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CHIPS Articles: DON Civilian Workforce Wargaming for the Future

DON Civilian Workforce Wargaming for the Future
The game continues until April 22
By Garth Jensen, Director of Innovation, NSWC Carderock, MMOWGLI Program Director and Rebecca Law, Faculty Associate-Research, MOVES Institute, Naval Postgraduate School - April 20, 2016
One week ago, we asked people to step back from your day-to-day and take a moment to focus on the future. We wanted people to imagine it's the year 2031. An entire generation, Generation Y, has come of age and assimilated into the workforce.

Simply by their presence, this generation has profoundly transformed the workplace. Everywhere you look, businesses are bursting with new energy informed by fresh perspectives. Everywhere you look, outdated ways are fading fast, and innovation rules the day.

Everywhere that is...except in the Dept of the Navy (DON). When you look around your own workplace, instead of transformation, you see the silent evidence of a lost generation, an entire generation that "opted out" of working for the DON. This is the future we see if current trends continue.

Now step back into present day 2016. This week, Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy (Management) launched the Dept of the Navy (DON) Gen Y MMOWGLI (Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet), a crowd sourcing online game to explore how the DON should attract, retain, and engage the Generation Y (AKA Millennial) community to deal with the declining Gen Y workforce.

After the first week of game play, there have been over 425 players who have contributed from various backgrounds: DoD, Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, federal government agencies, academia, industry and the public. Together, these players have submitted over 2,300 ideas and comments. In addition, they have collaborated in small groups to create 30 action plans that propose new paths forward to help position the DON civilian workforce for the future.

Curious, yet? To give you an idea of what’s happening, here’s a quick overview of what people are talking about in the game right now so far:

• “Because of so many boomers, the dearth of Xers, we didn't have the need and lost (the) art of growing talent. Navy system prevented that.” [card 628, submitted by player Valley]

• “Before I left service I was asked what it would take to keep me in. I said "treat me like I chose to do this not like I have to"” [card 233, submitted by player DoubleBluff]

• “What if DON adopted the 20% time model used by google, apple, etc to allow employees to spend 20 on self-identified projects, innovate, etc.” [card 2115, submitted by player Muad’dib]

• “I would create a Blue Angels style group to travel the country, stopping at schools, fairs, universities, and demoing crazy high tech work!” [card 228, submitted by player Sarendt]

• “Could the DON create an exchange program with industry similar to study abroad where the DON employee gains industry experience & knowledge?” [card 506, submitted by player ninjamonkey]

• “Engaging Millennials and Young Generations After”: The plan discusses ways to make millennials and younger generations aware of exciting career opportunities with the DON. [Action Plan 11]

• “Hands-On Engineering”: The plan is to teach new/rising engineers hands-on skills to augment analytical capabilities and allow for fresh perspectives on problems. [Action Plan 30]

It’s not too late to join conversation!

The DON Gen Y MMOGWLI is open now and will run until 22 April. The game is open to anyone age 18 or older. Go to and select the “I’m New to mmowgli” button! We’re waiting…

Reprinted from the DON/SECNAV Innovation website:

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