AIR FORCE CYBERWORX LEADS THE AIR FORCE IN VIRTUAL HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN

AIR FORCE CYBERWORX LEADS THE AIR FORCE IN VIRTUAL HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN

AF CyberWorx Paves The Way For Others In The Air Force To Innovate Virtually

Just as Air Force CyberWorx became the experts in leading in-person, human-centered design events, the team is now stepping up to become the experts in leading virtual sessions.

Since the team, normally housed at the Air Force Academy, has begun teleworking, they have tested and vetted multiple virtual platforms and in less than two months have facilitated three UX Sprint events, with more in the queue.

AF CyberWorx’s human-centered design events are focused on – you guessed it – humans. The “human” in “human-centered design” refers primarily to the end user of whatever problem the team is tackling. Projects always start with the question, “How can we solve this problem in such a way to actually meet the needs of this pilot or operator, etc.?”

But AF CyberWorx also places a premium on bringing humans to a physical space to solve said problems. There’s just something about standing around a whiteboard, placing and rearranging sticky notes, and then mulling over questions while eating lunch. And AF CyberWorx has arguably the most advanced human-centered design process in the Air Force.

But when COVID-19 hit, they had to suspend in-person events. Big gulp. However, AF CyberWorx has ironically never been busier. They are, after all, a problem solving organization; if they can help others change for the better, they ought to be able to do so themselves. And teleworking is no excuse to stop designing for end users.

Larry Marine, one of the lead User Experience (UX) Designers at AFCyberWorx, shared some of the pros of virtual events: more people can participate, and the virtual events that are spaced out over a number of days allows for a mix of synchronous and asynchronous interactions.

“We assign people ‘homework’ between sessions,” said Marine, “and then they have time to think about it on their own time, and to add to the online whiteboards whenever creativity hits. People can go in and tinker here or tinker there.”

Online tools have never been more positioned to allow for online facilitation but make no mistake: online design sessions require the same level of preparation as in-person events, and more,  to account for the virtual environment. AF CyberWorx facilitators work closely ahead of time with a “person behind the curtain” who takes care of the behind-the-scenes technology work needed to give participants a smooth experience while using the various tools.

“As the moderator, your whole focus is on the screen, not the technology,” said Marine. “You can’t always get visual clues, so you have to listen for audio clues for how people are participating.”

While the team looks forward to being able to host people in-person again, Marine said he doesn’t expect virtual events to stop happening as soon as restrictions are lifted. However, it’s possible that they may look at projects which incorporate both in-person sessions and virtual collaboration. “I think it could work and I hope we have the opportunity to try.”

The UX team has not only started leading virtual sessions but has decided to help others do so as well by pulling together their research and experience to share with others the best methods and practices for helping others collaborate online.

The effort started because as he was researching best practices for leading virtual design sessions, Marine noticed that there really wasn’t much out there.

“I decided to put together a guide because no one had done a sprint like this before, and no one had vetted the technology before,” said Marine. “I thought that if we needed this, surely other people will too, so why not create something and share it?”

The team has posted their How-To guide on AFCyberWorx’s website here, and are looking into a place to post it where others in the Air Force can add to the document and share their own experiences.

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About Air Force CyberWorx

Air Force CyberWorx is an Air Force organization that brings together cross-functional teams of the best and brightest subject matter experts from the military, civil service, industry, and academia to solve operational users’ most challenging problems. Air Force CyberWorx uses the Human Centered Design Methodology to increase multi-domain warfighter effectiveness by accelerating disruption and transformation. To learn more about Air Force CyberWorx and its upcoming projects, visit http://afcyberworx.org/.

AIR FORCE CYBERWORX TACKLES CYBER TALENT MANAGEMENT WITH HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN


(November 6, 2018; Colorado Springs, CO) – Air Force CyberWorx is hosting the Air Force Cyber Talent Management (#AFCTM) project on January 22-25 in its design studio at the US Air Force Academy. The project will involve non-military participants and interested professionals in cyber or HR are invited to apply.

“The ability to hire and retain cyber professionals is the cornerstone of the Air Force’s ability to successfully utilize cyber effects on the battlefield,” said Lt. Col. Mike Helgeson, Deputy Director for AF CyberWorx. “Our aim with this design sprint is to find ways to improve the overall retention rate within the cyber field to better the Air Force.”

The Air Force is challenged with keeping skilled individuals in cyber-related career fields in the Air Force. However, the high numbers of cyber professionals transitioning suggests that jobs in commercial organizations are often more appealing. The Air Force wants to learn how it can give its cyber professionals a desirable and fulfilling place to work and develop their careers.

