Respondents or Solution Providers to NineSigma’s projects are the key to our clients’ success.
Indeed NineSigma works with clients to identify and formalize their technology & science needs. NineSigma provides the infrastructure and mechanisms to respond, and respondents, our Solution Provider Network, deliver the world-class, industry-changing ideas, technologies and approaches that meet, and often exceed, the demanding technological criteria of our clients.
On the one hand, clients want to find and connect with the most promising solutions and partners, and on the other, Solution Providers have an opportunity to respond to real, tangible projects with their ideas and technologies.
In this section we want to highlight what we mean by our Solution Provider network and how Solution Providers can interact with NineSigma.
Who is a Solution Provider?
How does NineSigma find Solution Providers?
Where can Solution Providers submit their ideas and technology solutions?
How can Solution Providers respond to a project?
What are the best practices to respond?
FAQs for Solution Providers
Perhaps the single best word to describe our Solution Provider Network is diversity:
- Location: in almost twenty years of operations, we’ve received submissions from nearly every country on the planet
- Organization: more than half work in industry, about a third are academics and the balance work for government, non-profits or are independent inventors
- Education: more than 80% of respondents have at least a Masters’ degree
- Specialization: we have respondents from a wide assortment of specialties and domains, including chemical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science, computer science and medicine, AI, digital, energy, industry 4.0, physics, sustainability and many more
- Age: while many of our respondents could be considered mid-career professionals, we also receive sizable numbers of responses from those starting out in their careers and those with decades of experience
In short, our network is as broad as possible, meaning that if you have a technology that could interest a NineSigma client, we’d love to hear from you.
For each new project that NineSigma administers, we conduct a two-pronged search to identify those individuals and organizations that may have the interest and ability to address the topic.
First, we look internally. With the experience of thousands of previous projects underpinning our efforts, we examine who has responded to similar or related projects in the past.
Second, we look externally. Utilizing teams of scientifically-minded and technologically savvy researchers, we scour the internet to find those experts that have not yet responded to a NineSigma project.
List compiled, NineSigma notifies each potential respondent via email, alerting them to the opportunity and providing important project information, including a link to the project page and the submission deadline.
While NineSigma actively searches for new solution providers, we also enthusiastically welcome new respondents who join our community unconnected to a specific project or outreach.
Regardless of how you join our community of engaged problem solvers, NineSigma and, by extension our clients, welcome you and thank you for your contributions!
NineSights is NineSigma’s digital innovation platform and acts as the repository for all our projects. While on NineSights, you can register to become a solution provider, search for projects to respond to, check on the status of a previous submission and more.
In general, NineSigma projects are open to all respondents, over the age of 18, regardless of where they’re located. There are, at times, projects that do have specific geographic limitations. Should a project have such a limitation, it will be clearly indicated on the project page.
You can view projects on NineSights that range from relatively brief Technology Searches to longer term Grand Challenges. If the project is open to submissions and you have a technology or approach that could interest our client, then we would welcome a submission from you.
The project page on NineSights is your primary source of project information such as:
- A description of the client and the nature of the problem to be solved
- Desired performance of a solution
- Approaches of interest
- Submission deadline
Registering with NineSights also grants you a Control Center on the site: it’s your personal warehouse of drafts and responses for those projects that caught your attention. You can always access your Control Center when you’ve logged into NineSights – it’s located in the top row of menu options. From your Control Center, you can see what responses you’re still working on, which you’ve submitted and any feedback from either NineSigma or our clients.
Additionally, you can also reach out the NineSigma Provider Help Desk (i.e. PHD) to ask questions about a project, your submission(s) and more. Regardless of the location of the client or the NineSigma office that is supporting that project, the Provider Help Desk is your first stop for all inquiries – staffers can answer your process-related question or can refer your technical questions to the appropriate program manager.
Depending of the origin of the projects, please contact on the following PHD:
|Americas and Europe Projects
|Asia Pacific Projects
|+81 3 3219 2001 (Tokyo)
To respond to a project, you’ll first need an account with NineSights – just click on ‘Register’ in the upper right corner of the NineSights page to begin the process, which is free and easy to complete. We strongly recommend that all new and returning solution providers take a few moments to complete or update their profile information – NineSigma uses your profile information to let you know about new projects or when we need to contact you about a submission.
Once your registration is complete, you are ready to respond to any open project that interests you. Each project that is open to submissions will have a ‘Respond’ button on the project page – click on it to gain access to the online response form.
When preparing to respond to a project, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- All information presented must be non-confidential in nature: tell our client what your technology can do, not how your technology does it.
- Your response should present compelling information about the performance that your technology can achieve, especially relative to the goals listed on the project page: keep your response focused on what the client is seeking.
