Sponsored By: ARCWERX


To date, AIM-HI has instructed 27 teams and 122 individuals that have impacted Dept of Defense operational challenges. Each team pitched their innovation solutions to lead critical and emerging mission needs. Talented AIM-HI teams have pitched cutting-edge innovation in Agile Combat Employment, Joint All-Domain Command and Control, space-domain resiliency, multi-capable airmen, and multi-national mission response initiatives to rapidly expand modernization across the Air Force, Space Force, Air National Guard, and SPP nations.


As the threats across the world enter new domains and the technology age, the Dept of Defense must adapt to changes from our adversaries. To win the economic and military contest with peer adversaries like China, the US needs to innovate faster, leverage industry, and modernize innovation adoption in a synchronized way. AIM-HI is focused on operational innovation by enlisting the most innovative companies and universities to win the fight for the future of Joint All-Domain Operations.


The AIM-HI professional development program is an abbreviation for Academy • Industry • Military • Hybrid • Innovations which certifies high-performing individuals through the University of Michigan.

AIM-HI connects leading research universities, entrepreneurial companies, and the Air National Guard to develop creativity and innovation skills, facilitate problem solving, break barriers, anticipate the future, accelerate decision cycles, and out-compete existing and new adversaries.

AIM-HI seeks to bypass the nebulous process of traditional technology discovery and directly connects ANG, USAF, USSF, and Dept of Defense organizational key stakeholders to accelerate the creation of new innovative solutions. The culmination of expertise of the ANG with cutting edge industry leaders provides a key capability to successfully execute National Defense Strategy priorities.


The AIM-HI’s mission is to democratize creativity and innovation, which means to develop creative members of the Air National Guard (ANG) to build cohesive diverse teams that out-think, out-innovate, and out-compete anyone in the world. Developing a creative military means developing the essential four components of the ANG: 1) Creative Mindset 2) Creative Culture 3) Creative Capability 4) Creative Community. The goal for AIM-HI is to provide Commanders and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force an innovation capability to execute transformational innovation across the Dept of Defense.

  • Creative Mindset

  • Creative Culture

  • Creative Capability

  • Creative Community

How It Works

The AIM-HI program focuses on creating the infrastructure and tools for collaboration of diverse entities to facilitate the rapid transfer of knowledge and technology to solve real problems faced by Airmen and Guardsmen everywhere.

Guided by the Innovatrium curriculum and certified coaches, diverse teams work through cycles of experiment, review, revise, and repeat to develop dynamic solutions.

Upon successful completion of their final pitch to their sponsors and senior leaders and academic requirements, they will become Certified Professional Innovators.

Proactively Solving Problems

Team Telegraph/Cohort 2

Team Telegraph is working to overcome the technical aspects of communications; how will we develop a backup strategy if the enemy knocks out our communications? Under a major disaster scenario it should not be assumed that reliable internet, cellular phone, and SATCOM will be available. Leveraging existing infrastructure we’re developing a very low-cost back-up strategy for emergency communications, allowing base leadership to communicate with individual service members at their home when all primary and alternate communications are unavailable.

Team Pivot/Cohort 2

In a world driven by customer service, Team Pivot is out to provide an innovative customer service request tool that provides communication and transparency for each individualized request. By providing real-time feedback to the service member, readiness items will be increased. With seamless process management, accountability is guaranteed and all base actions will be accomplished efficiently.

Team Higher Appeal/Cohort 1

As we seek to recruit and retain the best talent, how do we continue to make the National Guard an appealing career choice? Team Higher Appeal is reexamining how guardsmen can leverage a hybrid approach to in person, virtual, and asynchronous work habits as they modernize the “drill weekend.”

Team Agile Warriors/Cohort 1

Covid has upended our work habits and unlocked the possibilities of remote work. Team Agile Warriors is exploring when and how to codify many of these new work arrangements to best serve the needs of the guard unit and guardsman alike.


Capt Daniel “Danny” Smith
AIM-HI Program Director
(c) 520-784-4135
[email protected]
[email protected]


The Innovation Code Teaser

Learn about one of our newest projects, AIM-HI, which stands for Academia, Industry, and the Military Hybrid Innovations, on their journey discovering the Innovation Code with an upcoming video series this Fall.


AIM-HI LinkedIn:

Join the AIM-HI community on LinkedIn.

Innovation Assessment:

Each of us learns in a unique way. Taking this assessment identifies what type of innovative leader you are. Remember, you can understand others, once you understand yourself. Please use "AIMHI" to register.

AIM-HI Description Brochure:

AIM-HI is a program about increasing innovation in academia, industrial, and military efforts in democratizing creativity and innovation. Learn more about how the multiple areas are coming together for the shared vision of accelerating innovation.

Innovatrium Design Playbook:

Discover the importance of designing a collaborative space for innovation and creativity based on your needs.

Project Mercury:

Learn about how Project Mercury is developing the innovation culture, competency, and community in the USAF to outcompete anyone in the world.

Air Command Field Guide:

A guide to create a Collaborative Open Innovation Network in the Air Force ecosystem.

The Innovation Code ebook:

Written by Jeff and Staney DeGraff, this book shows how you can create the constructive conflict needed to develop an innovative solution.

The Innovation Code Audiobook:

Written by Jeff and Staney DeGraff, this book shows how you can create the constructive conflict needed to develop innovative solution.

The Creative Mindset eBook:

The companion to the Innovation Code, this book shows that everyone can master the six creative thinking skills: Clarify, Replicate, Elaborate, Associate, Translate, and Evaluate, or CREATE.

The Creative Mindset Audiobook:

The companion to the Innovation Code, this book shows that everyone can master the six creative thinking skills: Clarify, Replicate, Elaborate, Associate, Translate, and Evaluate, or CREATE.

Thinkific Platform:

Looking to start a course? Check our Thinkific page to learn more about the different courses we offer.

Innovation Genome:

The Innovation Genome is a way of thinking about and strategizing growth within yourself and the Air Force.


ARCWERX is devoted to educating, connecting, and facilitating Guardsmen and Reservists to engage with a culture of innovation. Learn more about their mission by visiting their website.

AIM-HI Senior Leader Executive Session

Join Dr. Jeff DeGraff and the Kelly Johnson Innovation Center in a half-day senior leader innovation seminar to explore the operational impact of the innovation ecosystem. Challenged by emerging near-peer threats, AIM-HI is dedicated to expanding innovation partners across the DoD and industry. The evolution of the Guard as an agile component of the Air Force inspires rapid innovation of our talented ANG force to shape industry partnerships and military operations.

Innovation is a critical priority at all level of senior military leadership. As stated by Gen Brown (CSAF), “We need both innovative Airman and their supportive leaders to achieve ‘over, not through’ approaches for the 21st century. This takes innovative ethos, this takes courage and creativity-this takes you!”

Please contact us to schedule an Executive Session at your location.

Email [email protected]