To meet the demands of today’s global environment, the US Air Force must be agile, well organized and forward thinking. This requires the ability to innovate everything from the smallest and simplest equipment to the largest and most complex systems. Innovation demands a fresh mindset to drive innovation throughout the organization and for this, the Air Force turns to AFWERX.
AFWERX employs proven methodologies in design thinking and lean startup methodologies to lead warfighters from concept to deployment of their ideas. It all begins with “discovery,” or a study of the problem, intended to understand and gain empathy for how stakeholders are affected. It includes taking pictures and measurements, conducting interviews, collecting material samples, etc.
With information collected during discovery, a problem definition workshop is held. This is an essential part of the process to determine the true cause of the problem. Albert Einstein was quoted as saying: “if he only had one hour to solve a problem he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and the remaining 5 minutes solving it.” Often, the problem is quite different than originally perceived.
Only once the problem has been clearly identified can the possible solutions be explored and developed, tested and deployed. This can be accomplished through a sprint (a concentrated process taking days) or a full challenge where the problem is presented to the world and solutions sought. In either case, AFWERX taps into its vast networks in the private sector, academia and other non-traditional sources to produce creative solutions.
Daryl GibsonSenior Innovation Integrator
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How to Get Involved
Contact your nearest AFWERX hub for information about how to participate in a design thining workshop.