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Idea Machines

Feb 26, 2020

In this episode I talk to Anna Goldstein about how the ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) model works and what makes it unique. We focus on ARPA-E: the department of Energy’s version of DARPA that funds breakthrough energy research.

Anna is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of the paper “Funding Breakthrough Research” that systematically breaks down how the ARPA model works based on research at ARPA-E. Anna is full of insights about the ARPA model and innovation systems in general.

Key Takeaways

  1. Different innovation systems depend on empowering individuals and taking risks but shift around who is empowered and when the risk is taken on.
  2. It’s almost impossible to tell how well an early-stage high-risk system is doing.

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