AFWERX partners with Spigit to fuel US Air Force innovation
San Francisco, CA – November 9, 2018 – Spigit, the world’s leading provider of innovation management software, today announced that AFWERX is using its platform to revolutionize the way it innovates and identifies new solutions to top organizational challenges, by engaging industry experts, academics, start-ups, and the general public at scale.
A collaboration between the USAF and non-military contractors, and directly envisioned by Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, AFWERX was created with the objective of overcoming some of the toughest obstacles facing the US Air Force (USAF). One of the key capabilities of AFWERX is AFWERX Vegas, a non-government entity opened by Vice President Mike Pence in January 2018 to bring together a coalition of entrepreneurs, industry, academia, investors, individual innovators, and Air Force problem solvers to find innovative new ideas and rapidly bring them into use across the Air Force, and enhance a culture of innovation.
The partnership with Spigit enables AFWERX Vegas to address these challenges, which include identifying how to expedite the USAF acquisition and contracting process, through surfacing innovative solutions from a diverse population of people around the world, whilst at the same time taking more of a “lean startup” approach to problem-solving.
As the first step in its partnership with Spigit, AFWERX has launched four innovation campaigns, or “challenges”, on the platform, inviting participants to share ideas that could address specific challenges that the Air Force is facing:
- New Helmet System Open Challenge: The USAF has allocated up to $20 million to redesign and replace the Fixed Wing (plane) helmet used by pilots and aircrew. The goal is to create the helmet of the future that is lightweight, comfortable, and stable, with improved noise protection, better thermal management, and the ability to tailor the helmet for different needs. This challenge aims to find people with the ideas, components, materials, and technologies to improve the Fixed Wing Aircrew Helmet, enhancing aircrew performance, safety and satisfaction.
- Revolutionizing Pilot Training Open Challenge: The US is currently facing a shortage of new pilots, and the USAF is continually striving to make improvements to its pilot training and onboarding program to make this process as quick and efficient as possible. This challenge brings together different collaborators to uncover new ideas and improvements to the “Pilot Training Next” program.
- Mixed Reality Platform Challenge: MOTAR, or Maintenance Operations and Training Augmented Reality, is a new idea that could revolutionize aircraft maintenance using augmented reality to reduce human error and increase training speed. The ultimate goal of this process will be to award contracts to deploy the new AR/VR Maintenance, Operations, and Training AR/VR solutions that will be used by all airmen.
- Advanced Microelectronics Design & Prototype Challenge: Part of a $2 billion government initiative and in partnership with the Air Force Research Labs, this challenge seeks solutions to rapidly improve both the capability and assurance of advanced microelectronics in autonomous vehicles (drones or other vehicles relevant for both commercial and military applications).
As a government-funded organization, it’s essential that AFWERX Vegas is able to innovate in a transparent and efficient way that produces demonstrable results. By leveraging the Spigit platform, AFWERX not only benefits from the ability to source potential solutions from a large, diverse crowd of people with different backgrounds and experiences, but also from Spigit’s industry-leading automation technology and crowd science algorithms that identify and surface the best ideas for development with minimal manual input. Additionally, AFWERX will be able to track and manage winning ideas from initial ideation through to prototyping and implementation and measure and demonstrate impact.
“The US Air Force has traditionally generated ideas through lengthy, long-established RFP processes,” said Mark Rowland, Innovation Actualizer at AFWERX Vegas. “But the world is changing rapidly with the introduction of new technologies, new threats, and new opportunities, and the organization is under pressure to deliver innovative solutions more quickly. By using Spigit’s platform we have the potential to significantly reduce the time and cost it takes to develop and implement new solutions to many of our long-standing challenges.”
“We’ve got to innovate to maintain America’s security,” explained General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. “We’ve created the AFWERX Challenge to accelerate inventive solutions from individuals, startups, small businesses, large enterprises, academia and research labs in the most collaborative way and get them to America’s Airmen at the speed of relevance.”
“Whether a government organization, financial services, manufacturing or CPG, all companies have their own unique business challenges and regulations,” said Scott Raskin, President and CEO of Spigit. “Many of the world’s most successful companies are taking a progressive approach to sourcing innovative ideas by encouraging participation from a large and diverse group of people across a wide variety of specialties and locations, which has been proven to lead to better outcomes. It’s great to see the AFWERX and the USAF now leveraging this approach, too. We’re incredibly proud to play our part in propelling the Air Force further – and look forward to seeing the ideas that will result from these challenges.”
To learn more about Spigit, please visit Spigit.com.
About Spigit Inc.
Spigit is the leader in crowdsourced innovation management software, with more than 6 million users in 500 companies across 170 countries. Our innovation management platform enables organizations to crowdsource breakthrough ideas from employees, partners, and customers. From idea to impact, Spigit enables sustained innovation by driving employee engagement, creating a culture of innovation and providing analytics-driven insights. Spigit has powered innovation programs across all major industries including financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, consumer products, and energy. The world’s most influential enterprises and largest consulting firms have made Spigit a core part of delivering business value to shareholders and customers. To learn more and experience Spigit, visit Spigit.com.
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AFWERX is a product of the Air Force, directly envisioned by Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. Her vision of AFWERX is to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject matter experts. The world is changing quickly — new technologies, new threats and new opportunities. AFWERX taps into the power of creativity and empowers intentional innovation that unleashes emergent approaches for the warfighter through a community of entrepreneurs, industry, academia, investors and other non-traditional contributors. AFWERX has the ability to bring together our nation’s best and brightest to collaborate, innovate, fabricate, and present accelerated results to the United States Air Force to better serve our #1 customer: the warfighter and operators in the Air Force so they can keep us safe.
About AFWERX Vegas
Opened by Vice President Mike Pence in January 2018, the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub is one of the key capabilities of AFWERX. Its primary role is to support an innovation ecosystem, bringing together a coalition of entrepreneurs, industry, academia, investors, individual innovators, and Air Force problem solvers to find innovative new ideas and rapidly bring them into use across the Air Force and enhance a culture of innovation.