United States Air Force Academy
STUDENT INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
All US Air Force Academy cadets have the opportunity to take a few sporadic classes about innovation and entrepreneurship, depending on their majors. However, regardless of major, all cadets are given the opportunity to take the Technological Innovation Management class, which gives the students the knowledge to develop ideas or products into businesses. Additionally, the Management department provides their students with brief concepts in regards to innovation and entrepreneurship. Lastly, students are exposed and given the opportunity to join the Association for Innovation (A4I), a fairly new club at school that offers avenues to encourage and facilitate innovation.
FACULTY INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Proctor and Gamble grants are given out to faculty members to incentive them to lead innovative projects. Aside from this opportunity, faculty are given the ability to participate with our Air Force Cyberworx lab and its associated projects as well as with AFWERX. From the Cadet perspective, however, the majority of our faculty are not involved with these innovative opportunities. Although the Air Force encourages innovation for all Airmen, our campus should start encouraging its faculty to innovate and think disruptively more often.
UNIVERSITY TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER FUNCTION
The Air Force Academy has a facility it calls Cyberworx, which is a space on campus where faculty, students, and other military personnel have the ability to combine experience with world-class technology in an effort to tackle problems the Air Force faces every day. This environment encourages design thinking so that Cadets and faculty can fail fast and often, in order to consequently succeed more quickly and frequently. Our Cyberworx facility has recently announced plans to expand into a new and improved building that will, to an even greater extent, promote disruptive and innovative thinking for our future Air Force leaders.
There also exists a Center for Innovation at the Air Force Academy. At this location, cadets can receive sponsorship and funding to perform innovative research projects over the summer. They can also utilize this resource to work on independent research project during the academic year.
Something fairly unique to the Air Force Academy is that all majors are exposed to industry through their capstone projects. Senior year cadets get the opportunity to work on real world projects with major companies to help solve their problems and issues. This allows students to see how private industry works and bring about innovative ways to the US Air Force.
REGIONAL AND LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
The sole engagement in regards to local economic development efforts is the QUAD Partnership, which is sponsored by A4I. The goal of QUAD is the collaboration between the four local universities to improve the greater Colorado Springs area. This particular opportunity is only given to a few cadets annually, in which they are selected from a committee.