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R&D for the Corps and the Nation
R&D has a very important role in current engagements and in planning for future needs of the Soldier and the Nation. The Directorate of Research and Development builds strategic relationships in science and technology and enables the development of new national-level capabilities. The Engineer Research and Development Center conducts world-class R&D in an innovative program exceeding $1.5 billion that supports over 600 customers in the Army, other services, the Department of Defense, and the Nation.

Knowledge Management and Innovation
Globalization, through the use of the internet, emerging social media technologies, mobile computing, and increased digital information storage capacity, CPU power, and network speeds, has rapidly influenced how we share information. In the face of dwindling budgets, an aging workforce, and critical issues of network security, the Corps must closely examine the management of its intellectual assets in order to maintain its relevance as an engineering and scientific leader supporting the warfighter and the Nation. Knowledge Management offers a range of strategies and practices to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. The Army perspective on Knowledge Management consists of “connecting those who know with those who need to know, leveraging knowledge across the organization and business partners, and sharing knowledge with no structural or technical barriers” that results in “creating, organizing, applying, and transferring knowledge to facilitate situational understanding and decision making.” Knowledge Management not only can enhance our technical and business decision-making processes, but also can improve our responsiveness to our customers and stakeholders, increase efficiency and innovation, and capture the knowledge of our most valuable resource – our dedicated team members who span the globe.

Culture of innovation is an intrinsic aspect of any organization. Invariably, the notion of “organizational culture” (i.e., “the way we do things around here”) is a pervasive theme in strategic discussions of how complex organizations such as ours can best adapt and respond to the myriad risks and challenges that USACE is likely to face in the coming decades. Given these challenges the topic of culture has occupied an increasingly prominent place in discussions centered on the future needs, requirements, and direction of USACE. Culture and innovation play an important role in providing organizations with important “keys to success”. The vision of culture articulated here seeks to provide the greatest value to our mission and customers, guided, ultimately, by our core principles and values.

Innovation Questions for Discussion:
  • What does innovation mean to you and your organization?
  • Does an activity like the Innovation Award help initiate thinking and action about innovation?
  • What type of activities have you initiated to promote innovation (i.e., forums, websites, awards/recognition programs)?
  • Have you attempted to formalize the capture of innovation on project or corporate levels?
  • Does the application of innovation invite risk? Are the risks worth taking?
  • Has your organization invested resources toward innovation related activities and collaboration?
  • How can your organization embrace and support innovation as a cultural element/value and have it inculcated into values, thought processes, leader commitment/behavior and reward structures?
[As of 6 September 2011]