SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- To key in on implementing innovative strategies and increasing mission effectiveness, Scott Air Force Base is celebrating March of 2019 the "Month of Innovation."
"To maintain technical and tactical advantages, the Air Force must adapt and innovate," said Col. Leslie Maher, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander. "Using our competitive edge to stay on top requires creative innovation from our Airmen."
The Air Force has implemented multiple programs to achieve innovation, both throughout the entire Air Force as well as throughout each of its bases and units.
The Airman Powered by Innovation program, which began funding in 2014, allows Airmen to share their innovative ideas about cost, time and resource savings through the AF API Portal. The program aims to reinvigorate Airmen’s innovative spirit by giving their ideas the leadership support and oversight necessary to achieve maximum impact.
The Air Force has also continued to hold the Spark Tank innovation competition that asks enlisted and officer Airmen, along with government employees, to submit their ideas on how to change, improve, and chart the future of the Air Force. The Air Force recently announced the 2019 Spark Tank finalists, who will showcase their innovative ideas to Air Force senior leaders, Feb. 28, in Orlando, Florida, at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium. Out of 320 submissions, six finalists were selected and an additional project will be highlighted at AFA due to the non-expense implementation.
In 2018, The 375th Air Mobility Wing hosted a Spark Tank Competition, which saw six winning projects that included upgrades to the flight attendant kitchen and emergency communications center, as well as the installation of new appointment check-in systems, aircraft GPS pucks, facility manager tablets, and a portable programming initiative.
"We have some terrific Airmen solving problems for us," said Maher. "It’s important we use our time and resources to harness some of these brilliant ideas, which can help keep us ahead of our adversaries moving forward.”
As part of the Month of Innovation, Scott will be hosting another Spark Tank on March 4 to hear from more Airmen about their innovative ideas for the future.
Master Sgt. Chad Gibson, 375th Communications Squadron, said, “Today there are young Airman with fresh eyes who can see when something is messed up or something is right, and we can do something about it,” said “This is an excellent platform. If you got the plan in place and we make it happen, it’s going to happen. This is just a minor investment that’s going to produce massive results down the line.”
Gibson said it is very important that Airmen come forward with their ideas no matter how significant they think they can be.
“Don’t limit yourself,” said Gibson. “If you have the ideas and you have the knowledge, don’t limit yourself into thinking that it will never happen. The squadron commanders have been fully supportive. If they think they can make it happen, they will make it happen. Don’t think any idea is too small or too big.”
Scott will celebrate the Month of Innovation with the various events below.
MARCH 4: SPARK TANK 2. It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the 375th AMW conference room and all are welcomed to attend.
MARCH 5: LEAN-IN W/CC. This will be held at 11:15 a.m. in the bowling center and all are welcomed to attend. Please order food before the event starts.
MARCH 28: 458TH AIRLIFT SQUADRON PILOT DAY. This squadron is showing a group of youngsters what it’s like to be a pilot for a day.
MARCH 19-20: TRI-GARRISON MEETING/TOURS. Scott hosts the Army and Navy commanders from installations in Illinois that border other states, as well as members of the Coast Guard to discuss a variety of issues that affect each installation collectively.
MARCH 22: C-21 CELEBRATION. This is from 3-4:30 p.m. in Hangar 1 and starts off with a 2 mile fun run on the flightline and then showcases innovative successes from around the base. Highlighting the event is the C-21 celebration of its avionics upgrades and new tail flash symbolizing its legacy and future. Open to all!
MARCH 28: STEAM DAY. Team Scott hosts its annual event targeting 600 area school students and JRTOC units to explore how the DoD innovates!
MARCH 29: SCOTT-South Western Illinois ENERGY ROUNDTABLE is a community effort that is focusing collective efforts on energy resiliency in the area.
For questions about the month or the events, please contact 1st Lt. Panupong Phongpitakvises at (618) 256-1064.