ATLANTA— The Marne Innovation Team from the 3rd Infantry Division, along with students and researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, held their second annual Marne Innovation Workshop in Atlanta from Jan. 5-8, 2023. The goal of this workshop was to help facilitate partnerships between participants while developing new techniques for building innovative solutions to modern problems.
The Marne Innovation Program started in June 2021 and made an instant impact by signing an educational partnership agreement with the Georgia Institute of Technology in August of that year. The program identifies current capability gaps within 3rd ID and then works with industry and academic partners to rapidly identify, develop, and implement solutions while fostering a culture of a bottom-up innovation; solving today's problems with today's technology.
“The Marne Innovation Program is an effort at the 3rd Infantry Division and over here at Georgia Tech Research Institute,” said Andy Chang, the lead Georgia Tech Research Institute coordinator. “We’ve been partnering with 3rd ID to come up with creative, innovative solutions that are Soldier derived but then get a little bit of love from the engineering students here at Georgia Tech and GTRI.”
The Marne Innovation Program held its first workshop in January 2022 where Soldiers, students and researchers were able to work together and come up with problem sets that they identified. That November, Soldiers were given the chance to represent their units and present issues and pitch ideas on how to solve them for the chance to bring their idea to life at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The workshop set out to find a solution in countering and mitigating the enemy's capabilities through the building of a device using locally-sourced materials with minimal building experience.
“We took Soldier’s ideas and problems that real Soldiers in this room identified in their formations,” said 1st Lt. Chris Aliperti, the 3rd ID deputy innovation officer. “They presented them as shark-tank style back in November at Fort Stewart. We pulled a few of those problems together and formed the [current] problem statement. Teams of Soldiers, students and researchers will work together to tackle different portions of this problem and see if we can advance it toward a solution.”
Maj. Patrick Kerins, the 3rd ID innovation officer, described the number one way to build a culture of innovation within 3rd ID and the Army is by exposing Soldiers to different ways of thinking, problem solving, design and methodologies and levels of experience.
“If we can build Soldiers to innovate in garrison, we’re building Soldiers that can adapt in being dynamic in combat where it’s going to matter,” said Kerins.
The 3rd ID is currently on a modernization path that includes new equipment, weapons and vehicles across the division. The Marne Innovations Program complements this modernization push by focusing on enhancing and broadening its Soldiers intellectually through new industry and academic partnerships, and in new directions for problems.
Innovation fosters a culture of development for Soldiers by giving them technical skills learned through education while also giving time back to the Soldiers so they can focus on honing lethality. Those benefits contribute to any mission 3rd ID receives, whether it’s deploying, conducting garrison operations, or modernizing the force. As modernization continues across the Division, the Marne Innovations Program will provide Soldiers an outlet for Soldiers to innovate and solve problems.