We invite motivated members of the Department of the Air Force to join with a group of allies and partners to apply for the next cohort of Project Mercury. We are looking for individuals who are ready for rapid and immersive learning and are dedicated to building the innovation culture, competencies, and community that multinational Air and Space Forces need.
Cohort 10 applications are open through April 12. Participants will be admitted on a rolling basis. In each cohort of 40, you will be placed with up to 6 individuals on a team. This experience is designed to encourage constructive conflict in the pursuit of outcomes greater than those that could be achieved individually or in your AFCS silo. Be prepared to leave rank - and pretense - at the door. What matters at Mercury are the strength of your ideas and the team’s ability to think big, together.
It is imperative that participants have their commander’s support for this endeavor. The 1 week TDY (Monday evening, May 15 - Friday, May 20) for the Jumpstart is unit-funded. During the 12 following weeks, a minimum of 5 hours per week is required for live virtual coaching (every Tuesday afternoon ~2 hours), synchronous time to work on team projects (2+ hours), and asynchronous personal academic requirements (1hr per week). As part of the application process, supervisors will be asked for their support, endorsement, and a plan for how to give you that time in your week. We believe that the time spent in Project Mercury is a sound investment; having unit support is imperative to allow each participant to give their best.
Schedule and time commitment:
(a) Prework (May 8-12) Approximately 5 hours of self-paced readings, videos, and platform familiarization is required prior to attending the Jumpstart.
(b) Orientation (May 9, virtual/Zoom): This half-day teams-and-tools orientation session will set up teams for hybrid work.
(c) Jumpstart (May 16-19, TDY): This is a concentrated week of lectures, breakout sessions, creative exercises, field trips, and team formation. It is lively and immersive! This is a mandatory component. Travel and lodging (TDY) will be unit funded for participants. [Location: MGM WERX, Montgomery, AL]
(d) Acceleration (12 weeks, virtual). Asynchronous and synchronous sessions. The time commitment is a minimum of 5 hours per week. Participants will complete online course work while simultaneously working on an experiential project with their remote teammates. Coaching and mentorship is provided throughout the course, typically every Tuesday afternoon from 1-4 ET. A minimum of 2 hours per week as a team is expected and this ongoing time commitment is also mandatory.
(e) Pitch: Each team will surge during the final week and pitch their solution for adoption or further development to a potential sponsor.
(f) Innovation Showcase (15 Aug 23): The capstone graduation event, which will be viewable on Zoom and YouTube.
The successful completion of this course will result in a credential earned through the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering in collaboration with Air University: Certified Professional Innovator.
Up to 20% of participants will be given an opportunity to return to apprentice as Innovation Coaches under the guidance of Dr. Jeff DeGraff, University of Michigan and Dr. Ethan Eagle.
*** Before proceeding, please take 5 minutes to complete the iGENOME survey. The results of this innovation strengths survey will be used in team formation.