by 1st Lt. Thomas Barger
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs
5/11/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The
presentation of the inaugural Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner Innovation
Madness trophy to the 86th Airlift Wing marked the end of the Innovation
Madness contest May 1.
Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa
commander, presented the Tunner Trophy and a check for $250,000 to Brig.
Gen. Patrick X. Mordente, 86th Airlift Wing commander, as the command's
most innovative wing.
The Innovation Madness contest was devised by the USAFE-AFAFRICA
Innovation Transformation Office in partnership with the command's
Financial Management office as a way to add energy and to inspire
competition amongst the wings. "The Air Force has a long history of
going back to the people who actually do the work to figure out how to
do it faster, better and cheaper," said Gorenc.
As part of the competition, all nine USAFE-AFAFRICA wings submitted
their innovations and award packages to a panel of judges and produced
videos about their innovation culture that were broadcasted on American
Forces Network channels Europe-wide and posted and viewed on social
media almost 300,000 times. Likes on Facebook were counted as part of
their overall score. The wings advanced through a head-to-head
tournament style contest similar to the NCAA basketball tournament until
the most innovative wing was left standing.
"The numbers are staggering," said Gorenc before noting that
USAFE-AFAFRICA wings submitted approximately 500 innovations and saved
at least $28 million and 115,000 man-hours.
Col. Dale Anderson, Chief of the Innovation Transformation Office noted
in a recent interview, "We basically gave $250,000 to get a validated
return of $28 million and 115,000 man-hours in savings. That's the kind
of deal we'll take every time."
Gorenc told the Airmen of the 86th AW that our Air Force and our country
face a financial crisis with no relief from our Air Force missions.
Innovation is a necessity, and USAFE-AFAFRICA Airmen are making it a
part of their everyday culture.
"Players win championships, but the organization makes the team," said
Chief Master Sgt. James Davis, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief, evoking a
quote from the iconic NBA All Star, Michael Jordan. He thanked the wing
as a whole for making innovation a normal way of doing business.
The command plans to make the Innovation Madness tournament an annual award in hopes of invigorating innovations year-round.