Think outside box, get paid

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Natasha Stannard
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"Show me the money!"

Sabers can earn money for their ideas when they submit them to the base Innovative Development through Employees Awareness program.

The IDEA program is an incentive for Air Force employees to initiate progressive changes for the base, Air Force and Department of Defense, said Tech. Sgt. Terrence Baptiste, 52nd Fighter Wing IDEA program manager.

"It's important we take the initiative to make things better, not just for ourselves, but for those who come after us," he said. "As Airmen, we're supposed to make things better anyway and make improvements in our work areas - the [IDEA program] rewards you for it."

The IDEA program rewards people with approved initiatives at least 3 percent and up to 15 percent, not to exceed $10,000, of tangible money saved for the Air Force. Those people with ideas that save an intangible amount are rewarded with $200.

Airmen also can track their idea to see what it's saving the Air Force and request for their reward to be reconsidered within the first year as long as it didn't already meet the maximum amount of $10,000, Baptiste said.

"The IDEA program rewards those initiating change," he explained. "If the idea improves something, it potentially qualifies for the IDEA program. We accept improvements like installing a new stop sign, not corrections like repairing a broken stop sign."

To see if their idea is eligible for the program, Airmen can read Air Force Instruction 38-401, The Innovative Development Through Employee Awareness (IDEA) Program, chapter 2 titled 'Eligibility, Submissions and Reconsiderations.'

"I'm always available to help anybody who has an idea but doesn't quite know how to put it down on paper," Baptiste said of Airmen who still have questions.

According to AFI 38-401, submitters must title and write out ideas with a detailed description of the proposed method, costs and expected benefits. For group ideas, the primary submitter will enter the submission and identify all co-submitters. The co-submitters will have five days from the date of submission to attach themselves to the idea through the IDEA program data system.

People with ideas must first submit their idea to the service that would make the change.

For example if someone has an idea to improve a piece of equipment, they would first submit the idea to service that uses the equipment for evaluation and the service would determine if the idea is beneficiary. The service will also determine how much the idea is worth and will save. If the idea is approved by this authority, it can be sent to the Air Force IDEA program.

Once the idea is approved, the innovator must submit the idea to the Air Force IDEA program within 90 days of approval. Rewards are paid upon validation of tangible savings, which are based on savings from the first year of operation. Rewards for intangible ideas will be paid once the idea is implemented.

If Airmen do not have functional areas to submit to, they can ask the IDEA program manager here for guidance.

For more information, visit or call the IDEA program manager at DSN 452-6112 or 06565-61-6112.