The National Science Foundation wanted to attract more diverse,
qualified applicants for their SBIR / STTR grants. I led the
Discovery research and uncovered inbound funnel problems that
consequently repelled qualified applicants. Moreover, potential
applicants had negative perceptions about SBIR / STTR grants.
The redesigned site repositioned the grant as “seed
funding” and boasts a clearer, founder-friendly value
In collaboration with the stakeholders, we conducted applicant
interviews (target and active) from which we were able to piece
together journey maps and a comprehensive service blueprint of the
end-to-end application journey. These artifacts allowed us to
identify expectational mismatches between the target audience and
the product offering and systemic problems within their processes.
The findings helped inform priorities, including delivery of a
more simplified, transparent timeline-based application process on
Shown below is a very early version of the service blueprint with
confidential information redacted.