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Think Tank

"Adapt or die..."

Please watch the introductory video first: "Play at Work"

Think Tank is an opportunity for a select group of students to tackle a major issue and present creative solutions to senior leaders.  It is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging and students are expected to work well beyond the SOS curriculum.  The rewards for both the students and the USAF, however, can be enormous.  Team members receive intensive coaching on design principles adapted from the best practices in industry, academia, and militaries from across the world.  What you will learn and practice are directly applicable to the strategic thinking skills that are highly valuable to leaders at all levels.  In the past, this approach has generated innovative ideas at all levels of the Air Force.

The specific challenge for the next class and application instruction are below.

Think Tank & alumni in the news:

Squadron Officer School revamps Think Tank model, AI-aided PCS proposal draws attention: "Squadron Officer School revamps Think Tank model, AI-aided PCS draws attention"
SOS student partners with MGMWERX to promote innovation, entrepreneurship "SOS student partners with MGMWERX to promote innovation, entrepreneurship"
Here is a look how the Think Tank project are tracked and progressing from 19A to present: Think Tank Project Tracker


*Note: The Air University Advanced Research (AUAR) elective is a separate program with a separate application process. Please only apply to the one that interests you the most.  Both are rigorous efforts that will be noted on Training Reports (AF Form 475) and both will expose you to different areas of Air University.


Design Challenge for Class 20B

The challenge for 20B is "How might Airmen become mentally, emotionally, physically, and/or relationally stronger as a result of everything that happens to and around them?"

  CLICK HERE to view the Think Tank Canvas page.

Application Instructions

  1. Review the following resources:  

a.  Introduction to Design Thinking video Stages of Design Thinking ALL STAGES

b. The power of reframing (i.e. "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change": Reframing Problems

i. The following videos are optional, but may help explain the skill of creative reframing (which is part of the application):

1. Eric Knight Ted Talk

2. (Re)framing - The first step toward innovative ideas

ii. You are encouraged to find additional resources to help you understand the design challenge.

2.  Take this short quiz via the hyperlink: Jeff Degraff (click on "How do you innovate"). We'll discuss the results during the one-day workshop at the offsite location.

3.  Complete the application:

a.  On a 4" x 6" card (blank cards and an example are available outside Room 208), write the following information on one side:

i.  Name, AFSC, Flight #, Cell #, and Personal Email

ii.  Results of your Innovation Genome quiz

iii.  What is the single most valuable skill you will bring to the team?

b.  On the other side of the card, sketch some ways to creatively reframe the issues that prevent Airmen from becoming mentally, emotionally, physically, and relationally stronger and more effective.

c. Turn in your card NLT 0730 on 15 January.  Application drop boxes will be located outside each student squadron command section.

Notifications will be made week 1 through your SOS squadron chain of command.

Thank you for your interest in playing with wild ideas!

-The Think Tank Coaching Staff






25 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112