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Whose Idea is this? Five Teams Compete for Funding and Corporate Support at Booz Allen’s Combustion Chamber Event, Recognizing Most Innovative, Client-Ready Solutions

Five teams stood before the judges, delivering their best ideas in an evening’s battle for funding or corporate support, hoping for the important nod that would push their vision toward fruition.

Meet the newest innovation tactic of today’s Booz Allen.

Narrowed from an original pool of forty submissions, five teams from across the firm were invited to present their near-market ready innovations to solve client problems in the firm’s Santa Monica, Calif. “Combustion Chamber” event June 5.

By the end of the evening, two ideas had earned $20,000 each in investment dollars and a mentorship from one of the firm’s partners. In total, the teams received $55,000 in funding and various other forms of corporate support, which will allow them to transform the concepts into marketable client solutions.

As Booz Allen pivots its business toward new growth areas, the firm generates innovative ideas from a variety of sources, including partnerships with start-ups, strategic alliances with third parties, the annual employee Ideas Festival and even informal conversations with colleagues – all championed by the 1,800-person Strategic Innovation Group (SIG). The firm’s competitive nature and collaborative spirit drive perhaps the most energy and enthusiasm for one of its newest innovation enablers: the Combustion Chamber.

Modeled after the hit TV show, “Shark Tank,” the latest Combustion Chamber event featured five teams of Booz Allen employees competing at Cross Campus, a start-up incubator in Santa Monica, Calif. They pitched their ideas to four senior Booz Allen judges and an audience of more than 100 employees for over an hour.

“Congratulations to all of the teams for superb ideas that will help our firm deliver solutions that will meet clients’ current challenges,” said Executive Vice President Karen Dahut, who leads the SIG. “Events like Combustion Chamber foster a fast-paced, start-up vibe within our 100 year old firm and they act as a catalyst for encouraging innovative forward-thinking because it gives employees who are working side-by-side with clients the opportunity to develop solutions in a rewarding, positive environment. Our firm will continue to develop new growth opportunities thanks to the collaboration and fresh, actionable ideas that come from the Combustion Chamber and other employee innovation activities.”

Combustion Chamber judges granted the following ideas corporate support:

  • Strategic Management and Resource Trade-off Simulation, presented by Dusty Varcak and Bill Bland, was awarded $20,000 and mentorship from Senior Vice President Tom Pfeifer.
  • Wireless Flight Line Key Distribution, presented by Josh Wentlandt, was awarded $15,000 and $5,000 for the top popular vote. The idea proposes a command-and-control center to expedite the distribution of flight keys to pilots.
  • Data Defense Solutions, presented by Joseph Wyrwas and Derek Aucoin, was awarded $10,000. This solution uses modified tools designed by Booz Allen for data security in the government for commercial clients.
  • Leveraging the Tactical ISR PED System (TIPS), presented by Mike Morgan, was awarded marketing counsel and support. TIPS helps the U.S. Navy take advantage of video intelligence on constrained network bandwidth via a Cross Domain Solution to move the video from the unclassified platform to a ship's SIPRNet connection.
  • Secure Health, presented by Reechik Chatterjee, was awarded $5,000 and mentorship from Booz Allen senior staff members Michael Farber and Julie McPherson. This mobile application would allow delivery teams to share information on their phones in HIPAA compliant and real time format and reduce medical errors.

Celebrating its 100th year, Booz Allen has begun to pivot its business toward new growth areas, including engineering and technical services, commercial and international markets, and a focus on innovation that has led to a pipeline of new products and capabilities and a workforce that is better aligned to support a culture of innovation. Innovation today drives how the firm approaches new ideas, solutions and advancements in the fields of data science, cyber security and rapid prototyping.

About Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology consulting for 100 years. Today, the firm provides business and technology solutions to major corporations in the financial services, heath, and energy markets, leveraging capabilities and expertise developed over decades of helping US government clients in the defense, intelligence, and civil markets solve their toughest problems. Booz Allen is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, employs approximately 23,000 people, and had revenue of $5.48 billion for the 12 months ended March 31, 2014. In 2014, Booz Allen celebrates its 100th anniversary year. To learn more, visit (NYSE: BAH)


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