What criteria do you use to collect project data?

We include an Organization, Group, Activity, Artifact, or Individual in our Data based on two main criteria:

  • Is it focused on innovation in national security?

  • Does it help us understand innovation in national security?

To give you an even better sense of this (since we expect a lot of people will have many different views on the subject), we go into more detail below.


Our entire project is build on some very widely-debated terms, so let's give you a sense of how we define them first:


Our simplified version of this term is "Something new that adds value for someone" (see Wikipedia or ISO 56000:2020) - this requires three elements: novelty, value, and a user.

Two out of three doesn't cut it, but we certainly recognize that much of what people call Innovation is really just Technology (which is Novelty and potential Value that may be awaiting a User) or perhaps the key feature is context, which might be the trigger for meeting the Novelty criterion (such as an existing approach reintroduced in new circumstances).

When in doubt, we want to be generous about applying this term, since those three core variables are constantly changing; something that was Innovation one day might not be Innovation the next day and our Goals do not include "being the arbiter of dictionary entries." πŸ˜‰

National Security

This term is even more contested than Innovation, so we punted and defined it by a structural feature that everyone can agree on: the National Security Council.

Although that entity changes periodically, its members comprise what the government considers to be the core of a national security apparatus. Thus, we consider it to be the foundation for our definition, which looks the most like what ThoughtCo says: "the ability of a country’s government to protect its citizens, economy, and other institutions."

If you want to dip your toe into the political side of this term (careful!), check out different perspectives from The Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Aspen Institute, and The Heritage Foundation. Or go straight to the National Security Act of 1947 and see where it all started (maybe top-up that coffee first, though). β˜•

Adding Data

Given that background, here is how we actually apply the Definitions to the Data:

Innovation Entities

To break this angle down further, we again ask a couple of questions:

  1. If someone came to us asking about national security innovation, would we direct them towards that Entity?

  2. Would that Entity want individuals asking them about national security innovation?

If both answers are "yes", we consider that entity a part of the national security innovation ecosystem, and we will include it in our dataset with an Innovation as one of the Tags (which makes it easy to sort out those Entitiesfrom among the many others that exist as infrastructure or for context).

Infrastructure Entities

We know that there is much more to understanding this ecosystem (one of our Goals) than just seeing Entities that are explicitly tied to Innovation, which is why we also have many whose main inclusion is to show Connections across the government bureaucracy or other such factors that shape how Innovation actually occurs in National Security.

Such an Entity will not have Innovation listed in the Tags, but we might include an Entity that does not pass our Innovation Entities test under this reasoning.

This also allows us to deal with the crush of people who are very interested in having their Entity on the Graph and do not care about the project Goals because we can just filter them out using different Views.

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