Productable’s journey with the U.S. Air Force started over a year ago, and since then, I’ve been working hard with Air Force innovators to help them rapidly develop their concepts…all in the name of accelerating change.
Together, we’ve conducted over 150 hands-on workshops and have advanced more than 100 innovations. Being the innovation scientists that we are, we gathered data during this period and have put it to good use in our own patent-pending software.
Earlier this month, we released key Innovation Acceleration findings from this collaboration. The data point I’m most proud of -- we were able to advance project teams 4x faster when compared to their previous process using Productable’s patent-pending methodology.
And we think we can do even better.
That’s why we’ve launched the Holodeck Accelerator, a 3-month pilot program designed for Air Force innovators who want to rapidly accelerate their concept. During the accelerator program, Air Force innovators will work directly with our innovation process experts to learn how to validate, develop and scale their concepts.
The program is uniquely designed to address the common barriers of innovation success that Productable identified during the initial collaboration.
Here’s a look at how we’re fixing some of the systemic barriers we uncovered:
1) Barrier: Inconsistent communication and feedback structure between innovation leaders and innovators.
Solution: Establishing a repeatable process and cadence. During our initial collaboration, we identified a scalable approach to assessing and supporting innovation. We scheduled regular review sessions to discuss, evaluate and make critical project decisions. This level of consistency is crucial for accelerating innovation.
2) Barrier: Lack of clarity on progress measurement, resulting in delayed decision-making.
Solution: Introducing digitized scores. Productable’s platform uses analytics-based scoring to help both innovators and decision-makers better understand how projects are progressing through the Air Force system. Having these scores readily available gives leaders quick insights into what needs to happen to move a project forward.
3) Barrier: Lack of alignment on what success looks like. Leaders didn’t know how to make fact-based decisions, and innovators didn’t know what to work toward.
Solution: Creating decision support guidelines. We worked with leadership to create well-defined decision criteria for every project phase. This enables decision-makers to properly evaluate concepts based on transparent guidelines, and it allows innovators to build toward those desired outcomes.
4) Barrier: Inconsistent reporting structure, resulting in incomplete or insufficient updates provided to leadership.
Solution: Introducing wins, barriers & asks. Productable provides an easy-to-use progress reporter that allows innovators to communicate their project updates and requests to leadership on a regular basis.
Addressing these challenges is just the start. We’re in the business of innovation, which means we’re in the business of iteration. In our continued work with the Air Force, we’ll continue to uncover new barriers; we’ll continue to refine our solutions to address their unique needs; and we’ll continue to accelerate innovation through a systematic and repeatable approach.
Another hurdle that we’re addressing with support from the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff is the need to incentivize innovation. Right now, there is very little professional motivation for Airmen to participate in innovation efforts, and we want to change that. As a first step, Airmen who participate in the Holodeck Accelerator will receive a Certificate of Innovation signed by General David Allvin.
Here’s what Gen. Allvin said about it in a recent press release:
“The Air Force is working hard to develop our innovators. The Holodeck Accelerator is one way we are testing new and compelling options that provide Airmen with education, support and expertise. Earning the Certificate of Innovation is a testament to an individual’s commitment to self-development and taking on the innovator role outside of their day-to-day job."
To apply for the next Holodeck Accelerator cohort, please go to: https://www.beproductable.com/holodeck-accelerator#Register-for-the-event.
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