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SPARK Innovation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daniella Peña-Pavao
  • 33rd Fighter Wing

“The creativity, initiative and spirit of the American Airmen and American industry must now be leveraged in new domains in more contexts to solve more problems faster,” said Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force.

SPARK is an Air Force initiative that drives innovation within our Airmen to develop a better and faster way to accomplish the mission. Master Sgt. Milton Avant, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons loading noncommissioned officer in charge, and Tech. Sgt. Henry Smith, 33rd Fighter Wing Protocol noncommissioned officer in charge, are leading the SPARK program at the 33 FW.

“Spark breaks down barriers and provides the best tools for the warfighter” said Avant. “This program encourages ideas to come from the ground up to make everything better and makes it easier for Airmen to get their ideas and the tools they need to move forward.”

 “The SPARK program is designed to put the power in the Airmen’s hands,” said Smith. “It will afford them the respect and resources to make the Air Force better, more efficient, and more lethal.”

Since the SPARK program began, several initiatives have been submitted by Airmen at the 33 FW. Some examples include, transcription software for interviews that will save the Air Force approximately 5800 man hours a year and the use of electronic testing for promotions.

According to Smith, SPARK doesn’t follow the same guidelines as innovation programs of the past. Their goal is to create a road to success by avoiding the barriers that are present in day-to-day operations.

“SPARK is different than other innovation initiatives because it doesn’t make you think outside the box,” said Smith. “There is no box.”

Oct. 19, 2018, Airmen will be able to submit their ideas via the 33 FW SharePoint. From there, mentors from SPARK will work with creators to tailor a unique plan that includes the resources they need for each individual project. Any idea that makes a difference is welcome, small or large.  

“It only takes 10 minutes to plug your idea on the SharePoint,” said Avant. “There are no bad ideas, we want our Airmen to know that.”