- NineSights will automatically save your response as you create it. Saved drafts are accessible via your Control Center, so you can start and stop working on a draft as needed
In addition to the online response form, you’ll also have the opportunity to append supporting documentation to your response as well. Product or company brochures, diagrams, CV, white papers: these all make great inclusions to your response and help complete the client’s assessment of your expertise and capabilities.
Use the Key Success Criteria as your guide:
- Can you exceed any specification? If you’re currently working to develop the technology further in order to meet a specification, let our client know that. If you have a specification that you feel is a better/more relevant/more appropriate metric, let our client know that. If you have a mechanism for overcoming an apparent performance gap, let our client know that.
Tailor your response to the project at hand:
- Your technology may be adaptable for multiple uses, but your response should focus on the goal(s) of the current project. Discussion of unrelated abilities do not serve to convince the current client of your ability to meet their needs.
Use charts & diagrams:
- If you’ve got charts and diagrams of the performance of your technology, consider including them in your response – a picture is worth a thousand words!
Keep your formatting simple:
- It can be difficult to read and assess a response that uses odd text formatting or color choices – keep it simple. Plain black text. Limited use of bold text. If your response is difficult to read, you’ve artificially reduced the chances that your technology will be selected by the client.
Be expansive and concise:
- It’s a bit of a contradiction, but your response should be descriptive and compelling while simultaneously being concise. Keep the initial response to just a few pages in length. Present a high-level summary of the performance of your technology. Should the client be interested in more information, you can provide it later.
Have a plan:
- While it is impossible for a respondent to know all of the project details prior to submitting a response, you should still have a rough plan in mind for how you’ll work with the client. Present information about your expected development or implementation timeline and pathway: What testing remains to be done? How long will the implementation take to complete? Demonstrate to the client that you’ve given thought to how the next stages of the project might proceed.
You may want to have a look at our “NineSigma Guide to Writing Compelling Non-Confidential Proposals“. Feel free to download it.
Can I get an NDA/CDA before I respond / I can only describe my technology using confidential information – can I respond?
- All information presented in a response must be non-confidential. Should our client be interested in learning more about your technology, NineSigma will make the initial introductions. At that point, confidentiality agreements can be put in place. Think of your response as your introduction to the client: tell the client enough to attract their attention and save the confidential information for when you have it.
Why is the client anonymous for this project / Can you tell me the identity of this client?
- Some clients chose to remain anonymous for their Technology Searches either because they would like to avoid informing their competition or because they are not ready to inform the general public. For anonymous projects, NineSigma is unable to disclose the identity of the client. Once the client has selected respondents for further discussion, those selected will be informed of the identity of the client.
How long does the review process take / What are the next steps after submission?
- The review process time can vary: some clients can complete their initial assessments in just a few weeks while others can take a few months. At any point in the review process, feel free to contact the Provider Help Desk to inquire about the status of your response. NineSigma will let you know when your proposal has been delivered to the client for review and will also inform you of the client’s decisions regarding that proposal. If your response is selected by the client, you’ll receive an email introducing you to the client team. At that stage, you and the client will be able to directly discuss the project and important details: IP, compensation, duration, and more.
Can I see a submission from another project to help me create my own?
- A submission to a NineSigma project can only be viewed by the individual or organization that submitted it, NineSigma staff, and the client that receives it. While we cannot provide an actual submission as a reference, please take advantage of this short guide to response preparation that might be helpful.
What should I put for a budget?
- Questions about budget are quite commonplace. Some responses will provide an exact figure whereas others will indicate that the budget is “to be determined” – both are equally acceptable. If you are able to provide information related to the costs associated with your technology, please include that in your response. If not, consider explaining what information is needed from the client in order to calculate it.
I don’t respond to projects like this – just have your client call me.
- We get that you’re busy and can’t respond to all project requests. Which is why we ask for responses to be a brief, high level summary of the proposed technology – this serves to inform the client of your expertise and ability to address the project without requiring a huge time investment on your part. It also serves to let the client know that you are interested in the project. Delivering a response that shares information about your proficiencies is much more compelling than suggesting a client contact someone.
Why is your client using NineSigma instead of doing it themselves?
- Organizations and companies big and small have areas of expertise. One of NineSigma’s is our ability to find respondents with exciting technologies and connect them with our global clients. Those clients choose to work with NineSigma for a myriad of reasons: our network of knowledgeable solution providers, our ability to create interesting project pages and our experience with administering projects of all sizes. In nearly twenty years of operations, NineSigma has developed and refined the innovation infrastructure that enables our clients to engage with respondents from all specialties and all corners of the globe.