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Army Business Transformation Head Outlines Ways to Encourage Innovation

Robin Swan, deputy director of the U.S. Army‘s office of business transformation, has said that the military branch should change its culture to spur innovation.

Swan stated at the 2017 Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition that the Army’s current culture is risk averse, prompting program managers to avoid high-reward but high-risk approaches, the service branch said Friday.

He added that the Army should allocate a portion of its budget to high-reward, high-risk strategies in critical areas to encourage disruptive technology development.

Innovation could also be fostered through talent management and an incentive program that would give innovators monetary rewards or recognition from top Army leaders, according to Swan.

The deputy director noted that the military branch’s leaders should encourage soldiers and civilian personnel to move forward with their ideas even if there is a risk of failure.

The Army unveiled three efforts meant to support innovation in the past year, including the “Army Innovation Strategy 2017-2021,” which aims to optimize the service’s planning and program resourcing processes.

A digital crowdsourcing program called the Army Ideas for Innovation was also launched to seek ideas from the Defense Department community on how the Army can boost innovation.

The military branch also created the Army Futures Command that includes eight cross-functional teams tasked to shorten the Army’s requirements development process from five years down to one.

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