The project will take the form of a design sprint: a four-day workshop event where a mix of military and industry people work together to find solutions to a problem. The sprint uses human-centered design, a problem-solving process that emphasizes the end-users. It asks, “Is this a solution that people want to use? Will it meet the needs of the people using it?”

The AF Cyber Talent Management project will build off a previous project hosted by AF CyberWorx. In the Cyber 21st Century Training Model Design Sprint, government and industry participants looked at how the Air Force could create a better training model for cyber professionals. Participants in the upcoming #AFCTM project will look at how the Air Force can better manage a career life-cycle

Cyber and IT professionals, along with HR leaders, are encouraged to apply to participate in the sprint with AF Cyberworx. These participants will provide insight on how commercial industry attracts and retains talent. Being a part of the sprint will give attendees a chance to network, learn human-centered design, and develop relationships with Air Force personnel that can support future collaborations.

If you are interested in the #AFCTM project and want to apply or learn more, go to afcyberworx.org/AFCTM. The application deadline is Thursday, January 10.

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About Air Force Cyberworx

AF CyberWorx is the Air Force’s cyber design and innovation center. It educates airmen and cadets while simultaneously partnering with industry to solve cyber problems facing our nation. To learn more about AF CyberWorx and get involved, visit http://www.afcyberworx.org/.

Contact us, at AFCyberWorx@usafa.edu. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

AF CyberWorx Launches Open Design Challenge

AF CYBERWORX LAUNCHES OPEN DESIGN CHALLENGE

An open design challenge will allow for collaboration across the country.

(July 31, 2018; Colorado Springs, CO) – AF CyberWorx is launching its first-ever open design challenge this August. The online competition is designed to allow people to join from across the nation, bringing together an even greater mix of participants from industry, government, and academia.

Participants are asked to design and develop a fitness application that could provide health monitoring, personalized fitness coaching, and medical alerts to help improve the overall health and readiness of airmen.

The foundations for the challenge were laid in April 2017 when AF CyberWorx hosted a design sprint that asked the question, “How can the Air Force leverage the Internet of Things and IT commercial technology to make Air Force bases better places to work?”

Through a series of three human-centered design sprints, participants narrowed the focus to incorporating smart technology into airmen’s fitness training. Adopting a mobile fitness application will not only promote year-round fitness but will also enable a more seamless transition between routine physical training and warfighter performance. Having access to health monitoring and fitness coaching will allow airmen around the globe to improve their health and increase readiness.

When the submissions window opens on August 1, anyone can submit a design idea. On August 30th, only the top eight ideas will be selected to advance to prototyping. During the second phase, participants will be paired with airmen to gain valuable user feedback. AF CyberWorx commitment to connecting developers with users ensures that participants receive feedback to help develop a solution that best solves the challenges airmen are facing.

In September, the top four solutions will be selected and given the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Submissions, Q&A’s and pitches will be completed virtually.

During the final pitches, judges will evaluate solutions and select a winner based on potential impact to the Air Force and airmen, technical maturation and feasibility, usability of data, and overall presentation. Judges will be looking for solutions that both meet specified needs and can be implemented on a large scale. Presenters also must consider this question: will airmen want to adopt this solution?

In conjunction with the open design challenge, the Center for Technology, Research, and Commercialization (C-TRAC) is offering a monetary participation incentive for each team of the eight selected for the second phase. The winning team will receive $20,000 from C-TRAC.

For more information on the open design challenge, and to see where teams should go to participate, visit www.afcyberworx.org/challenge.

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About Air Force Cyberworx

AF CyberWorx is the Air Force’s cyber design and innovation center. It educates airmen and cadets while simultaneously partnering with industry to solve cyber problems facing our nation. To learn more about AF CyberWorx and get involved, visit http://www.afcyberworx.org/.

Contact us, at AFCyberWorx@usafa.edu. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

The Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) Supporting Air Force CyberWorx Announces: US Air Force Smart Bases Design Project

The Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) Supporting Air Force CyberWorx Announces: US Air Force Smart Bases Design Project

Colorado Springs – The Air Force’s CyberWorx program at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), working in cooperation with the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC), will be hosting two semester-long design sprints for the upcoming Fall term. These events will be held at USAFA and will provide industry members an opportunity to collaborate with both cadets and Air Force leadership.  One of these projects will focus on incorporating smart technologies into the Air Force’s Information Technology ecosystem, which aims to improve the quality of life and mission effectiveness for Airmen and cadets (Short name: #AFSmartBases-2).

The #AFSmartBases-2 project will experiment with employing a variety of smart internet technologies to design improvements on six potential areas at the Colorado Springs, CO, base: cadet academics, athletics, health & wellness, military training & readiness, scheduling/time management, and security & accountability. This project offers the opportunity for external partners to better develop Air Force-relevant solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and potential future Air Force Smart Base applications across the military service.

#AFSmartBases-2 offers intriguing challenges to all those who are interested in participating. Air Force Chief of Staff, General Goldfein, has made it a service priority to use data and technologies to improve the lives and mission performance of Airmen working in Air Force squadrons across the service. No matter what the mission, data analytics and technology should be enabling Airmen to make the best decisions and perform their missions effectively.

Julie Karbo, founder and CEO of Karbo Communications, articulated an relevant perspective on the idea of IoT in her article titled, The Internet of Influence: “Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are trending in the news based on their ability to gather unprecedented amounts of information throughout the world and even outperform the human mind on certain tasks. Both gather intelligence and automate billions of tasks to ultimately improve the quality of our lives. While it’s easy to become infatuated with the visionary products that promise to be born of these technologies — flying cars that whisk us to work, robotic implants that will improve our physical performance, and cyborg personal assistants that anticipate our every need. Ultimately, they deliver a better understanding of the people and things in our world and remove the boundaries that affect reach and influence, be they physical or emotional. To this end, how can we ensure we exercise the perfect balance between automation and the human touch?”

CyberWorx, known for taking a “design thinking” approach to solving Air Force cyber problems, sees the first step as very human and not machine-like approach: introspection. What are we trying to accomplish with technology and data analytics? There’s always a danger of letting technology get be the driver, rather than mission performance and the needs of the humans performing those missions. The goal is to make their lives better and learn how we can replicate this impact across the service to help us perform our missions better.

Industry members and academic leaders who wish to contribute to this collaborative, semester-long design sprint are encouraged to begin the process by contacting the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) at info@c-trac.org. Benefits of participating include interfacing with Air Force Academy cadets, Air Force leaders and stakeholders, building relationships and partnerships with other commercial industries, and providing recommendations for implementing and experimenting with commercial products and solutions and data analytics techniques for the Air Force enterprise.

C-TRAC is a 501(c)(3) located on the Catalyst Campus in Colorado Springs supporting the vision of CyberWorx by partnering industry with the CyberWorx program for the facilitation of technology transfer and transition.  Air Force CyberWorx is the Air Force’s cyber innovation center located at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The CyberWorx vision is to unlock the power of people to unleash the power of cyberspace for America’s Air Force.  CyberWorx accelerates operational advantages by moving toward a simpler, more intuitive and agile Air Force created by Airmen and industry innovators.

CyberWorx to Examine Alternatives to GPS for Warfighters in #PNTNext Design Sprint


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, January 25, 2018 – C-TRAC, the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization, is seeking industry partners for the CyberWorx #PNTNext week-long design sprint, planned for February 26 through March 2, 2018 at the United States Air Force Academy.

CyberWorx educates airmen while simultaneously partnering with industry to solve cyber problems facing our nation. Design thinking – a structured framework for understanding and pursuing innovation in ways that encourage outside-the-box thinking – is featured prominently in the CyberWorx process.

The Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (www.c-trac.org), located at the Catalyst Campus in downtown Colorado Springs, is a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports CyberWorx by collaborating to build a dynamic, diverse group of industry participants and project management.

This project asks industry, government and academic experts to team up to create a design for reliable land-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) to complement and back up global positioning systems (GPS) to ensure the availability of uncorrupted PNT data for military and civilian users when GPS signals are corrupted, degraded, unreliable, or otherwise unavailable.

Officially, the problem statement for this design challenge reads, “How might we provide PNT independent of blue force RF signals for small unit overland navigation and timing?”

A directive from Congress specifically requested this issue be investigated due to concerns that the United States is over-reliant on vulnerable GPS technology. As General John Hyten recently said before the Armed Services Committee, “Maybe we were spoiled [because space was once considered a safe environment, but] we can’t assume that anymore. The military needs to look at precision navigation and timing as a mission and build resilience into that architecture as well as defending GPS on orbit.”

Industry members and academic leaders who wish to contribute to this week-long design sprint are encouraged to begin the process by submitting an application at c-trac.org/cyberworx or contacting the Center for Technology, Research, and Commercialization (C-TRAC) at info@c-trac.org with any questions about the sprint. Benefits of participating include interfacing with Air Force leaders and stakeholders, building relationships and partnerships with other commercial industry, and providing recommendations for applying commercial products and solutions to the Air Force enterprise.

C-TRAC is looking for industry partners with expertise including, but not limited to, the following: GPS, satellites, microtechnology, air traffic control, RF transmission, cellular frequencies, network engineering, Internet of Things (IoT) receivers, device manufacturing, and software engineering.

CyberWorx Design Sprint Planned to Create Proof of Concept for IoT “Smart Bases”

CyberWorx Design Sprint Planned to Create Proof of Concept for IoT “Smart Bases”

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, December 15, 2017 – C-TRAC, the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization, will be hosting the week-long #AFSmartBases-3PT CyberWorx Design Sprint at the United States Air Force Academy January 23 – 26, 2018.

CyberWorx educates Air Force Airmen while simultaneously partnering with industry to solve cyber problems facing our Nation. Design thinking – a structured framework for understanding and pursuing innovation in ways that encourage outside-the-box thinking – figures prominently in the CyberWorx Sprint process.

The Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (www.c-trac.org), located at the Catalyst Campus in downtown Colorado Springs, is a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that assists the Academy by supporting the needs of the CyberWorx program.

The #AFSmartBases-3PT Sprint will create a proof of concept, sufficient to create a minimum viable product, for incorporating smart- and cloud-based technologies into physical fitness tracking and testing for Airmen to ensure the Air Force’s personnel readiness and time management during PT testing and back-end reporting and monitoring. This effort will also offer opportunities for conceptualizing, experimenting with, and evaluating the feasibility of using secure IoT technologies for potential Air Force “Smart Base” applications.

This will be the third Sprint to focus on Smart Bases, the creation of Air Force bases that fully leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) and similar “smart” technologies to improve mobility, automation, learning and sharing, and cybersecurity. The previous two Smart Bases Sprints were successful at demonstrating the advantages of this approach, and this Sprint will build on their results.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson recently pointed out, “Innovation is the hallmark of the United States Air Force. From time to time it is important to refresh our science and technology strategy, to step back from the programs and problems of today and project 10 or 20 years into the future.” The #AFSmartBases-3PT Design Sprint expects to further this objective with the additional analysis and prototyping of Smart Base technologies.

CyberWorx is looking for industry partners to explore and experiment with the best ways to move forward on Smart Base concepts. Industry members and academic leaders who wish to contribute to this week-long design sprint are encouraged to begin the process by contacting the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) at info@c-trac.org or applying here. Benefits of participating include interfacing with Air Force cadets, Air Force leaders and stakeholders, building relationships and partnerships with other commercial industry participants, and providing recommendations for implementing commercial products and solutions and data analytics techniques for the Air Force enterprise.

Industry partners from the following fields are invited to apply: Fitness Technology, Fitness Performance Measurement & Tracking, Data Management & Analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), Technology Innovation, Wearables, RFID, Health Care, Physical Training, Systems Engineering, IT Systems, Back-End Data Support, Fitness/Gym CIO.

#Amped600AF Design Sprint

#Amped600AF Design Sprint

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, November 3, 2017 – C-TRAC, the Center for Commercialization, Research and Technology, will be supporting a CyberWorx Design Sprint in December 2017 with a focus on the best way to meld the now-separate Cyberspace with Global ISR – Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities to improve warfighting.

CyberWorx educates Air Force cadets while simultaneously partnering with industry to solve cyber problems facing our Nation. Design thinking – a structured framework for understanding and pursuing innovation in ways that encourage outside-the-box thinking – figures prominently in the CyberWorx Design Sprint process. Typically five days long, a Sprint originates with a problem statement. In this case, the problem to be examined is: “How might we eliminate operational barriers between USAF Cyberspace and ISR Operations?”

“We’re certainly looking at how do we better integrate and close the seams between cyberspace operations, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, information operations,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Weggeman, commander of the 24th Air Force, also referred to as AFCYBER, in a recently published interview. Integrating that portfolio more seamlessly will allow warfighters to operate agilely and leverage new, innovative ISR and Cyber capabilities. This opportunity is much bigger than simply merging together two numbered Air Forces (the 24th and 25th, both at Lackland AFB) to achieve synergy; this opportunity is about moving toward multi-domain thinking in Air Force operations and unleashing the talent of our cyber and ISR forces in executing and supporting missions.

C-TRAC plans to identify industry thought leaders to work with representatives of the DoD and Air Force during the Sprint to consider how best to restructure Cyberspace and Global ISR operations to simplify their collaboration and increase their agility, thus helping them to complement each other more effectively. Diversity of experience is prized, as it enhances the overall creativity of the group.

C-TRAC will interview a variety of applicants to determine if they will be a good fit for the diverse group of industry experts envisioned for this Sprint, depending upon background and experience. C-TRAC invites any interested member of private sector industry to contact C-TRAC at info@c-trac.org  or at (719) 896-5087 ext. 209 with any questions and visit our CyberWorx Page to apply to participate.