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Accelerating Innovation Release date 24.08.2017
From a carpool application, through a new enlistment plan for immigrants, to improved human resources: Sgt. Regenbaum and Cpl. Bechor brought the Accelerator to the IAF – a project realization program, meant to bring projects from the planning stage to the practical stage in ten weeks
Tal Giladi

Sgt. Ilan Regenbaum (27) and Cpl. Gal Bechor (23) are soldiers from the IAF's Innovation Department who enlisted after immigrating to Israel from the United States. The two, who had already been experienced entrepreneurs upon enlisting, have established the IAF Accelerator – a program intended to realize projects, and bring them from planning to praxis in ten weeks' time.

The project's participants are officers, NCOs and soldiers of all ranks and positions who were chosen to develop projects across various fields in the IAF. Four projects have recently received official approval from the IAF Chief of Staff: an application due to enable carpooling to and from air force bases across the country; an HR management system for units such as squadrons and control towers; a new process due to ease IAF enlistment for immigrants and ensure their placement in positions befitting of their professional training; and the development of a plan to promote enlistment in the “Blue Steel” service program.

Photos courtesy of the IAF Innovation Department

Planning Ahead
"After building the ‘innovation stage’, a virtual platform for suggesting projects, we wanted to create a process that would turn the projects that were submitted into finished products. We were acquainted with the Accelerator model, which exists in large companies, and came up with the idea of implementing it in the IAF", said Sgt. Regenbaum. "Some companies give a project six months to go from planning to praxis, and some give it just a few weeks, but we decided on ten weeks".

Hundreds of IAF servicemen and women submitted a request to participate in the accelerator. 40 servicemen and women were. They were divided into teams, each one leading a project based on a challenge mapped out by the IAF commanders, Sgt. Regenbaum, and Cpl. Bechor. "Ranks didn't mean anything, but creativity and interest did. One team could have a Major, two young officers and a Corporal, and the youngest officer would run the meetings", said Cpl. Gal.

Photos courtesy of the IAF Innovation Department

Ambassadors of Innovation
"Sometimes it seems like it's difficult to be innovative in the military because of its structure and hierarchy. Our department was established to embed innovative thought into the large system that is the IAF", Cpl. Bechor stated. "The IAF was the first branch in the IDF to establish an Accelerator and an entire department dedicated to innovation, and it's palpable that the force is incredibly receptive to new ideas and to thinking outside of the box".

Photos courtesy of the IAF Innovation Department

Do It Yourself
Sgt. Regenbaum and Cpl. Bechor believe that an Accelerator can be established in any kind of environment – even in our day-to-day life. "This project was our start-up. At first, we all thought that we were just simple soldiers, and spent our time on other things. We had a million excuses, but when the will came, our work had no boundaries and we rose above our expectations. At the first event, you may be a bit shy", they smiled and said, "but a few weeks later, you'll be speaking with an executive and infecting him with your excitement. Don't limit yourselves".