JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center is taking on the challenge of integrating innovation efforts across the Air Force through the use of its own innovation to centralize great ideas into a single application accessible by all.
The innovation, being fielded by AFIMSC Ventures, the center’s innovation office, is called the Digital Innovation Dashboard, or DID.
It’s a web-based software application that will bring people and resources together so that, collectively, the Air Force can effectively tackle today’s installation and mission support challenges. It’s supported by $750,000 in seed money from several major commands.
“After diving deep into the new and fluid Air Force innovation ecosystem, we saw a need for an application like the innovation dashboard,” said Patricia Marshall, who came up with the concept when working for the innovation office. Marshall, now the chief of strategy for AFIMSC, envisioned how a tool like the dashboard could synchronize innovation efforts across the Air Force and drive efficiencies by bringing people with similar projects together.
“With so many amazing innovators working on similar ideas, what better way to move forward than to collaborate and pursue broader applications, capture where projects thrive and struggle, and learn how to overcome these challenges with support and visibility from across the enterprise?” she said.
The dashboard provides a virtual connection for multiple entities within the Air Force innovation community.
“It delivers a web-based capability that will enable innovators, at all levels, to access a ‘one-stop’ tool and a collaboration space so they can manage the Air Force’s innovation ideas from inception and adoption to development and acquisition,” said Emily Miller, the AFIMSC innovation program analyst. Her job is to steer the requirements and administrative details required to ensure the program’s success. “In general terms, my job is to pursue and capture the needs of stakeholders at all levels across the Air Force.”
To meet these demands, the DID will deliver data analytics support, activity maps and training playbooks to innovators and program managers throughout the service.
As a key stakeholder, the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Management is working with the innovation office to capture the needs of the Air Force at a strategic level and will participate throughout the development of the dashboard along with other stakeholders, Miller said.
Developmental work is expected to begin this month and the DID is projected to launch within a year.
“Our team brings some amazing expertise in the areas of project management and acquisition,” Miller said. “We are pushing ahead through challenging timelines to bring the DID to fruition as soon as possible. When complete, the dashboard will bring the right balance of digital data so Airmen innovators and senior leadership alike can readily access those silos of innovative excellence.”