Chaplain’s thoughts … Preparing for Innovation

Innovation is the buzzword of today. We hear and see it everywhere. We associate it with the high-tech contraptions we find ourselves surrounded by in our daily lives. We hear advertisements for internet cloud services that enhance day-to-day work. We experience it in the automated vehicles used for ride sharing and see it in computer graphics producing realism in movies and video games.

Even the Air Force is powered by innovation, and Airmen are often reminded to keep innovating. However, some Airmen may wonder, “What exactly is innovation?”

While innovation has many forms, it’s a sure thing, it serves people.

When we consider the technology that was produced as a result of innovative thinking, the list is endless. For maintainers, access to sections of the F-35 Lightning II were vastly improved, decreasing maintenance hours. The fighter jet is also designed to enhance the pilot’s battlespace management, thus boosting mission effectiveness. These are but a few examples of innovative technology improving the lives of people in myriad ways.

Doing things for the sake of bettering people’s lives reminds me of my faith tradition. In the Christian Scriptures, Jesus brought ministry to the people, as well as teaching His disciples they could worship God and serve others anytime, anywhere. This practice was groundbreaking. At the time, people typically travelled to places of worship to serve and practice religious rites. With this teaching, His disciples could worship and serve God and people everywhere regardless of time and place. Disciples of Jesus could do this on their own or gather in corporate settings. As a result, Christianity grew quickly and exponentially, affecting the lives of many along the way.

The examples from technology and my faith tradition demonstrate that serving people is at heart of innovation. As innovative ideas move from design to development to implementation, people’s lives are made better. If people’s lives are not improved, the search for improvements continues. Innovative ideas puts the needs, and even wants, of people first.

Putting people first is a concept familiar to all Airmen as one of our core values is service before self. When we desire the betterment of others above our own, we seek out the best way to accomplish this. Whether it is making sure pilots and aircraft are ready to complete the mission, or the families of deployed Airmen are taken care of, we do it with the idea of serving others first. Moreover, when continue to find better ways to serve our fellow men and women, we demonstrate to all the excellence in what we do.

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