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VCSAF’s challenge invites 446th AW innovation ideas

The submission deadline for the Vice Chief’s Challenge has been extended to Aug. 7, 2020. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

The submission deadline for the Vice Chief’s Challenge has been extended to Aug. 7, 2020. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

“If only we didn’t need to do this unnecessary step, our shop could be so much more efficient.”

“I have an idea for a time-saving app, but I don’t have the resources to build it.”

“If only the Air Force used this civilian product.”

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 446th Airlift Wing will have the opportunity to turn their frustration into innovation by submitting ideas that tackle problems and improve processes.

Reserve Citizen Airmen can submit their ideas for the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Stephen Wilson’s challenge through the Idea Scale website at https://usaf.ideascalegov.com/a/pages/saving-airmen-time by Aug. 7, 2020.

The Saving Airmen Time challenge is part of the Air Force Airmen Powered by Innovation program led by the general.

The program focuses on working smarter by determining the value and finding and eliminating what is redundant or outdated, said Bruce Winhold, 446th Airlift Wing process manager.

“The Air Force is obligated to be good stewards of the tax payers’ dollar, to conform to safety, timelines, and funding constraints,” said Winhold. “Our Reservists bring experiences from private companies from which we can learn.”

API is one of many programs that exists to foster the Air Force culture of innovation.

Winhold, who is also a Black Belt certified in the Air Force Continuous Process Innovation program, said Team McChord has an established track record of supporting CPI principles.

In 2019, the Air Force selected members from the 446th Maintenance Squadron as one of six teams to compete in the 2020 Spark Tank competition. The annual event sponsored by AFWERX, is a community of Air Force innovators connecting Airmen to solutions.

The MXS team identified a common problem in their workplace and presented their solution to top Air Force leadership and key enabling agencies. Under previous procedures, C-17 Globemaster III battery cell extraction was a two-person job, and removal procedures would sometimes damage the battery cell. The solution was to create a battery cell extraction tool that could safely be operated by one airman.

Airmen can also support timesaving initiatives already under review by providing feedback for programs such as: evaluations and decorations, exceptional family member program, permanent change of station, data analytics, fleet maintenance, supply-chain performance, or the repair capacity.

It is recommended that those submitting ideas use Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browsers to access the site.

“Let’s look beyond the traditional ways of getting things done,” said Winhold. “Unshackle paradigms and push it out in the open.”