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    Hap Arnold Innovation center hosts AIM-HI certification event.



    Story by Senior Airman Neil Mabini 

    163d Attack Wing

    MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. – The Hap Arnold Innovation Center (HAIC) at March ARB, CA concluded California’s first-ever innovation certification under the AIM-HI program (Academia + Industry + Military = Hybrid Innovations) created by Dr. Jeff Degraff from the University of Michigan, 16 December 2021.

    The three-month program seeks to provide the perspectives, vocabulary, and skill base necessary to lead projects, people, and ventures to accelerate decision processes and increase mission capabilities. In addition, the program links senior leaders’ real-world issues and priorities with functional innovation solutions required to create significant change across the Air National Guard (ANG) and United States Air Force.

    “We have a foremost innovator in the nation, Dr. Degraff, who’s going to lead you in a military imperative and that is on innovation for our nation,” said Maj. Gen. Douglas L. Raaberg, Executive Vice President, Air Force Association.

    The course consisted of 23 members from the 163d Attack Wing (ATKW), the Deputy Director of Staff for the California ANG, as well as New York ANG and National Guard Bureau (NGB) Joint Staff members. AIM-HI is sponsored by the Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center and funded by ARCWERX, which have partnered with the University of Michigan to connect top research universities, entrepreneurial companies with the United States Air and Space Forces.

    The three weeks of in-person instruction included academia and training, developing teams, and working creatively to cultivate innovative solutions for real-world problems and issues within the ANG.

    “The Innovatrium is the place where innovation happens across boundaries. We’ve built this so that we can bring some really diverse communities together,” said Dr. Jeff DeGraff, Dean of Innovations, Professor – University of Michigan.

    The five teams worked together to refine the full scope of the senior leader issues, coupled with viable paths forward, leading to a capstone pitch for their projects. Throughout the cohort, the teams functionally practiced AIM-HI concepts with the mentorship of experienced innovation coaches.

    U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Chikasawa with the 163d ATKW hosted the AIM-HI finale where five teams had the opportunity to pitch their innovation project proposals to potential sponsors which included senior leaders within the state of California, the NGB, and Headquarters Air Force.

    Amongst those leaders included: Maj. General Michael Gerock, Brig. General Steven Butow, Brig. General Taft Aujero, Brig. General Bryan Teff, Col. Keith Chikasawa, Col. Johnny Barnes, Lt. Col. Hans Jagow, Command Chief Master Sergeant Paul Witt, Dr. Jeff Degraff, and Mr. Chuck Crosby.

    Immediately following each team’s pitches, they were given feedback and answered a variety of questions from the panel of judges. General Aujero provided encouraging words, showing how efforts from Airmen at the wing level can quickly solve senior leadership’s issues.

    "Your job is not done as an innovator. You go out in the force and you help others" General Aujero said.

    Not only was he supportive of all the innovation projects moving forward, but he is delivering the teams’ ideas to leadership across the five California ANG Wings. With the successful completion of the AIM-HI certification program, the ANG developed a solid foundation in growing and maintaining an Innovation eco-system to answer the Chief Staff of the Air Force’s “Accelerate, Change, or Lose” Vision as well as increasing the overall force readiness to execute National Defense Strategy objectives.



    Date Taken: 01.03.2022
    Date Posted: 01.25.2022 11:19
    Story ID: 413263

    Web Views: 109
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