RIN Blog

Share a passion for innovation, education, and creativity


The Rhizome Innovation Network (RIN) is a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for innovation, education, and creativity. The RIN aims to bring together thought leaders from military, academia, government, and industry to collaborate, share ideas, and drive progress. The network fosters a culture of openness and collaboration, providing a platform for members to exchange ideas and work together on innovative projects that could meaningfully impact the world. With a wide range of events, resources, and opportunities for connection, this network offers a dynamic and supportive environment for those looking to grow and make a difference.

The National Football League, the US Air Force, Human Performance, and Talent Management

I think I am finally recovering from the 49ers loss… I recently had an interesting conversation with Jeff DeGraff. The discussion centered around how the USAF might approach Human Performance more like the NFL.

Air Defense Against High Altitude Platforms  

All domain warfare is far more comprehensive than Joint Operations. Gone are the days when we can select or simply focus in the domains we think we are best at and ignore others. This is the reason why the Department of the Air Force chartered the Enterprise Capabilities Collaboration Team for Multi-Domain Command and Control (MDC2) in 2015 under then Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein. However, domain parochialism runs very deep, and is what doctrinaires term, “original sin.” The Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5100.01, “Functions of the Department of Defense and Its Major Components,” assigns each service a “domain,” or region of physical distinction, they are responsible for. The genesis of this regulation dates back 1927 with general and secondary functions assigned to each Service. While MDC2 has evolved to Combined-Joint All-Domain Operations (JADC2), “seams” between the domains still exist. The following is just one example.

Chimaera: Wargaming And Strategy: The Journey From Assumption To Innovation In Military Wargaming—DeMarco Banter

Ever since I was a child, I’d held the romantic notion that the military must possess some of the most mind-bending, sophisticated war games imaginable—perhaps it was watching movies like War Games or too much time playing Defender in the arcade. This belief carried me through my formative years and into my career with the United States Air Force. However, as I delved into my role, first as an Air Mobility Operations Squadron Commander who served as the Air Mobility Division (AMD) Chief in multiple Air Operations Center globally, and later as a member of the Joint Staff, my enthusiasm was met with a sobering reality. The large-scale Department of Defense and USAF wargames in which I participated left much to be desired.

Project Praxeum: Our Journey of Education Transformation

Our systems of education are built on priorities and processes from the industrialization of the 20th century. The previous need for human capabilities such as fluent information regurgitation and performance of many low-level tasks is becoming extinct. The time to redefine the function of education is now.
– Jeremy VanEgmond


So, you’ve got an innovative idea; Now what?

Hiring a project management firm, sitting back and watching might be an option. If it isn’t and you’re going to run with it yourself, read on.

Project PELLA: A Dynamic Initiative to Expose, Engage and Enrich the Lives of Students During the Most Critical Year

There is no shortage of information on the critical need to provide students with meaningful, early and on-going exposure to the rapidly evolving fields of STEM. From the highest levels of leadership in Alabama, there is urgency to improve and increase learning of these subjects within schools across the state. With more and more jobs, and even our mere way of engaging daily becoming increasingly technical, students who lack experience in these areas will be left behind in their ability to find substantive employment. Additionally, we must ask ourselves, “what potential contribution does society miss by not investing heavily in those who will, inevitably, assume leadership roles – with or without adequate preparation.” Across the organization, AUiX lives by a nonnegotiable standard that to whom much is given, much is required. Through various social innovation efforts, AUiX aspires to be a conduit of change not only in the Air Force community, but also in the lives of these future leaders. 

Collaboration and Mentorship in the World of Innovation

One of the greatest challenges to innovation is stagnation, an inability to think beyond one’s own perception and experience to create transformative and impactful solutions. A quick search on the web yields countless articles emphasizing the need for constant collaboration lest innovators find themselves in stale cycles of monotony, thus diminishing their credibility of being innovative in an ever evolving world. A lesser discussed, but equally viable — dare we say necessary — implementation is that of mentorship.

A Force to Shape the Future

“In dealing with the future, at least for the purpose at hand, it is more important to be imaginative and insightful than to be one hundred percent ‘right’.” – (Alvin Toffler, from Future Shock)

Project Flashpoint: Air Refueling Logistic Reimagined

Imagine you just bought your first Tesla and are planning a road trip to show it off to your family. Your bags are packed, and you need to plan one stop to re-charge along the way. Unfortunately, you must send an email request directly to the Tesla Charging Office to reserve a Supercharger at a specific location for a specific time, and duration. The office then assigns you a “low priority.” Subsequently, all Superchargers are occupied at that time by other higher priorities. Your trip is canceled. Now, imagine you are planning to send a squadron of F-22s across the country for a training mission. Would you believe a similar process applies to your necessary air refueling (AR)? Unsurprisingly, an AR request for a training mission like this can also go unsupported. It is 2023, and planning to charge your Tesla is actually seamless from phone app to in-car touchscreen. There must be a better way for the Air Force to do this, right?

“Innovation and Failure: Navigating the ‘Fail Fast’ Approach with AUiX”

Innovation and failure often go hand in hand. However, failing fast is hard—like training to be a Jedi: it takes discipline, perseverance, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes. But let’s be real, most of us are more like Jar Jar Binks than Luke Skywalker—we stumble through “innovation” until we get it right, or fail. What if there was a force like the Jedi Order, dedicated to passing on the lessons learned from their failures to help Airmen innovators navigate the treacherous landscapes of funding, contracting, networking, and partnerships? With AUiX, it is possible to tap into this force while mitigating risks on the dark side.