal R&D activities for the warfighter and more broadly, they will need to experiment with different business processes.  Learning by doing and experimenting is necessary –  skills can be developed, information shared, and knowledge gained.