Today PUBLIC, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force announce that 46 personnel are embarking on a new immersive course to offer hands-on experience in innovation as part of the second cohort of The Percy Hobart Fellowship. 

Building an integrated, innovative military capability will be at the top of the agenda over the coming years. The Percy Hobart Fellowship will convene Navy and Air Force service personnel in a unique learning environment to equip them with an understanding of the powers and practicalities of new technologies to help champion innovation within a unified Defence sector.

The Fellowship is a one-of-a-kind initiative bringing together both Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel in a challenging 12 week course focused on digital transformation, business principles and agile thinking. 

Through secondments into civilian-led startups, Fellows will have the opportunity to learn first-hand what it’s like to conceive new ideas, develop Minimum Viable Products, and translate these principles into tangible benefits that drive innovation in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Following the success of the inaugural cohort last year, the Ministry of Defence has awarded PUBLIC the contract to deliver a second Fellowship, this time on behalf of both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. 

First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin said:

“This fellowship empowers our people to think differently about technology and innovation. Last year’s fellowship was a great success, and I’m delighted more of our talented people have the opportunity to bring the skills they will learn from industry back to Defence.”

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston KCB CBE ADC said:

“Innovation lies at the heart of all we do in the Royal Air Force. This Fellowship will inspire our people across all ranks to challenge the norm and to think differently to maintain our competitive edge.”

Fellows were selected in a competitive process from across ranks within the Navy and Air Force. This year’s cohort aims to drive innovation across the services and trades within the military through inclusion of engineering, medical and flight units. Fellows will return to the Navy and Air Force in May with an experienced understanding of the fundamentals in business and technology with a view to embed new and innovative processes in their roles and drive digital transformation from within the Defence sector.

Alumni Fellows from last year’s Navy cohort were positive about their experiences and many had found they’d developed a new mindset and set of skills:

“I joined the Fellowship to discover how we can do things differently. It was an opportunity to learn about innovation outside of Defence, essentially a chance to experience what agile digital savvy startups within the private sector had to offer the Royal Navy.”

“Going back into the Navy, what I’d like to do is listen more to people working around me… and help out others to design good solutions to problems that we face day to day.”

“The biggest lesson I can take away from the Fellowship is about adjusting our attitude to risk in the Navy. There’s a real opportunity at the moment to improve the lives of service personnel using technology, But we need to take risks and try doing things differently knowing that some of the ideas might fail.”

For more information about the progress of the Fellows – follow our dedicated social media pages on Twitter and Linkedin.