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Innovative ideas sought for new AEDC Spark Tank program

  • Published
  • By Bradley Hicks

Arnold Engineering Development Complex personnel with innovative ideas – no matter how big or small – to improve AEDC are invited to share their suggestions. Doing so could lead to funding to progress their implementation. 

The new AEDC Spark Tank is underway and open to military, DOD civilians and contractors across all AEDC geographically separated units. Similar to ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank,” AEDC personnel submit pitches for process improvements or ways to utilize new technologies which may lead to an opportunity to present their ideas in front of a small panel of AEDC leaders who will decide which ideas should receive further investment.

“The Spark Tank will allow AEDC employees to showcase their ideas for how to improve AEDC processes, products or test capabilities,” said Adam Moon, Air Force project manager for the Innovation Center and Innovation Grant project.

Idea submissions are due by Feb. 4. The Spark Tank will be held in mid-February. Submission templates may be found on the “pubinfo” fileshare in the “Templates” subfolder under the “Spark Tank” folder. Final submissions should be placed in the “Submissions” subfolder of the “Spark Tank” folder prior to the Feb. 4 deadline and in emails sent to Moon and Dr. Justin Garrard, Reliability Engineering manager and project manager for the Innovation Grant project with the AEDC Test Operations and Sustainment contractor.

Those selected to brief the Spark Tank panel will receive an email to schedule their Spark Tank briefing.

“The Spark Tank is an important part of the overall innovation ecosystem at AEDC,” Garrard said. “The AEDC workforce helps support capabilities unmatched anywhere else in the world, and by seeding their innovative ideas at an early stage, we know they will make a positive impact to the AEDC mission.”

Those proposing improvements selected by the panel to receive funding will lead the efforts to further investigate and implement the submitted ideas. Each Spark Tank project selected by the panel must be completed by Aug. 15.

“AEDC has historically invested in innovative concepts, and we are excited to keep that initiative moving forward,” Moon said.

Submissions which show promise may be eligible for additional phases of Spark Tank funding if continued development is required.

“If further funding is required to complete a promising project, then fiscal year 2023 Innovation Grant money could be earmarked to complete the project without a need to do a complete resubmission,” Moon said. “I am envisioning something like a spiral development process. Start small with some proof of concepts and then scale up or implement the idea if it appears promising.”

Those with questions or wishing to receive additional information on the AEDC Spark Tank may contact Moon and Garrard.

AEDC is headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., and 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.