Although DOD’s huge $950M cloud award to REAN was substantially reduced last week, it’s clear that federal agencies – especially DOD, DHS, and GSA – are looking for new, innovative businesses to participate in the federal market.  If your customers have innovation labs and new buying methods, your company should probably follow suit.  Some traditional contractors, in fact, have already started reaching out for new talent in order to have an edge when competing for business that calls for cutting edge solutions.  While your company may be plenty innovative itself, courting new partners is an outward and visible sign to a federal customer that your company isn’t standing still.  Indeed, highlighting your company’s own “innovation incubators” can be a good marketing tool that can catch a potential customer’s attention.  Traditional contractors need to think broadly about the process of working with new partners as well.  Informal mentor-protégé style relationships offer the ability to establish relationships more quickly and provide less need for process and overhead.  They also offer the opportunity to work with more companies at one time.  While most federal business will continue to follow established acquisition patterns, having new and innovative partners means that your company will be able to pursue a fuller range of opportunities.