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Air Force launches new program to capture innovative ideas

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced the creation of a new program April 4, designed to harness Airmen’s innovation.

Airmen Powered by Innovation, or API, will replace three existing Air Force “good idea” programs – the Innovative Development through Employee Awareness, Productivity Enhancing Capital Investment, and Best Practices programs – and expand the role of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century.

“API will consolidate the benefits of each program and simplify the process for submitting ideas, making it easier for our Airmen at the lowest levels to effect change across the entire Air Force,” said David Tillotson, the Air Force deputy chief management officer.

Installations’ manpower offices will be responsible for assisting and supporting Airmen as they submit ideas. In addition to gaining efficiencies by consolidating existing programs, API will also offer Airmen increased access to assistance prior to submitting ideas and institute a top-down tracking requirement, which includes confirming and documenting savings realized from implementing Airmen’s ideas.

“The requirement for us to track these ideas from the top down recognizes the importance we place in having an environment that fosters and rewards innovation at all levels,” said Gen. Larry Spencer, the Air Force vice chief of staff. “In this fiscally-constrained environment, we need every Airman engaged in finding smarter ways to do business.”

API will serve as a follow-on program to institutionalize the success of the 2013 Every Dollar Counts campaign. During the campaign, 302 ideas submitted by Airmen were implemented by the Air Force, generating savings of $71 million and 24,000 hours annually.

“Our Airmen are the finest in the world and care about making sure our Air Force remains the best in the world,” Spencer said. “I wasn’t at all surprised by how many good ideas they had, and as leaders, we owe it to them to make sure their ideas are heard. API will ensure their ideas can be implemented.”

Airmen who wish to submit ideas through API may do so by going online to https://ipds.afpc.randolph.af.mil or by working with their local AFSO21 office.

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)

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