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AEDC hopes to spark innovation with new program

  • Published
  • By Deidre Moon

In hopes of driving a culture of innovation needed to prove the superiority of systems to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy, Arnold Engineering Development Complex leadership has started its own Spark Cell.

The Spark program, started by AFWERX, is a grassroots innovation program that empowers Airmen to bring tomorrow’s tools to the warfighter today. AFWERX is the Air Force’s team of innovators who encourage and facilitate connections across industry, academia, and military to create transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation.

“We are looking for ideas to improve your daily work,” said Devon Parker, acting director of AEDC Plans and Programs at Arnold Air Force Base. “We want everyone to understand that when we say this is open to ‘Airmen,’ this program includes everyone – military, civilian and contractor personnel across the board for AEDC.”

AEDC, while headquartered at Arnold AFB, has operating locations at Ames Research Center, Mountain View, and Edwards Air Force Base, California; Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; the Federal Research Center at White Oak, Maryland; Holloman Air Force Base, Kirtland Air Force Base, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The first ideation campaign of the Spark Cell for AEDC is currently underway, with ideas being accepted for this initial phase until Dec. 13.
This initial campaign will be a broad challenge aimed at soliciting solutions from the largest pool of AEDC personnel possible.

Cameron Liner, chief of the Test Information Systems Section Communications Branch, reemphasized that the main goal of the program is to reach all AEDC team members, hear their ideas, and push for the implementation of those with the best value impact.

“We will make every effort to market this effort and provide feedback to all participants,” Liner said. “In doing so, we hope to begin the process of building a place which questions the norm and pushes forward to meet the needs of the future.

“So, AEDCers, we need your ideas. Over the past several months, there have been several opportunities to identify problems with processes, organizations, facilities and more. The best solutions will come from those who work through the issues every day. Help us help you. We are looking for your ideas to improve your daily work. As we are a single AEDC team, both participation and our ideas should reflect the needs of everyone.”

Those who suggest the selected solution concepts will be part of the team implementing the solutions.
When developing ideas, some questions to think about are:

• How would you change processes which are slowing you down?

• How could you improve efficiency and reduce cost in your daily work?

• What obstacles do you face each day that hinder your effectiveness and efficiency?

• How would you accomplish your work a better way?

To participate in this campaign, go to Anyone who doesn’t already have an Air Force Portal user profile will need to create one before logging onto the site. Once logged in at the website listed above, find the AEDC challenge link. After reading the challenge details, site users can submit new ideas, and comment and vote on other ideas. If submitting an idea, make sure that AEDC is selected in the campaign field.

The AEDC Spark Cell will be reviewing the submissions at the end of the challenge.
“We are ready to tackle the issues hindering your daily work, but we can’t do it without your help,” Parker said.