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The Hatch (https://doninnovation.ideascale.com/) is an accessible, virtual collaboration forum that harnesses the creative energy of Sailors, Marines, and Department of the Navy civilians.
BY CMDR. MICHAEL V. BENEDETTO, SC, USN, DIRECTOR, PERFORMANCE AND ANALYSIS DIVISION (N52), NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND
The United States Navy has a rich history of innovation. This history dates back to the 1790s when Congress authorized the original six frigates with a revolutionary design that combined speed, durability and firepower. These super-frigates would be revered as some of the most innovative ships of their time. This history continues today with the F-35C carrier variant, which is the Navy’s first stealth fighter and the world’s only 5th Generation, long-range stealth strike fighter designed and built for carrier operations.
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) continues to be at the forefront as an innovation leader within the Navy. Following Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ kickoff of Task Force Innovation in January 2015, Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen established the Logistics Innovation Cell (LogIC). This small and agile team within the NAVSUP Headquarters is charged to collect innovative logistics concepts, remove roadblocks, and identify and deliver effective relevant initiatives swiftly to the Fleet.
“We have a timely opportunity to bring together the innovation efforts occurring across commands, operating forces, and the acquisition, personnel, education, and scientific communities to provide a solid foundation to address the issues of today and provide a vision for the future.” - Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
LogIC is looking at current operations by identifying and targeting innovative concepts, examining current metrics and performance standards, and considering where Continuous Process Improvements (CPI) can be made through use of existing CPI master black belts, black belts, and green belts throughout the NAVSUP Enterprise. In addition, operations research specialists across the enterprise are applying data analysis, optimization, modeling and simulation tools to identify opportunities for improvement. Looking further out on the horizon, LogIC is identifying capability gaps, reviewing the long-term trends within industry and looking for game changing concepts.
A key tenant of SECNAV’s Innovation Vision is to build a Naval Innovation Network (NIN). One of the key objectives of the NIN is to recognize and harness the innovation that can occur at any level and throughout the Department of the Navy (DoN).
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USS Constitution was one of six frigates authorized for construction by an act of Congress in 1794, a group later called super-frigates. (this photo was taken from a Navy website on the USS Constitution history by JO1 Ramsdell, http:/ /www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=192)
“This isn’t about creating an innovative workforce,” said Mabus. “This is about harnessing the creative energy our Sailors, Marines and civilians already have.” NAVSUP has established key coordinators within each of its assistant commanders (ACOMs) and Echelon III commands. This group is the force on the deck plates listening to the workforce at all levels. They facilitate concept submission and development.
In fiscal year 2015, LogIC received 64 unique concept submissions. Concepts ranged from a few sentences recommending the need to investigate opportunities to reduce excess or suspended material within the Navy’s inventory to well-developed concepts that could apply design thinking tools to how the Navy provides food service. For the concepts that fell within the NAVSUP Enterprise, deep dives were conducted to focus the idea. Concepts were prioritized against capabilities’ gaps and way-ahead plans were developed.
For the concepts that reached across the Navy, the contributor submitted their idea to the DoN-wide innovation collaboration website known as the “Hatch.”
This crowdsourced ideation platform is designed to harness the innovative thoughts from across the Navy and Marine Corps. The Hatch is an accessible, virtual collaboration forum that connects the creative energy of Sailors, Marines, and Department of the Navy civilians. In the Hatch, ideas can be submitted by any user, refined through crowdsourcing, and further developed by local innovators and subject matter experts. The naval workforce can establish an account using their .mil, .gov, or military .edu email address, and once an account is created, the innovator will be able to submit and monitor ideas through their work or personal desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Whether you have an innovative idea, a creative proposal for how the naval force can change for the future, or just want to see what others are talking about, enter the Hatch and start participating.
Throughout history, the Navy has had visionaries within the ranks to include Capt. Alfred T. Mahan, Lt. Col. Earl H. “Pete” Ellis and Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, who were all able to look 10 to 20 years into the future and identify future challenges. Today, the future continues to be uncertain. Future possible operating environments could include: resource scarcity, drone warfare, virtual instability, swarming tactics, autonomous warfare, hybrid warfare, genome manipulation and virtual battlefield. This uncertain future necessitates innovation.
Sailors, Marines and DoN civilians have been at the leading edge in pioneering new technologies and techniques to grow the strength and reach of the Fleet. Today, naval innovation continues to push the boundaries of what is possible and what will be possible in the near future.
For more information on the concepts within the NAVSUP claimancy, please contact the LogIC coordinator team.
How can you be involved?
- Submit an idea
- Vote ideas up or down
- Elaborate on ideas
- Take the contrarian point-of-view
- Influence the solution