AF program receives makeover

Air Force leadership launched its new idea suggestion program renamed Airmen Powered by Innovation in February 2014.

The Air Force Vice Chief of Staff tasked Air Force leaders to streamline and consolidate four older idea generating programs to include Innovative Development through Employee Awareness, Productivity Enhancing Capital Investment,  best practices and the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century.

In addition to the previous programs becoming stale, they all seemed to be ineffective at producing ideas which limited those feasible for implementation.

A recent survey of individuals stationed at D-M AFB gave insight into the IDEA program

“Many members believed the IDEA program was too time consuming and some were not familiar with the program at all,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Viet Le, 355th Force Support Squadron manpower analyst. “One of the last IDEAs submitted using this program took 11 months from start to finish in order for the submitter to receive their $8,400 award. The layers of red tape involved nearly made the submitter abandon the process.”

The new platform encourages Airmen to elevate ideas that affect cost savings, quality, productivity, cycle time, process improvement and morale.

Some highlights of the enhanced program also include accessibility to API approval stats, tools that can help refine and enhance potential submissions and according to U.S. Air Force Gen. Larry O. Spencer, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff make it even easier for Airmen to communicate their ideas about how to improve the way we do business across the Air Force.

The API tracking system also provides icons that allow you to query previously submitted ideas, search for those already approved, enter new submissions and most importantly check the status of your own.

The guidelines closely resemble the IDEA program in that tangible benefits will remain the same and intangible benefits now range from $25 to $10,000.

Monetary awards are limited to Active duty Air Force and Civilians, but submissions are open to Contractors as well as Air Force Reserve Command in Title 10 status.

“The goal of the Manpower office is to get the word out to Airmen at every level at D-M” Le said, “to ensure they realize they have an opportunity to improve the Air Force through programs like API.”

Several practical yet often overlooked money saving ideas aim to minimize supply costs, reduce temporary duty frequencies and find innovative ways to troubleshoot common issues. Something as simple as requesting crosswalks be installed in high traffic areas or building a base dog park improved the overall quality of life for our very own D-M AFB residents in recent years.

“Changing the perception that ideas must be technical, complex, or saves thousands of dollars will hopefully inspire people to submit ideas across the base” Le explains.

For more information on API, please contact the Manpower and Organization Office, 520-228-3840.

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