Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Industrial research, Technology and state, Technology assessment -- North Carolina


The North Carolina Alliance for Competitive Technologies (NC ACTs) is an organization operated by the state of North Carolina to coordinate technology development and, deployment activities in the state. The mission of NC ACTs is to apply innovation, technology, and technical resources to promote economic growth in the state. NC ACTs will operate as a central, strategic organization to guide existing resources and to develop new resources when necessary.

To accomplish its mission, NC ACTs must coordinate institutions and organizations that currently offer technology development and deployment into a rational, customer-driven system that measures and rewards results. Timely, reliable assessment and evaluative feedback will be essential to managing these programs effectively. A well-designed system for performance assessment and evaluation can fill a number of management needs (Shapira, Youtie, and Roessner, 1994):

Monitoring the progress of NC ACTs and its components in accomplishing their missions; Measuring and improving customer satisfaction; Identifying the most promising strategies and understanding why they are effective; Rewarding and reinforcing positive results; Allocating resources to their most effective uses; and Demonstrating accountability and value to program sponsors.

The design of an evaluation plan is critical in public institutions. While sponsors of public programs demand measures of performance and effectiveness, typical market indicators of success (i.e., market share, profit, stock price) are not applicable. Therefore, the evaluation plan must use credible techniques, reliable data, and consistent methodologies without draining organizational resources. To meet these standards, an evaluation plan must be developed during the genesis of the organization. Early assessment allows program managers to adopt the evaluation system as part of the overall management strategy and provides data for program assessment at critical early stages of operation. For this reason, NC ACTs has designed an output-based performance measurement system as part of the NC ACTs operating plan for its first year.

The remainder of this paper discusses our plans for measuring the effectiveness of NC ACTs. Some features of the evaluation design are typical of the data collection efforts being conducted by many of the Manufacturing Technology Centers (MTC’s) and Manufacturing Outreach Centers (MOC’s). However, due to the unique design and mission of NC ACTs, we have deviated somewhat from the usual set of performance metrics for technology deployment organizations. This paper focuses on two of those features: measuring organizational influence and measuring technological influence. The second section contains a discussion of the overall design of the data collection, analysis, and reporting system being planned for NC ACTs. The third section focuses on how NC ACTs will measure its influence on the quality and direction of the technology services available in the state of North Carolina. The fourth section discusses a strategy for analyzing the influence of NC ACTs on the use of efficient core technologies emphasizing environmental technologies. The final section contains a summary.


This paper was prepared for presentation at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) workshop, entitled “Manufacturing Modernization: Evaluation Practices, Methods, and Results,” held September 18-20 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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