Morale: Britain Rewards Innovative Troops


December 20, 2007: Back in 1996, the British Ministry of Defence has established a suggestion box (GEMS - The Defence Ideas Scheme). Each year, over a hundred cash awards are made for ideas that addresses one or more of these criteria;

Improves the design, use or maintenance of equipment;

Achieves greater efficiency/operational effectiveness;

Improves safety or quality;

Achieves savings for the Ministry of Defence;

Provides greater environmental benefit.

Most awards are for a few hundred dollars, but several each year are for several thousand dollars. For those ideas that save a great deal of money, the awards can go north of $10,000. There are 200 local idea evaluation groups, scattered throughout the various services. About half the ideas submitted result in a reward. The deployment of British troops to Iraq and Afghanistan has caused a spike in good ideas. This is often the case in a combat zone, where the danger tends to get people thinking.


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