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‘Spark Cell’ introduced to Kirtland innovators and leaders

AFRL hosts an innovation workshop to inspire people with ideas for shaping the Air Force and University of New Mexico, NM, on June 3, 2019.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Representatives from various units across Kirtland Air Force Base were introduced to the spark cell at the Kirtland Spark Innovation Workshop, June 5-6, 2019 at the University of New Mexico.

The top leaders of the U.S. Air Force have continually encouraged their Airmen to find ways to innovate as a way to help improve the squadrons. The spark cell will continue to encourage and push innovation.

“The spark cell is a way to jump start and help facilitate [innovative] projects as well as to educate and foster a culture of solving problems instead of coming up with problems and either complaining about them or assuming there is nothing we can change,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Benjamin Smith, 58th Special Operations Wing director of innovation. “There are a lot of people with ideas that just don’t know where to go.”

This workshop was designed to inform innovators and leaders from different units of the new spark cell, and to pass that information on to those Airmen with ideas that did not know where to go.

“For us here at Kirtland, this is kind of our first big workshop were we are trying to get the base units together and introduce them to this idea and then kick off the operation of our own spark cell,” said Gabe Mounce, Air Force Research Laboratory technical engagement office economic development lead.

During the two-day workshop, attendees were not only able to learn how to continue with an innovative idea, but networked with other Airmen who can be a big help for them in the future. 

“We are actually setting up a [cooperation] of spark cells on Kirtland just because of the diversity and all the different missions,” said Smith.

As the other spark cells are being set up, Smith invites those with solutions to problems to contact him if a unit does not yet have a spark cell or innovative representative.

For more information contact Smith at benjamin.smith.39@us.af.mil, or your unit’s spark cell.