by Tech. Sgt. Beth Anschutz
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
9/23/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO RANDOLPH, Texas -- Airmen can now download an Air Force mobile application designed to help them better get at the root of workplace problems.
Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, or AFSO21, is the Air
Force's 8-Step Problem Solving method and the application puts AFSO21
resources right at their fingertips. The application, available for free
download from the two most popular mobile marketplaces, provides a
breakdown of problem solving steps with common tools and a rubric for
each step. A glossary of AFSO21 terms wrapped up with tools and
methodologies related to other problem solving models is also available.
The Air Force 8-step problem solving model is taught to Airmen through
AFSO21 and Professional Military Education programs to generate
efficiencies and improve combat capabilities across the Air Force.
Although the application was developed with a focus on AFSO21
facilitators, any Airman will benefit from the application's
user-friendly steps when working through a problem.
"This application will make problem solving information more readily
available to any Airman who wants to help improve processes within their
organization," said Dan Kjolhede from the Air Education and Training
Command Chief Learning Office. "Instead of having to rely on a piece of
paper, they can use their smart device. The steps are available to them
Process improvements come in different forms, from a quick fix to a more
complex problem that requires time and coordination through several
organizations. The AFSO21 application provides a one-stop resource with
detailed information on each step in the problem-solving process and
interactive tools providing users with an avenue to take photos, record
data, populate charts and graphs, and store their inputs on their mobile
The AETC Chief Learning Office used this development project as a
reconnaissance mission of sorts with hopes of paving the way for more
applications. With service-wide budget cuts, the Air Force is
transforming its training model to maintain its edge in education and
"Our mission is to transform education, and mobile applications will
play a big part in that," said A.J. Ranft, AETC's Chief Learning
Officer. "This was a great way for us to build a mobile device framework
for use in the future."
Although the CLO team learned a lot through the application development
process, they hope to gain even more information from the users.
"Feedback functions are embedded into the application," Kjolhede said.
"We're looking forward to feedback from our users to make this
application even better."
According to the CLO, the bottom line is facilitating better problem solving.
"It's very helpful to have a reference and to go through the
problem-solving steps instead of just jumping to a solution ... that's
what we tend to do," Ranft said. "The Air Force has sanctioned this
methodology for problem solving and this application gives all Airmen a
resource to really work through problems effectively."
There are two AFSO21 applications available on the market, so Airmen
should search their smart device's application store for "AFSO21" and
choose the application developed by Griffin Mobile. The Griffin, the
367th Training Support Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, improves Air
Force combat capability through world-class interactive multimedia
instruction for aircraft and munitions maintenance training for Air
Combat Command and Air Mobility Command. The application is also
searchable by the terms Lean Six Sigma, Continuous Process Improvement,
CPI, Smart Operations, Air Force, AETC or DMAIC.