Announcing the First Ever Innovation Jam!


An event coming to San Diego next month aims to slingshot ideas from The Athena Project, among all other innovation initiatives into prototyping orbit.

Co-sponsored by SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and The Athena Project, the first-ever Innovation Jam will bring together engaging presenters in the realm of innovation and engineering, showcase leading edge technology currently under development at SSC Pacific and conclude with an Innovation Championship, wherein seven candidate ideas will compete for $100K in Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funding for prototyping.

On March 16th, the event will kick off at 0900 onboard USS ESSEX (LHD 2) and feature a great lineup of speakers. Beyond the flag officer keynote address, Dr. Nathan Myhrvold (founder of Intellectual Ventures and former CTO of the Microsoft Corporation) and Dr. Maura Sullivan (Director of the Secretary of the Navy’s Task Force Innovation) will give engaging talks around the topic of innovation to the Sailors and engineers in attendance.


USS ESSEX will be the site for the first ever Innovation Jam. 

Following a poster session at lunch, with amazing technologies from SSC Pacific on display, the focus will shift from theory and development to the ideas of seven Sailors, competing for the grand prize of prototype and transition funding for their idea.

Leading up to the event, each presenter will be matched with a subject matter expert in the technology their concept employs from SSC Pacific, and have worked the fine details and science behind their concepts, awaiting the Innovation Jam to unveil their refined ideas.

For the event, past The Athena Project, The Hatch and Tactical Advancements For the Next Generation (TANG) concepts will be featured, including ideas showcasing ideas imagining uses for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, redesigning warfare areas, and changing the way we view navigation. A panel of senior leaders at SSC Pacific, ONR and beyond will evaluate each concept and choose a winner from the group of phenomenal ideas.

The event will be open to all Active Duty personnel in the San Diego region. The Web site for registration will be live soon, so stay tuned to The Athena Project for updates. For more information, reach out through The Athena Project Facebook page, or e-mail

Finally, a true platform to transition pure concepts from the deckplates exists, and we hope that you’ll join us for this important event!

7 thoughts on “Announcing the First Ever Innovation Jam!

    • Great question! While most ideas from Athena are rather immature and require development to get to the patent level, we do work alongside Sailors who have more complete ideas to pursue patents, and encourage a continued partnership between sailors and engineers so that once the idea is developed to the point where a patent is viable, the sailor receives the proper representation on that filing.

    • Hi Thomas! Glad you asked: We’re in the planning phases of bringing an Innovation Jam to the East Coast. Working through things like sponsorship now, but the event would have their championship with concepts coming from East Coast Athena and TANG events, as well as Hatch submissions.

  1. My innovative idea is that we use some form of technology that allows submissions of other innovation initiatives from all over the fleet.

  2. You never responded to the question about bringing this “Innovation Jam” to forward deployed sailors. Do you have an idea of when that will happen or are we, in simple terms, screwed on that one?

    • Hi Bryan! Thanks for following up! We are very interested in doing a Jam with Forward Deployed Sailors. Not only have we had Athena events on deployed warships, but we’ve also had a Far East event in Yokosuka, both things building up the base of ideas to choose from for a Jam. Would love to spin up more Athena Chapters in forward deployed areas, but we haven’t had many reach out to us for that. If you’re interested in heading one of those up, that would ramp up the demand signal for a Jam in whichever FD area. Maybe connect with us at and we can talk through how that might look!

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