NavalX, the U.S. Navy’s newest innovation office that launched in 2019, has continued efforts to innovate and transform the workforce. Director of the unit, Capt. Frank Futcher, has discussed recent initiatives within the department since NavalX was established.
Futcher will also serve as a panelist during Potomac Officers Club’s 2020 Navy Forum on September 30th. Futcher is a career Navy Supply Officer and currently assigned to the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.
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“NavalX is quite a bit different from those other organizations,” Futcher said. “We’re not scouting technology… Our focus is much more on the workforce and how we can deliver mechanisms and tools to that workforce to make them more agile.”
NavalX has drawn upon similar techniques as innovation arms within the federal government, such as SOFWERX, AFWERX, and the Defense Innovation Unit. NavalX has united the military, industry and academia to work on challenges within the private sector and develop new solutions to modernize practices.
“We live in an environment today that is very complex, filled with uncertainty,” he said. “There’s a lot of talk about change. Our goal is: How do we adapt to that change? NavalX is trying to essentially find a lot of tools and methods that allow our workforce to be more agile, move a little bit faster and adapt to those changes in the environment.”
The NavalX office has worked to find innovative solutions to the service’s workforce problems while simultaneously developing best practices that will help the Navy’s other divisions to advance solutions. NavalX has also created playbooks to push federal agility.
Recently, NavalX published the first chapter of a cloud migration playbook as well as wikis on agile scrum development, building analytics teams, using other transaction authorities for procurement and crowdsourcing.
“Navy has been innovative in many ways over time. But that innovation has tended to be siloed,” he said. “So, NavalX mission is to find those individuals—those siloes of innovation—capture what they’re doing, share them with the rest of the Navy and then, hopefully, that allows other parts of the Navy to learn and move faster.”