Workshop unites digital-first experts on transformation

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Air Force Digital Transformation Office held its first collaborative workshop Dec. 3, uniting government experts with industry in an effort to progress digital acquisition change across the service.

More than 250 individuals joined the online event, which leveraged the DTO Metaverse to engage participants in a virtual reality ecosystem designed to drive innovative thinking and digital-first thought strategies across the community.

“This event was focused on initiating a culture shift and empowering the grassroots workforce to drive change from the bottom up,” said Kyle Hurst, Air Force Digital Transformation Office director. “The excitement around this initiative exceeded our expectations. While we targeted specific attendees for the event, many actually forwarded the invite to other practitioners, thereby creating a larger network of digital culture change agents.”

Digital transformation focuses on delivering better capabilities to warfighters, which requires a revamp of traditional acquisition processes. To be successful in this effort, Hurst said, it is critical that stakeholders across the acquisition lifecycle embrace innovative and emerging technologies, tools and processes to deliver what the Air Force needs, faster.

“It’s clear that China is rapidly developing warfighting capability at a faster pace than we are. To ensure we are postured to win the next high-end fight, we must change the paradigm to accelerate our own capability development and delivery,” Hurst said.

During the event, attendees were provided an overview of the DTO’s mission, vision and current efforts, which directly relate to the ongoing Air Force Materiel Command Digital Campaign. Attendee-led discussion helped align and streamline the digital transformation community’s priorities for the upcoming year.

“This was not a top-level-down discussion; rather, the participants led the discussion, which focused on driving action,” Hurst said. “Attendees were enthusiastic about the experience, which gave them ‘ownership’ of the process. In addition, the exposure to a broad range of fellow digital practitioners in fields ranging from engineering and logistics to contracting, financial management, program management and more helped drive home that transformation must occur across all domains in order to be successful.”

Hurst and his team will use the input and feedback from the event to develop a long-term roadmap for the overall Air Force transformation initiative. As they solidify priorities, the team plans to launch a number of work streams to help focus digital efforts across multiple mission areas.

“We’re engaging digital-first minded Airmen and Guardians in a new way by using innovative collaboration and ecosystem-building software and methodologies to rapidly deliver impact,” Hurst said. “This is just the beginning. Culture change is rapidly coming, and we’re looking forward to taking the lead.”