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Week 6 Insights

We utilized our ten interviews this week to accomplish two goals: 1) gauge reactions to our MVP 2) understand necessary security and training environments that limit our MVP. Additionally, we talked to experts in the field like Phil Williams and Dr. Janson to understand relevant research and tools to build our MVP. Through conversations with experts, we drew a MVP as a team and tested the desirability of our MVP during interviews. In this process, we naturally learned of more limitations that we must account for as we continue to iterate on our MVP. At the end of this week, we have a more clear idea of how to modify our current MVP to address additional pain point and limitations that we learned during interviews.





Primary Data Users

  1. Cognitive Performance Coaches
  2. Data Analysts
  3. Research Psychologist

Other Beneficiaries

  1. Instructors (Cadre)
  2. Trainees
  3. SWIC Commander









  1. Due to recent procedural changes, the data analyst and data manager would be the main individuals receiving the raw data.
  2. A SD card cannot be directly injected into the military computers, because a SD card is not an approved device. Rather, the data analyst would inject the SD card into a personal computer and send the dataset to his/her military computer.
  3. The biometric devices will be used within the new training facility under normal temperature and terrain conditions. Therefore, the solution we provide does not have to withstand extremely tough conditions.
  4. The new training facility will accomodate for the needs of our MVP, if it proves to be useful and relevant.





  1. Our MVP must work within the security constraints. Many interviewees emphasized that our solution may need to work without wifi and/or bluetooth which has limited solutions to transfer data from our MVP to the data analysts’ computers.
  2. The structure and procedure for data collection, analysis, and storage is changing week to week within HDP. Week to week, we learn of new developments in many of our beneficiaries’ roles as it relates to data analysis, connection, and storage.
  3. We do not have the devices with us so it is difficult to test the effectiveness of our MVP. We have tried to ask for dummy data, but we faced barriers regarding confidentiality.





  1. We need to learn about the specifications of our devices by speaking to the companies that created these devices. Only by understanding device specifications can we build a MVP that can receive info from all devices.
  2. We must understand what data each device stores and seek to create dummy data to test our MVP.
  3. We will research about Zigbee to determine storage capabilities, non-wireless communication capabilities, and costs.
  4. We need to identify other similar commercial solutions for our problem.


Name Title Email Date Interview/Interviewee Takeaways
Phil Williams CEO of Phil Williams LLC; Advanced Research, RDT&E, Leap Ahead Technology, On the Move Communications phil.williams@LInkToPhil.com 2/9/19 AJ/BX
  1. Compatibility of raspberry Pi with the current three hardware
  2. Use case scenario of the product (environmental factor)
  3. Philp would be extremely helpful for us if we actually want to deliver a working product (Even by the end of day, all we deliver is just a MVP, it would be great we make detail recommendation and plans to LTC Thomas and his team about how to carry this project further)
LTC Jesse Marsalis Program Manager Special Programs jesse.r.marsalis.mil@mail.mil 2/11/19 AJ; TL
  1. Specific job – develop and acquire capabilities within Special Operations command
  2. Might be good person to speak to once we have a MVP
Alexandra Hanson Data Analyst alexandra.hanson.ctr@socom.mil 2/12 BX
  1. Need a system that could incorporate both the biometrics data and the cognitive data
  2. Other unit is also using tablet for self-assessment, HDP is working on funding, the fastest turnaround would be 6 month
  3. Would like us to research and provide a comparison on different tablet offering, ex: iPad vs Samsung
  4. Military like action item, end the report/presentation with a list of action items
  5. Present the solution in an incremental plan
  • Step 1:
  • Step 2:
  • Step 3: if have $$$/enough resources, you could..
SFC Jeffery West Cadre Language School. Non-Commissioned officer jeffrey.l.west@socom.mil 2/12/19 NC
  1. 92% of trainees get to +1 area after 3 week training program
  2. Human feedback is the best. It can’t be beat by a computer. Trainees need to interact with people from that culture.
  3. Government employees here not contractors.
  4. Military personnel are constantly on rotational assignment (3 years)
Constance Garcia Data Manager constance.garcia.ctr@socom.mil AJ 2/12/19 -they would have to use personal devices – to get the data from the Zigbee, we have to plug in SD card to personal devices and then send dataset to work laptops

– on a scale of 1 – 10 of how helpful would this be? 10

-Alexandra and Constance will be using the SD cards from the Zigbee & do analysis from time to time rather than constant

LTC Phillip Thomas Director of Academic Instruction, SWEG phillip.thomas2@socom.mil All 2/12/19
  1. Identify other commercial solution
  2. Asking for spec
  3. Bottom line: our proposed solution need to be flexible enough to accommodate all kinds of data, including cognitive data and allowing data team to manually input self-assessment survey
  4. LTC Thomas wonders where the repository of the data that going to end up


Brian Hackett Founder of the Learning Forum bhackett@thelearningforum.org TL 2/12/19 – Experience working with the Navy attempting data collection, but process broke down.

– cpc’s and other contractors working with the navy SEALs were underpaid/undertrained, led to friction.

– lack of communication between SEAL school and SWIC, even if they were working on the same thing.

-nail in the coffin for the SEALs  was privacy concerns, killed any data sharing.

– He has connections to other people who did work the SEALs. (Potential leads).

Haig Nalbantian Senior Partner, Mercer

Workforce Sciences Institute

haig.nalbantian@mercer.com TL 2/13/19 – pioneer of Internal Labor Market (ILM) analysis.

– worked with the Navy and used ILM to help identify key skills to improve upon.

– didn’t work with special forces, but has contacts that may be useful.

Kyle Janson MEng Biomed kyle.janson@duke.edu NC 2/12/19
James Arp HDP Director james.arp@socom.mil BX/NC 2/13/19
  1. The facility will accommodate our proposed solution
  2. Getting rid of the middle step of placing micro-computer to soldiers’ jacket
  3. Talking to industry expert and learning how tech company solve similar problems
Barbara Plotkin CPT USSOCOM former instructor barbara.j.plotkin@socom.mil NC 2/12/19
  1. A device that allows quick insights would be helpful for the soldiers.

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