Fort Benning Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Ever had what you thought was a good idea to improve things where you live or work, but maybe thought no one was interested in hearing it?
Fort Benning's top leadership is definitely interested in good ideas, so much so they've set up a competition – modeled partly on the "Shark Tank" hit TV show – where you can get your idea heard and maybe even win a few things in the process.
The deadline is Feb.1 for submitting ideas online to the Maneuver Innovation Challenge. Winners will be announced Feb. 15. The Challenge opened for submissions Dec. 1.
Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning wants to make sure that ordinary Soldiers – even the most junior in rank – as well as civilians, get a chance to bring good ideas to the attention of key leaders.
"It can be as mundane as fixing things like how we in-process Soldiers, to you figuring out the next cutting-edge piece of technology we require," Donahoe says in one of several recent videos on the new initiative.
"The best ideas are not going to come from some old, staid general," he says in the video.
"They're gonna come from some young sergeant figuring out the next great solution. So join us in the Maneuver Innovation Program, and let's figure out the next big idea."
The Challenge's panel of judges will screen the ideas, choose the ones they want to hear about in more detail, question the contestants about their ideas, then choose the best three submissions, said Mike Dempsey, MCoE's Secretary to the General Staff.
Contestants whose ideas make that final cut will:
• Get a four-day pass.
• Be Donahoe's guests for a luncheon at MCoE headquarters here.
• Get official backing to attend the training course of their choice at Fort Benning, if they meet enrollment qualifications.
Among training opportunities at Fort Benning are the Air Assault Course, U.S. Army Airborne School, and U.S. Army Ranger School. Civilian winners would also receive awards, possibly including support to attend training courses for civilians.
MCoE trains Soldiers to serve in the Armor and Infantry branches, which make up the Army's maneuver force. In addition to training paratroopers and Rangers, MCoE trains snipers, as well as others hoping to qualify in various military specialties.
The Challenge is similar to the business-themed "Shark Tank" reality TV show. There, contestants seek financial backing for their business ideas by outlining them to a group of veteran business people, who then decide whether to invest.
Ideas can be submitted on the Challenge's webpage.
Submissions must state:
• The specific problem being addressed.
• The recommended solution.
• How the problem affects Fort Benning.
• Relevant additional details or background information about the problem.
• A topic tag that applies to the submission.
• A unit tag that shows the submitter's organization or unit.
The current competition focuses on how to streamline administrative processes that affect Soldiers, civilians and Army families. Those could include in-processing, out-processing, seeking on-post housing, and matters related to training.
"Winning matters," Donahoe says in another of the videos about the Challenge. "We all know that. The only way we win, is by innovating. So that's why we need you to join us in the Maneuver Innovation Program. Need you to sign up, we need you to compete, we need your best ideas."