Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division is embracing Navy leadership’s vision of strengthening its people through culture change with high-velocity learning (HVL) as the tool to identify and implement this change.
Dr. Tom Marino, an engineer with the Corporate Business Office and Carderock’s HVL lead, has been holding regular brown-bag meetings to educate the workforce on what HVL means, how to use it and what it can help them achieve. He held the third of these brown bags at Carderock’s West Bethesda, Maryland, headquarters August 9, 2017.
“HVL really comes from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson; it’s an initiative he puts forth in his Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” Marino said to start the brief. “He has four primary objectives: strengthening our naval power, strengthening our people, strengthening our teams and strengthening our network of partners. HVL is really about strengthening our people through culture change. We do that by leveraging knowledge.”
Marino went over HVL basics for first-time attendees and spoke about the four S’s of HVL: see, swarm, share, sustain. He said the “see” part is about detecting problems as they occur, identifying normalized deviation–workarounds used in daily work that can lead to long-term problems–and reporting those problems, as well as the solutions.
“HVL is not a template for solving problems, but for how we report them, and that plays in with sharing, as well,” Marino said. “Normalized deviation can kick the can of a problem down the road to someone else separated by time and distance.”
Marino also talked about swarming, saying it’s about applying resources quickly to all available shareholders to prevent bias from entering a process. He then introduced the brown bag’s first speaker and Carderock’s director for unmanned vehicles and autonomous systems, Reid McAllister. McAllister has been a Carderock employee for 32 years and is now seeing an idea he had back in 1991 come to fruition through HVL today.
August 9, 2017 - Reid McAllister, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s director of unmanned vehicles and autonomous systems, discusses high-velocity learning during a brown bag at Carderock’s West Bethesda, MD headquarters. Carderock and other entities within Naval Sea Systems Command are holding regular meetings like these to educate the workforce on this tool for professional culture change championed by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson in the Design for Maritime Superiority that he released in January 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Edvin Hernandez)
“It had everything to do with collaboration and how all the Warfare Centers come together and focus,” McAllister said. “I realized that Carderock Division does unmanned systems, so do the Dahlgren and Panama City divisions. They all have pockets of autonomy capability, but we’re not doing it together. What we’re doing is absolutely duplication of effort across all the Warfare Centers.
“I wanted to put together a team that kind of addressed that and instead of us duplicating each other’s efforts, we would bring the right expertise from each of the Warfare Centers and we would do this a lot cheaper, more effectively and collaboratively.”
The Unmanned Vehicle and Autonomous Systems (UVAS) Warfare Center Working Group stood up in September 2015 with representatives from all 10 Warfare Centers all swarming the same problems. Since then, the UVAS Group has held weekly phone conferences and periodic off-site meetings incorporating younger engineers and seeing and swarming problems together.
“What we’re trying to do is find out where we should actually be going relative to unmanned systems as an organization of all 10 Warfare Centers,” McAllister said. “We’ll use some tools to ‘see’ the problem. One is a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then we drop into that swarm mode where we start centering on concepts and ideas and how to move forward organizationally to solve problems. We are on the phone every week sharing our failures and successes, providing awareness on upcoming events.
“As far as ‘sustain’ goes, what we are trying to do is go after the culture. I’ve spoken to engineers at other Warfare Centers who said they weren’t willing to work with Carderock before we started doing this. Through relationship building, negative perceptions are waning. I try to operate in total transparency and I’m happy to report that two years in, it is working and relationships are getting stronger. Operating transparently can be a pain and it has its costs, but it certainly has greater benefits than operating alone. I think it’s better for the warfighter and that’s the most important thing.”
Jonathan Hopkins heads up a similar organization, Carderock’s Additive Manufacturing Warfare Center (AMWC) Working Group. He said this group is looking at different ways to build quality, usable structures for the Department of the Navy that deliver on the promise of unmanned projects like the Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator, a 30-foot proof-of-concept hull that is modeled after today’s SEAL Delivery Vehicle, but cannot yet operate in the water.
“We’ve helped grow this working group into an executive committee that brings in the Marine Corps and everyone across the naval enterprise to align our efforts and make sure everything is building toward enabling this technology as quickly and safely as possible within the fleet,” said Hopkins, a mechanical engineer who also oversees Carderock’s Additive Manufacturing Project Office. “My team is collaborating with industry and academia, as well as with Dr. Joe Teter, Carderock’s technology transfer director, to develop cooperative research and development agreements with different companies. There are constantly announcements about new processes in additive manufacturing (AM) and we want to make sure we are making the right investments across the Navy, but that we are also abreast of the newest developments so when we are called on, we can make informed recommendations on how to move forward with the technology.”
Hopkins said AM software is maturing to better understand the intricacies of the processes involved in 3-D printing and the working group is doing research to build on these advances. He called collaboration with partners like Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the other members of the working group key to Carderock and the Navy using this technology to its full potential. He also talked about Carderock’s Manufacturing, Knowledge and Education (MAKE) Laboratory, a facility that inspires creativity and innovation by offering training to all employees in this enabling technology, including those unfamiliar with the 3-D process, and encouraging knowledge sharing among employees.
Hopkins and McAllister agreed that all federal employees and contractors can benefit from HVL, not just those at Carderock and NAVSEA. They hope to continue to sustain the knowledge sharing fostered by their working groups and believe these groups are a good model for others to emulate in building relationships through HVL. The next HVL brief (date to be announced) at Carderock will discuss iNFUSION and its applications for HVL, according to Marino.
By U.S. Navy Dustin Q. Diaz, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
Provided through DVIDS
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