AUSTIN, TX (MARCH 1, 2022) -- Productable, an innovation management platform that accelerates the innovation process and guides critical decision-making, releases key Innovation Acceleration findings from the first phases of its ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Air Force. The partnership led to the discovery of critical factors contributing to innovation velocity, most notably that project teams using Productable’s patent-pending methodology progress 4x faster when compared to their previous process.
These findings are crucial to Accelerate Change or Lose, the strategic vision pioneered by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. The vision outlines challenges facing the National Defense Strategy, such as the urgent need to improve innovation pipelines, adapt to the rapidly changing environment and speed up the Air Force’s decision-making processes.
“One of the many ways we’re answering the call to accelerate change is by identifying barriers to innovation success and helping design strategies to overcome those barriers,” said Dr. Christina White, Productable’s head of methodology and resident innovation process expert. “Productable’s goal is to turn these barriers into acceleration opportunities and give the Air Force a sustainable innovation process that will help them make critical and timely decisions to achieve their desired outcomes.”
HOLODECK ACCELERATOR PROGRAM
To further support innovation acceleration opportunities, Productable is launching the Holodeck Accelerator, a 3-month pilot program designed for Air Force innovators who want to rapidly accelerate their concept. Program participants also have the opportunity to earn a Certificate of Innovation upon completion.
“The Air Force is working hard to develop our innovators. The Holodeck Accelerator is one way we are testing new and compelling options that provide Airmen with education, support and expertise,” said Gen David Allvin, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff. "Earning the Certificate of Innovation is a testament to an individual’s commitment to self-development and taking on the innovator role outside of their day-to-day job."
During the accelerator program, led by Dr. White and team, Air Force innovators work directly with innovation process experts to learn how to validate, develop and scale their concepts. The program is uniquely designed to address the common barriers of innovation success that Productable identified during the initial collaboration.
Program participants will:
- Rapidly advance their concepts using Productable’s patent-pending methodology.
- Learn how to effectively pitch their concepts to get the resources they need.
- Participate in hands-on workshops and activities that teach innovation best practices.
- Receive direct feedback from peers as well as innovation decision-makers.
For more information about the Holodeck Accelerator and how to apply, go to www.productableaf.com/holodeck-accelerator.
INNOVATION ACCELERATION FINDINGS
Productable attributes the increased velocity from the initial collaboration to four critical factors and incorporated those directly into the Holodeck Accelerator programming:
- Establishment of a repeatable process and cadence. Productable identified a systematic, scalable approach to assessing and supporting innovation, scheduling regular review sessions to discuss, evaluate and make critical project decisions.
- Introduction of digitized scores. Productable’s platform uses analytics-based scoring to help both innovators and decision-makers better understand how projects are progressing through the Air Force system.
- Creation of decision support guidelines. Productable empowers leadership with well-defined decision criteria for every project phase, enabling decision-makers to properly evaluate concepts based on transparent guidelines.
- Development of project reporting capabilities. Productable provides an easy-to-use progress reporter that allows innovators to communicate their project updates and requests to leadership on a regular basis.
BATTERY CELL EXTRACTION TOOL CASE STUDY
The Battery Cell Extraction Tool, a device that makes removing battery cells from cargo aircraft safer and more efficient, is one of more than 70 projects currently leveraging Productable’s methodology. After creating their prototype, the Battery Cell Extraction Tool project team entered the Air Force’s Spark Tank innovation challenge and was one of the finalists selected by Air Force leadership and industry influencers.
Senior Master Sgt. Robert Tingle, a Flight Chief for the 446th Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and the concept’s champion, attributes the progression of the project to Productable’s innovation process. It enabled Tingle and his team to get to the current piloting phase, which involves utilizing a 3D printer to make the devices. In addition, Tingle hopes the pilot proves other tools can be manufactured using 3D printer technology.
“After Spark Tank, the project initially stalled because we kept hitting roadblocks in the acquisition process,” Tingle said. “It wasn’t until Productable stepped in that we were able to get it moving in the right direction again. Their process gave us the ability to identify barriers, communicate those back up to leadership and make the requests we needed to go from problem to pilot and eventually to scale.”
With the support of Productable, the team was able to validate their concept and use the funding awarded at Spark Tank to acquire their 3D printer. As a result, they have now secured the equipment necessary to scale the Battery Cell Extraction Tool for C-17, C-5, KC-46 and C-37 aircraft and support future innovation ideas at their location.
Currently, the Battery Cell Extraction Tool team is scaling the tool to other C-17 locations after validating its usability at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP
Funded by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, Productable’s most recent engagement with the Air Force brings the total contract value to $3.2 million. Currently, the collaboration focuses on making a portfolio-approach to innovation a reality for the Air Force. This phase follows a Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) prototyping contract with Air Force CyberWorx and a development and piloting phase with SAF/MG, the Department of Air Force organization responsible for developing and implementing business transformation initiatives.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Productable is an innovation management platform that sets organizations up with everything they need to innovate successfully. Our all-in-one solution gives leaders the reporting, insights and decision-making guidelines they need to drive transformation quickly and connects innovators and intrapreneurs with the right process and right tools to scale their ideas into real solutions. Productable Founder & CEO Rachel Kuhr Conn launched the patent-pending SaaS platform in 2019 after more than a decade of testing transformation methodology as academic research with top institutions such as MIT and Stanford University. She then perfected the innovation process with Mark Cuban Companies and 20+ billion-dollar corporations.