Saturday, July 28, 2012

Innovation for young Navy leaders

To apply the American spirit of ingenuity that is ingrained in all of us to this task, you must have a solid understanding of what innovation is and why it is essential to the Navy. It is also important that you become familiar with proven techniques that will help you to become a more innovative thinker.

This guide is intended to help innovators of all ages—especially junior leaders—to develop creative solutions and push them forward to become new warfighting capabilities. You own the future. As such, you have a professional obligation and vested personal interest in shaping the capabilities and the culture of tomorrow’s Fleet. To do this you must:
  • Think deeply
  • Question continuously
  • Debate rigorously
  • Read broadly
  • Write boldly
  • Never give up on a good idea
I ask for your full commitment in this important endeavor. We must work together to reinvigorate a spirit of creativity across the Fleet that produces advantages for future warfighters.

T. B. Kraft
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
Navy Warfare Development Command

The Innovator's Guide is HERE.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

A military manual for innovation...now that right there is funny.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 08:47 AM

Wow, lookie here, we found a cynic. You guys are so rare. Perhaps you have a better idea? No, I didn't think so. A$$hat!

Anonymous said...

A little cranky this morning, Anon 9:45? If you're inclined to innovate, just go ahead and innovate (Just Do It). You don't need a manual to prescribe the approved tactics, techniques, and procedures. Military innovation is an art learned by personal experience, experimentation, and failure, much like its civil counterpart entrepreneurship.

I am not at all opposed to the idea of military innovation, having once been a military innovator and now a civil entrepreneur. In my experience, the key to success in both arenas is to learn how to work calmly around all of the obstacles that your "betters" will throw down in your path. You will encounter militantly stupid folk, anachronistic rules and regs, laws and permits, and of course "a$$hats," all there to slow or stop your progress. Use all of them as an opportunity to critically examine your own thinking. Have you missed something? Are YOU the militantly stupid one here? If not, proceed at best speed.

And, I think the word you were looking for is "ironic" which better describes my intent than "cynic." Best to you.

Mike Lambert said...

There's no harm in having a guide for our junior Sailors to help them get started.

ABHC IN JAPAN said...

ADMIRAL Kraft was my CO on USS Reagan. I'd follow him to war anytime. He was a tough cookie to work for however he is very forward thinking and incredibly intelligent.

demian.ford said...

I agree. Sometimes burgeoning leaders could really use an "innovation" guide or a "leadership" guide. We don't have to take these documents as the Gospel, but if they can give us confidence by affirming ideas we already had or make us say 'Wow, I never really thought of it that way," or even, "that's the stupidest $#!+ I've ever heard," it means that we're at least THINKING about our roles as leaders and innovators.
-CTI1 D. Ford

demian.ford said...

p. S. I still like the ironic statement about the military innovation manual. I admit it was my first thought, and I don't think you sound like an a hat at all.
-CTI1

Anonymous said...

I'd look at In-Q-Tel as a better example of government funded innovation. The Israeli government also does awesome innovation with venture capital firms. I don't think you get best results when you use a quintessentially bureaucratic approach (military manual published by center of excellence, signed off by Flag O) to promote innovative thinking which is, by nature, freewheeling, the polar opposite of bureaucracy.

If DoN set up something similar, I think it would get better results.

Sean Heritage said...

I sincerely appreciate and respect what Admiral Kraft is attempting to do. We sure could use some additional overt proponents of the message he is transmitting. I do find it humorous that we need another guide, but I get it. At the point of accession into our Navy, we are repeatedly taught to follow the SOP and do what we are told. We need to be equally deliberate about helping others to unlearn the same. the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles had a very similar message. At our command, we have spent two years attempting to undo much of that and my message to each and every new IWBC student who comes through IWBC is much of the same.

Personally, I am not a fan of innovation, but I am a huge advocate for the desired effect (I believe entrepreneurship is really what we are after, but I'm fully onboard the Kraft Train). Here are some thoughts from over a year ago on the difference...

http://seanheritage.blogspot.com/2011/06/innovative-treadmill.html

Anonymous said...

Sean Heritage, I agree with your metaphorical distinction between entrepreneurship and innovation. I say metaphorical only because a true civilian entrepreneur strives to build capital as he builds his business, enriching himself and his shareholders in the process of providing a valuable product or service. Any government operation, in contrast, technically speaking destroys capital. The Navy entrepreneur will never get a million dollar payout for his work, a gargantuan bonus or shares in the "company." The taxpayer will never get a refund or an ROI that he can bank, he can only hope that his funds are used efficiently to accomplish the military mission. Mere hopium.

And that is the crux...as you point out in your essay, how do you meaningfully and especially quantitatively define success? The civil entrepreneur has the marketplace to tell him, and ultimately his bottom line determines success. You either make money or you don't. Easy. How do you do that in the Navy? The million dollar question.