JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
Air Education and Training Command's new iMatter website gives all command Total Force Airmen access to an AETC-specific tool for sharing innovations and improvement ideas.
The concept took hold based on Gen. Robin Rand, AETC commander, hearing ideas directly from Airmen during his command site visits.
"Air Education and Training Command has great Airmen doing great things every day," said Rand. "I want every Airman in the command to know they have a voice to me - 24/7. In addition to my AETC Commander Facebook page and the AETC public website, iMatter helps accomplish this goal by offering a venue to post innovative suggestions or ideas."
iMatter allows AETC Airmen to post their suggestions for improving processes and procedures as well as their ideas on how to improve the command. Airmen provide their inputs via a simple, online form. Then, each submission is reviewed by the AETC Innovation and Transformation Office, which oversees the command's Air Force Smart Operations program. According to rules of engagement posted on the iMatter site, posts must be respectful and well-researched and not complaints or personal opinions.
"No idea is off limits," said Charles Wyatt, master process owner for the AETC Air Force Smart Operations program, "but this is not the Inspector General Complaint System."
Once an idea is submitted, the ITO sends the idea to the appropriate functional area of responsibility to consider. Depending on the response from the functional, the ITO staff may see if there is an opportunity to apply their AFSO skills in ways such as conducting additional research or holding an AFSO event. For each idea, the exact process differs depending on the scope of the recommendation or problem.
"We really do try, as much as reasonably possible, to implement submitters' ideas, and we'd like to get the entire process - from beginning to end - completed as quickly as possible," said Wyatt. "And just about every step of the way, as a suggestion moves along the path, the submitter gets notified and informed about the status of the idea."
With iMatter now live, AETC leadership is looking to Airmen at all levels to begin using the site and submitting their ideas. AETC will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of iMatter around the July-August timeframe to measure the site's impact, according to Maj. Alan Haedge, chief of command policy and special programs for AETC, so now is the time for Airmen to make their voices heard.
"Think about the power that 62,000 Airmen across AETC can have," said Haedge. "There are tons of folks out there with great, innovative ideas; hopefully they'll take the time to put those ideas on the iMatter site. Commercial entities such as USAA and Starbucks actually use similar tools and have had great success. In fact, USAA has generated over 500 patents since 2010 with their respective innovation program."
"This program is intended to help complement existing Air Force programs and to focus on AETC-specific areas of innovation," added Haedge.
To start using iMatter, Airmen can visit the site, https://app10-eis.aetc.af.mil/imatter/SitePages/home.aspx
, and access a variety of resources, including an iMatter User’s Guide and instructional videos. Each iMatter site visitor must use his/her Common Access Card (CAC) and select the non-email CAC certificate in order to access the site. For non-CAC users or to find out more, contact the AETC Innovation and Transformation Office at AETC.AFSO21.Workflow@us.af.mil