dimecres, 18 de gener de 2012

COMSUBFOR Blog: “TANG” – A Vision for the Future.*

This is pretty cool.  I was recently briefed on the results of our first try at a new way for us to innovate.  We held an “event” in San Diego that brought together 27 of our best and brightest Junior Officers, Sonarmen and Fire Control Technicians to participate in what will be the first of many workshops.  Submarine Development Squadron TWELVE (DEVRON 12) allied with Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Applied Physics Laboratory and the Submarine Advanced Development Team at NAVSEA, making this a “first of its kind” for the Submarine Force and maybe the Navy.

We asked our partners at IDEO to join us.  IDEO is a design firm that specializes in human-centered innovation and helping organizations in the business, government, education and social sectors to innovate and grow.  They’ve worked on projects like designing the first Apple Mouse to designing the portable defibrillators you can find in many public areas.  Most notably, and applicable to our situation, IDEO has a process to teach innovation and design using fast prototyping to achieve terrific results for very low costs.  You see, we have a deep understanding of our problem, and a lot of ideas, but lacked the discipline to turn that into something real.  IDEO helped us through that. 

We’re calling these workshops the “TANG” series: “Tactical Advancement for the Next Generation.”   Anyone who knows their submarine history knows this is a deeply meaningful acronym for us.  The USS TANG (SS-306) was a Balao-class submarine in World War II. In her short career, with Commander Richard Hetherington O'Kane as her Commanding Officer, TANG sank 33 ships displacing 116,454 tons.  CDR O’Kane received the Medal of Honor for his service.

Our goal at the TANG workshop was to more effectively leverage the knowledge and enthusiasm of these Submariners to help us execute a paradigm shift - we want to quickly and effectively evolve -  using what our force already “knows” as consumers and experts of smartphones and modern video game consoles like the XBOX 360.   Most Sailors entering the Navy can pick up a smartphone and handle it like an ace.  They are familiar with the icons and display modes of the new apps and games that deliver a tremendous amount of complexity in an intuitive interface and system design.  We want to bring that into our combat systems and take advantage of all the experience and “training” that our Submariners have when they first arrive. 

In short, we want to go from screens that look like this:
















To screens that look more like this:
















The TANG workshop was a big success.  The response from our Sailors was amazing.  Once they formed into small teams and got the picture of what the event was about, they took over…and the days were full of discovery and “a-ha” moments.  With simple props, the small, high-performing teams produced BIG ideas - a validation of the “rapid prototyping” skills inherent in our Submariners when coached by the pros at IDEO!  The team used cardboard, markers, foam, PVC piping, glue guns, and yellow stickies to explore different form factors that might better present the information they were used to managing.  You can see scenes from the conference, and some of these ideas in this video that highlights the accomplishments of the first TANG.  We knew that given an opportunity to have their voices heard and to bring their experience to bear on some focused “how might we?” type questions, our teams would produce…and they delivered big time. 
Some of the ideas for new sonar and imaging displays were so good – and achievable – that we’re working to get these ideas incorporated into the next sonar and fire control software upgrade, slated for fleet introduction in 2014.  Working prototypes have been built and are running with at-sea data… only 2 months later!   And this is only a first step. We will continue to engage with industry “thought leaders” regarding how we might adapt their capabilities into our mission needs.



Thanks to Josh Smith and the JHU/APL team in organizing the TANG forum, Pete Scala and PEO IWS5A for supporting the forum with people and funding, the IDEO team of Dave Blakely, David Haygood, Peter MacDonald and Dan Soltzberg, the Submarine Learning Center Detachment in San Diego and the DEVRON 12 team under the leadership of  Commodore Bill Merz.
I’m proud of the accomplishments of the first TANG workshop.  Well done to the whole team – especially the Submariners who gave it their best effort and will guide our way ahead!  Keep your eyes open for “TANG 2”… maybe the next great idea we use will be yours!
FT1 Don Moreno – USS Bremerton
LTJG John Dubiel – USS Bremerton
FT1 Rich Gunter – USS Charlotte
STS2 Charles Augustine – USS City of Corpus Christi
LTJG Jason Frederick – USS City of Corpus Christi
FT3 Jordan Larry – USS City of Corpus Christi
LT Dan Kohnen – USS Columbus
LTJG Dan Justice – USS Florida
FT1 John Keagle – USS Florida
STS1 Randy Kelly – USS Florida
STS2 Don Grubbe – USS Houston
LTJG Stephen Emerson – USS Houston
FT2 Thaddeus Siongco – USS Houston
LT David Camp – USS Key West
FT3 Glen Elam – USS Key West
STS1 Robert Sarvis – USS Key West
LT Tim Manke – USS New Hampshire
STS1 J.P. Whitney – USS Norfolk
FT1 Brent Caraway – USS San Francisco
LT Eric Dridge – USS San Francisco
STS1 Rich Hering – USS San Francisco
STS2 Chris Remiesiewicz – USS Virginia
FT1 Brandolf Schlieper – USS Virginia
LT Arlo Swallow – USS West Virginia
FT1 Ben Lang – USS West Virginia
STS1 Gabe Brazell – USS West Virginia
STS2 Jake Malone – SLC Det. San Diego

 

The IDEO Coaching Team:

Peter Macdonald
Dave Blakely
Dan Soltzberg
David Haygood

Semper Procinctum
VADM John M. Richardson
Commander, Submarine Force

* Reproduïm aquest article del blog del COMSUBFOR per destacar la gran importància en innovació de l'arma submarina dels Estats Units.

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