Focused on innovation

  • Published
  • By Thomas Jones
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Business Transformation Office
Improving processes and finding ways to be more efficient is a daily goal of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Business Transformation Office.

One way the office accomplishes this is by hosting senior leadership courses, focused on leading and enabling Airmen to embrace change and not accept the status quo.

The Continuous Process Improvement Senior Leadership Course is designed to provide colonels, chief master sergeants and senior civilians with leadership skills that give them an understanding of how to manage organizational performance and strategically align CPI using Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century tools.

Class participants engage in group projects, simulations and lectures to hone their skills in strategic and tactical level CPI activities.

The USAFE-AFAFRICA BTO recently hosted a senior leader course for 30 students at the Woodlawn Golf Course here.

"This senior leaders course was an excellent opportunity to focus USAFE-AFAFRICA key leaders on how they can think about solving resource challenges," said Col. William Anderson, chief of the USAFE-AFAFRICA BTO.

Becoming more innovative is something Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, 3rd Air Force commander, said is something all Airmen should be focused on.

"The Air Force will always need to look for ways to innovate, and the first step in innovation should always be to ask the question 'Is this process or task even valid anymore?' Franklin said.

Franklin said it is appropriate to get rid of processes if they no longer serve a purpose.

"We should use tools like AFSO21 to make what's left as efficient as possible," he said. "Part of efficiency is giving time back to our people. Commanders need to use innovation and gain efficiency so we give back time for our Airmen; time that we can use to professionally develop our Airmen and time for our Airmen to invest in their families."

Chuck Parke, SLC instructor from the University of Tennessee's Center of Executive Education, said the Air Force will continue to face significant challenges in the future; the key is knowing how to respond.

AFSO21 training is intended to arm senior leaders with the tools to eliminate non-value added activities that burden Airmen. Activities that will likely overwhelm the future force with continued reductions in resources, Parke said.

These tools have proven to be successful in the Air Force and in industry, he added.

Proper use of AFSO21 tools, Parke said, enables the innovative spirit of Airmen to be unleashed.

"With all of the gloom surrounding current and future fiscal forecasts, it's helpful to remember that we are still in charge of our own destiny if we can learn to change and become smarter in what we do and how we do it," Anderson added.

The USAFE-AFAFRICA BTO is designed to serve as a catalyst for command-level continuous process improvement efforts, empowering Airmen to be innovative in solving problems at all levels and to provide the best operational effectiveness and customer service possible.

For information about courses provided by the USAFE-AFAFRICA BTO, call DSN 314-480-1045 or Commercial 06371-47-1045.