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CHIPS Articles: Navy Brightwork

Navy Brightwork
Join the innovators in the Navy Brightwork group
By Sharon Anderson - January-March 2015
Navy Brightwork is a collaborative idea harvesting tool championed by Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) to collect ideas from the deckplates and across the fleet. Through Navy Brightwork, innovators may propose solutions to problems through the submission of ideas, provide feedback on proposals, and vote for those with the most potential.

The Naval History and Heritage Command's page of Nautical Terms and Phrases tells us "brightwork originally referred to polished metal objects, and bright woodwork to wood which was kept scraped and scrubbed, especially topside. Bright it should be and work it is." Similar to the buffing of the topside objects, Navy Brightwork collects Sailors' rough-hewn innovative ideas and helps polish them into solutions for the fleet.

Examples of ideas previously developed through Navy Brightwork include “Perimeter Video Surveillance for Ships,” “Pneumatic Deckplate Water Removal Tool to Mitigate Shipboard Corrosion,” and “Fleet Tool Control.” While an array of challenges exists for an idea to proceed through development and full implementation Navy-wide, many ideas are forwarded to resource sponsors for their consideration.

In turn, NWDC N9 staff frequently receives informed feedback from resource sponsors that the Navy is already realizing a stated capability gap and is moving out on solutions. Whether the Navy is open to potential development of a submitted idea, is already working along similar lines of effort, or has no identified need or gap along such efforts, Navy Brightwork keeps its membership informed for each and every idea submitted.

Two very promising ideas have worked their way through the crowd-sourced stage recently: “Free Cycle in Fleet Concentration Areas” and “How to Cut Aircraft Wire Troubleshooting by 90%,” and both are currently being worked at the subject matter expert stage where further development and even implementation on a broader scale are being considered.

Navy Brightwork is easily accessible on milSuite at: https://www.milsuite.mil/navybrightwork. NWDC hosts this marketplace to spark development of a variety of ideas — administrative, medical, fleet maintenance, cyber, anti-terrorism/force protection, personnel, and a host of others — good ideas submitted by those closest to the problems.

You do not have to submit your own idea to become a member of the group as ideas are refined and improved through comments and questions from group members and followers. Leveraging crowdsourcing practices, votes and comments help identify the ideas that warrant formal expert review and potential referral to appropriate commands to be considered for implementation. To join, simply visit the URL above, and on the page header that shows the ocean's waterline, click on the dark gray link in the upper right corner that reads "Join this Group." Feel free to vote or comment and be as active as you wish.

The Innovation links in Navy Brightwork connect participants to diverse sites to spur the imagination, such as the CNO’s Rapid Innovation Cell, Office of Naval Research Swampworks, Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research, Sailor Bob 2.0 for the surface warfare community, and the popular blogs, Small Wars Journal and CDR Salamander.

The aim of Navy Brightwork is to foster deckplate innovation by giving a voice to all who wish to further strengthen the world's greatest Navy. There is tremendous intellectual potential in the Sailors and civilians across our Navy enterprise. NWDC takes the best ideas from those closest to the issue and brings them to the attention of those who can and will develop and implement them.

NWDC also hosts the CNO’s Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) and the CRICx affiliate organization and the command is building a growing network of innovators and future capabilities stakeholders across the Navy and DoD. Among NWDC’s partners are the Marine Corps’ Ellis Group and Marine Corps Combat Development Command , and NWDC often shares ideas with them and posts many of their documents on the Navy Brightwork page. Navy Brightwork, CRIC projects, and CRICx events and activities are the three major lines of effort in the NWDC innovation campaign.

Join the innovators in the Navy Brightwork group and hear the concerns and suggestions of deckplate Sailors and Department of the Navy employees, while NWDC helps refine good ideas and transforms them into great ones. Become part of the solution!

Brightwork opening screen on milSuite.
Brightwork opening screen on milSuite.

Brightwork ideas open for discussion displayed on milBook.
Brightwork ideas open for discussion displayed on milBook.
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