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Archa3opt3ryx

Need your input on Innovation in the AF essay

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Hey folks, I'm currently taking a class titled "The Straegic Management of Technology and Innovation," and for my final paper I'm writing about technology and innovation (or lack thereof) in the AF. People throw those words around a lot (like this and this), but how much red tape do you have to slash through to really get a good new idea implemented? I'm sure for every positive story about the IDEA program, there's a hundred good ideas that got shot down for no good reason. At the same time, the AF has historically pioneered a lot of new techniques and technologies that have really changed the way we fight: smart weapons, stealth, and GPS come to mind. And there's ideas like Boyd's OODA loop that have had wide impacts far outside of the military.

So, having not been on AD yet, I'm asking for your stories, either personal or historical, that I can use in my paper. Thanks a ton in advance!

From what I've experienced in ROTC and read on the boards here, it seems like good ideas generated at a high level get backed and implemented (GPS), but it's hard for good ideas to trickle up from below (Boyd). Would you say that's accurate? Why/why not?

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The IDEA program is good for small stuff, but it doesn't have much of an effect on airplanes, our bread and butter, or other devices. Devices attached to planes have a rigorous process which includes testing, writing operations manuals, troubleshooting, and incorporation into AFIs. None of these options are cheap.

My experience is that, if it is serious enough, they can move mountains, but if it "merely" costs money and cost savings are relatively minimal, it won't be implemented.

Additionally, a lot of the improvements are in the classified realm and the IDEA program doesn't accommodate those.

I personally believe that too much effort is being put into the "latest and greatest" systems at the expense of some cheaper systems that would work just as well in most situations.

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Do a little research on an organization called Air Force TENCAP. They specialize in rapid, innovative technology for the warfighter.

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You may want to look into the "not invented here" phenomenon. This has been and will be an issue in getting innovative designs to the field. It happens between services, as well as between office within the services. There may not be a lot of info on examples within the service, but it is well documented in the private sector and in the form of interservice rivalries as well.

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Thanks folks. I'm finding it difficult to find specific examples...lots of broad generalizations, but nothing specific. I'm thinking there might be some AFIT (or similar) theses that might be appropriate for me to cite in an academic paper. I found one already just through google (Understanding the Emergence of Disruptive Innovation in AF S&T Organizations, by David E. Shahady)...what's the best place to find similar papers?

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I don't know if an essay is the best medium for "innovation in the USAF." A tweet would probably be more appropriate.

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I don't know if an essay is the best medium for "innovation in the USAF." A tweet would probably be more appropriate.

Isn't innovation in the AF an oxymoron? Oh, back when I was waiting to go on AD...remember to discuss the politicization of innovation.

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From a Finance perspective and I'm sure some may agree - LeaveWeb; some may not agree, but you will find no disagreements from FM people who used to manually enter every data point from the AF FM 988 into the pay system. A tedious process task.

RE: http://www.securedatainc.com/SL-Products.aspx

http://ww2.dcmilitary.com/dcmilitary_archives/stories/120800/3614-1.shtml

http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/afi36-3003.pdf

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From a Finance perspective and I'm sure some may agree - LeaveWeb; some may not agree, but you will find no disagreements from FM people who used to manually enter every data point from the AF FM 988 into the pay system. A tedious process task.

I'll second that, it is one of the few programs that is only as complex as it needs to be... yeah there is stuff I would fix, but not for the sake of fixing things (which is the problem with most AF created software) and 90% of the time it works 100%.

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The Air Force is undoubably funding, somewhere in the back rooms at DARPA and by their best secret squirrel inventors, the most reflective belt to ever be seen on Earth.

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The Air Force is undoubably funding, somewhere in the back rooms at DARPA and by their best secret squirrel inventors, the most reflective belt to ever be seen on Earth from space.

FIFY

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Thanks folks. Got it written and actually did pretty well. The research was kinda cool, mostly referenced some AFIT and similar papers. Pretty interesting to see Lt Colonels ripping on big blue's bureaucracy.

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