Innovation People

How an Air Force Innovator Accelerated Prototyping and Leadership Buy-in with Productable

Learn how Mr. Matthew J. Correia demonstrated the viability of his solution and earned funding step by step.

Executive Summary

Between April 2022 and December 2023, Air Force innovator Mr. Matthew J. Correia leveraged Productable to accelerate DAGGER, a cutting-edge professional development program for Airmen and Guardians. Using Productable’s innovation platform, he demonstrated the viability of his solution step by step, helping him build the credibility he needed to earn $36K in prototype funding, avoid project cancellation, and secure an additional $170K to test DAGGER with 3,000 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and Officer Training students.


Mr. Matthew J. Correia is a Deputy Registrar for the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. A 25-year-retired Airman with an additional 15 years of Air Force civil service, he previously worked as the Chief of Research Integration for Air University. Throughout his career, Mr. Correia has drawn on his expertise in higher education, vocational training, and instructional design to test novel approaches to professional learning in the Air Force.

His most recent initiative, Developing Airmen and Guardians with Games for Enhanced Readiness (DAGGER), pairs commercial off-the-shelf video games with assessment tools to teach Airmen and Guardians a range of core competencies—including communication, decision-making, mission-focus, leadership, and teamwork.

Mr. Correia first launched DAGGER when he noticed that some of the most costly accidents across the Air Force stemmed from human error. Inspired by the Air Force Chief of Staff’s Action Order A, which focuses on the recruitment, training, and retention of Airmen, he proposed a competency-based education program to help Air Force personnel reduce the risk of preventable accidents. He submitted the idea to the 2022 Spark Tank competition, earned a finalist designation, and has since continued to refine the project with his team.


As Mr. Correia built DAGGER, he faced three key hurdles:

  1. Getting buy-in from risk-averse stakeholders
  2. Making the case for prototype and pilot funding
  3. Competing with other projects for resources

Solution and Impact

As a Spark Tank participant, Mr. Correia was able to join a pilot of the Productable software platform. Between April 2022 and December 2023, Mr. Correia used Productable’s innovation operations software to:

• Advance DAGGER through the innovation lifecycle step by step
• Capture evidence of DAGGER’s viability and differentiated value
• Create a chronological log of wins, barriers, insights, and project updates to inform briefs to decision makers

As a result, he was able to:

• Secure a $36K prototyping investment from SAF/MG
• Prevent project cancellation despite the existence of competing initiatives
• Earn an additional $170K from SAF/MG to trial test DAGGER with 3,000 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and Officer Training students

What’s Next?

Mr. Correia continues to innovate at the leading edge of Air Force professional development. On March 5, 2024, Mr. Correia and his team activated the DAGGER app and loaded 400 Air Force ROTC participants, as well as 150 Officer Training School cadets, into the system. The Air Force Officer Training School will be circulating 150 cadets into the DAGGER app every two weeks as they proceed through their curriculum. The goal is to test DAGGER with 3,000 users by August 2024.

Additionally, Mr. Correia’s DoD Workforce Competency Development and Skills Framework, a spinoff of DAGGER, earned a finalist spot in a DoD-wide “Talent Management from the Ground Up” innovation challenge, granting him the opportunity to present his idea to executive leaders from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Mr. Correia said, “We are confident DAGGER can deliver in developing Airmen and Guardians’ competencies to fight and win our future wars!”

Learn More

Mr. Correia’s DAGGER success is just one example of the many ways innovators can leverage Productable to develop solutions step by step, gain leadership buy-in, and accelerate the path to funding and support. To learn more, visit


The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense visual information does not imply or constitute DOD endorsement. The Department of Defense [nor a respective Military Service or any other DOD Component] does not approve, endorse, or authorize this company, its products or services.

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