JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The run-up to the fifth annual Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Innovation Rodeo began April 10 with the start of a call-for-topics campaign.
The campaign, open through May 12, gives military and civilian members of the installation and mission support community a chance to win part of $1 million or more in funding and resources to pursue ideas that will help the Air Force deliver capabilities, improve installations, or support Airmen, Guardians and families in a better way.
The year’s theme is "Mission Focused Innovation". Semi-finalists will spend three weeks learning from leading innovators and collaborating with peers and industry partners virtually before coming to San Antonio in July to pitch their ideas to a panel of senior leaders and judges, said Jadee Purdy, AFIMSC chief innovation officer.
The Innovation Rodeo is about more than finding good ideas. It’s an opportunity to nurture a generation of innovators who can cultivate innovation and accelerate change across the enterprise.
“We love helping Airmen and Guardians develop, test and field their innovations. But we also love seeing them grow professionally,” Purdy said, “and giving them tools they need to network, advocate for innovation, find funding and navigate the acquisition process.”
AFIMSC held the first Innovation Rodeo in 2019. Since then, the center has invested $17.1 million and landed more than $80 million in government and venture capital funding for innovations that sprung from the minds of innovators from across the Department of the Air Force.
Eleven projects – including the Kinderspot child care subletting app, intelligence lockers and autonomous mowers to cut grass in and around airfields – have been fielded and many others are still in various stages of development. Seeing their own ideas come to life is exciting for participants but, for many finalists, the experience of meeting new people and collaborating is just as valuable.
“The best part of Innovation Rodeo for me was meeting the other contestants and seeing their ideas and how they came about. It was a very diverse group with a wide variety of ideas,” said Craig Rednour of the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron at Scott AFB, Illinois, and winner of the 2022 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo.
For more information about submitting ideas for the 2023 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo, visit www.afimsc.af.mil/2023-AFIMSC-Innovation-Rodeo.