ARLINGTON, Va.—A mobile app allowing Sailors and Marines to collaborate with leadership to solve problems. A Wikipedia-style platform for the entire Navy—which can be shared in a Cloud environment and serve as a repository of institutional knowledge.
Streamlining the use of Microsoft SharePoint and Teams to reduce unnecessary meetings. An online portal where videos outlining best practices and procedures can be placed—lessening the risk of knowledge loss through retirements or re-assignment.
Four teams from the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School and Navy Information Operations Command Texas pitched these ideas virtually during an educational challenge at last week’s Naval Agility Summit—held Sept. 21-25 in Alexandria, Virginia.
The event—which people attended virtually and physically—was hosted by the NavalX Agility Cell (also known as NavalX) and supported by multiple partners, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
“Ideas like yours will change the Navy and Marine Corps for the better,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby. “This shows that the best solutions to problems come from those on the deck plates.
“We at the leadership level want you to keep pushing forward,” Selby continued. “We’ll remove barriers, but we need your ideas.”
The Hon. James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, echoed this sentiment: “We’re all inspired by your zeal and enthusiasm. We’re committed to creating an environment where you can bring about change and refine the art of the possible.”
The purpose of the educational challenge was to foster innovative solutions to pressing naval problems. The competing teams—selected from a pool of applicants—presented to a panel of judges that included Selby; Geurts; Joan Johnson, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation; and Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, deputy chief of naval operations for Warfighting Development.
The Naval Academy team pitching the mobile app won the challenge. The app provides a platform for warfighters to share work-related issues and solicit solutions and suggestions.
The team will receive follow-on support and access to requirement holders, end users and subject matter experts at warfare centers and naval labs to develop their idea. Afterward, team members will present the prototype or proof of concept to naval leaders and stakeholders.
The educational challenge was just one facet of the week-long Agility Summit. The summit was designed to build partnerships in the Department of the Navy (DON) on matters of innovation, acquisition and transition — to share best practices and discuss problems facing the fleet. It highlighted innovation success stories from throughout the Naval Research and Development Establishment, through presentations and workshops.
Discussion topics included technology transfer, transition, contracting and program management.
“It is imperative that the Department of the Navy finds ways to better access and transition emerging technologies into programs,” said NavalX Director Capt. Frank Futcher. “The Naval Agility Summit served as a platform to attack that challenge by bringing together diverse organizations, people and experts to highlight proven methods to transition new technologies with speed and urgency. This will help us assure relevancy and lethality in the future war fight.”
NavalX is designed to enable collaboration; accelerate the pace of discovery, learning and experimentation; and foster the naval workforce’s capacity for innovation and agility. It is developing valuable tools for solving problems and translating ideas into actionable solutions.
This helps naval organizations like ONR to better serve warfighter needs by connecting individuals promoting innovative ideas with experts who can experiment with those ideas, invest in them or help turn them into something tangible for the Navy and Marine Corps.
Learn more about NavalX and this year’s Naval Agility Summit at
Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications