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Banshee training program inspires Airmen to innovate

Banshee trainee Tiffany Dille (right) presents her team’s challenge statement plan of action during the virtual wrap-up event for the fifth Banshee training program cohort Nov. 19.

Banshee trainee Tiffany Dille (right) presents her team’s challenge statement plan of action during the virtual wrap-up event for the fifth Banshee training program cohort Nov. 19. The program, a partnership between Hanscom Air Force Base, MassChallenge and the Air Force Research Lab, is designed to help participants incorporate innovative ideas and approaches into their daily work. (Courtesy photo)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The fifth iteration of the Banshee training program culminated in a Nov. 19 virtual wrap up event featuring guest speakers and trainee challenge statement presentations.

The program, a partnership between Hanscom Air Force Base, MassChallenge and the Air Force Research Lab, is designed to help participants incorporate innovative ideas and approaches into their daily work. This cohort, comprised of 39 participants from the Digital Directorate; the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate; the Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems; the 66th Air Base Group; the Air Force Research Laboratory; and the Special Operations Command, as well as National Guard and Army personnel, took part in training sessions Nov. 15-18.

Keynote speaker Dr. Will Roper, former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, encouraged the participants not to allow limitations to keep them from pursuing innovative solutions and culture changes within their respective units.

“No matter what constraints you’re under, find a way to innovate within those constraints and make the constraints a catalyst for creativity,” he said. “My experience is that if you find a way to spark innovation and bring people in so they are co-creators, co-owners, partners with you in that innovation, then opportunities find you.”

Trainees were broken up into four groups, working as teams to identify challenges and brainstorm solutions around acquisition innovation, cybersecurity and digital engineering.

Banshee trainee and PEO Digital contracting officer Adam Correau’s team was focused on acquisition innovation, specifically tackling how acquisition programs can overcome “cultural stagnation” and “policy barriers” and build on the momentum of current innovative acquisition strategies.

“We have to be able to accept risk and be vulnerable to failing and learning from that [failure],” Correau said during his presentation.

Tiffany Dille, a program manager in the Digital Directorate, presented her team’s plan of action for their challenge statement, which focused on providing “efficient tools and training to the acquisition workforce.”

“Our team will meet up after the holidays to talk about submitting a challenge statement to AFWERX,” she said.

Hanscom senior leaders from PEO Digital, C3I&N and CROWS joined the wrap up event and offered advice and encouragement to the participants.

“This stuff excites me, because you’re the future,” Joe Bradley, director of CROWS and of Engineering and Technical Management at Hanscom, said to the trainees during his closing remarks. “This is about being a change agent. You invested your time and effort and the Air Force invested in you being here. Now let’s make a difference. Let’s be that change we really need in order to meet and fight our near peer competitors.”