JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The Air Force is testing a new mobile app at Joint Base San Antonio that aims to give Airmen a convenient way to provide feedback or raise concerns about their experiences on the installation.
The Wing Feedback App is a crowdsourced tool designed to help service providers and installation leadership improve all services across the base.
The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center began working with BESPIN and its vendor partners to develop the app in September 2019. BESPIN, which stands for Business and Enterprise Systems Product Innovation, is one of Air Force’s newest agile development labs that creates mobile and desktop apps.
“Think of the app like Yelp for the installation. For users, this provides an easy-to-use avenue to share feedback on their experience on services and facilities they use regularly in the convenience of a mobile app. For service owners, it allows the ability to focus attention on key areas that may not be regularly seen, and improve facilities and services across the board,” said Emilie Miller, an innovation program analyst with AFIMSC Ventures, the center’s office charged with taking innovative ideas from the drawing board to implementation.
The original idea – awarded 3rd place and $200,000 during the first AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo in early 2019 – was for an application that allowed crowdsourced feedback on installation custodial, landscape and trash service contracts. AFIMSC leaders quickly realized, however, there was potential for building the app to allow for feedback about all base services, both government- and contract-delivered.
“There are many services available to employees, family members and retirees that could benefit from crowdsourced feedback to illuminate problems and enable solutions. The process for resolution may vary, but the overall intent is to improve performance across all base services,” said Lt. Col. Karen Landale, a procurement analyst at the Defense Pricing and Contracting Office. Landale was on the pitch team for the original idea.
AFIMSC began testing the app with a small group of users on JBSA in May, and had a successful beta test in October at JBSA-Lackland, providing valuable insight and feedback on current features and suggestions for future updates. Expanded testing began when the app recently became available to everyone on JBSA.
Built with strong security measures in place to ensure sensitive information is protected, the app instantly recognizes which base a user is on and provides multiple pathways to anonymously share feedback through a map option, a nearby facility list or by searching for a facility or service.
Krista Ludwigsen, a budget analyst with AFIMSC, was among the first group of testers.
“I like it. I think it’s a useful tool that can be beneficial, not just locally but Air Force wide,” she said. “The best part is its simplicity.”
Ludwigsen looked at the app from several perspectives – that of a service owner, a customer and a military spouse – sharing her thoughts and helping identify what should be changed or improved.
“We learned a lot about what users like and don’t like, and changed some of the flow to really capture the purpose of the app: to collect feedback and improve performance,” Miller said.
Making the app available to everyone on JBSA will give the development team more feedback as they continue improving functionality. They encourage people to download and use the app to share their experiences – both good and bad – as they go about their day-to-day activities on the installation. Users can provide a rating of one to five stars, leave a detailed review and even upload a photo.
“We hope to learn more about what people use or don’t use and how well the app handles a large volume of users,” Miller said, adding that she also wants to demonstrate how it can help leaders improve base services.
The app is an improvement on other web-based feedback tools, especially for contracting officer representatives, because other tools do not allow CORs to assess contracted services at the point of service, which is very important to the day-to-day operations of our installations, Landale said.
Miller said AFIMSC Ventures is working on an Air Force-wide rollout plan and will announce when each base will be able to begin using the app.
For the JBSA-Community, the app is available for Apple and Android devices. Visit http://onelink.to/42dp35 from a mobile device to download the app. Users will be taken to the proper store for their device.
For more information, contact AFIMSC Ventures at AFIMSC.Innovation@us.af.mil.