By Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Space Wing hosted the inaugural Innovative Warfighters Advancing Readiness panel in Building 210 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Nov. 13.
A four-person panel chaired by Col. Jennifer Grant, 50th Space Wing commander, fielded innovative ideas from six Airmen on topics that ranged from solar panel covered parking to bolstering suicide prevention efforts on base.
The wing initiated the panel, based on Air Force Space Command’s “Shark Tank” program and the Air Force’s “Spark Tank” competition, to get after Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s initiative to encourage innovation throughout the force.
Innovators each had five minutes to present their problem statement and solutions to the panel, panel members then asked questions to further understand the proposals.
Having previously reviewed proposal packages from the presenters, Grant said she thought all were interesting and had merit.
“This was excellent,” she said. “I want to compliment everyone for having given their problems such careful consideration. Now, it’s a matter of finding which ones we can practically apply and viably support.”
Shana Allen, 50th Force Support Squadron management analyst, facilitated the panel and said she was impressed with the presentations.
“I think it went really well,” she said. “Everyone was well-prepared and I could tell the messages were well-received. Harnessing young Airmen’s creative and innovative ideas has always been critical to making improvements, not just here at Schriever, but Air Force-wide. We’ve got brilliant minds all over this base and we have to provide an opportunity for them to share their ideas.”
Derek Hamby, 50th Space Wing Manpower and Organization chief, presented his idea to bolster suicide prevention efforts at Schriever AFB.
“I’ll tell you one thing, those five minutes go way faster live than when you practice,” Hamby said with a laugh. “The panel members were very responsive. It’s awesome to have such direct access to the commander. This kind of opportunity really hasn’t existed before.”
As with all the other presenters, the panel members had several compliments and questions for Hamby to better understand the issue.
“You could tell they were listening and genuinely considering what I had to say,” Hamby added. “Ultimately, I think that’s what will make this program so successful, the senior leader buy-in.”
After listening to the presenters, Grant had some closing comments.
“Everyone did quite well,” she said. “If your idea doesn’t get initially approved, don’t be discouraged. It may just mean we need some more data, or perhaps the scope needs to be narrowed.”
The panel recessed at the end to consider the proposals more in depth.
“What happens now is the panel will make a decision on which ones might be able to be acted on immediately, which ideas require more data, and those which might not be approved,” Allen said.
Overall, Grant said she was pleased with the proposals put forward.
“Ultimately, these ideas help us figure out across the board how we make ourselves a better, lethal, innovative force,” she said.
Allen said the wing plans to hold two iWAR panels per year, one in May and one in November. The results of this panel will be made public by Nov. 16, 2018.
For more information on the program or to submit an idea for the panel’s consideration, contact Allen at 719-567-2780.