The sixth annual Spark Tank 2023 Quarterfinals, or ST23, took place on November 9, at the Center for Research, Innovation and Collaboration Core in Arlington, with the top 15 ideas selected to advance to the semifinals. The Spark Tank competition identifies, supports, and celebrates the Air Force’s high-performance management innovators who bring ideas to life and rally around them through Guardians and Pilots Innovation Networkor GAIN, a force-level crowdsourcing platform.
“Spark Tank’s democratic and frequent audits are how we identify the top 15 ideas,” said William Prue Gauthier, Spark Tank Director. “We want to ensure that the ideas that have the best potential to effect significant positive change in military capability development are provided as a path to DAF advocacy and become a reality.”
The Venture Capital-style Spark Tank competition is sponsored and organized by The Office Deputy Undersecretary of the Department of the Air Force, Departmentor SAF/MG, and aforex. The event featured a mixed panel of in-person and virtual subject matter experts from across the Air Force who discussed the merits of each offering.
During the 78-day innovation incubation period, custodians and pilots submitted 235 ideas on broad topics designed to improve maintenance, operations, communications, medical and support activities. Originating from enlisted businessmen and internal officers, ideas came from nearly every major and field command. Air Combat Command It ranked first with 44 posts.
New this year, and in support of DAF’s Digital Transformation Cultural Transformation initiative, it launched the ST23 with the goal of 100% digital execution.
The program achieved this by leveraging GAIN’s smart technology launch platform to streamline campaign communications between coordinators, moderators, and internal business people. Then, to ensure faster and more synchronous coordination, the campaign management team created a Microsoft Teams collaboration forum for internal communications.
“Combining digital workflows for Spark Tank operations provides real-time updates, reduces risk of legacy campaign or idea information, prevents data lock-in in emails, and significantly reduces the coordination time gap between identifying concerns and devising solutions,” said Crystal Ortiz, SAF Operations Procedures Officer / MG Spark Tank.
This year, Guardians and Airmen participated in dual peer review phases to leverage PairWise and TokenVoting technology on GAIN.
“These methods allowed us to review each idea and vote on which one was most deserving of moving forward,” said Aaron Pape, AFWERX Spark Cell Program Manager and Spark Tank Product Manager. “The net result of the peer review phases was the emergence of 35 distinct ideas with clear support,” added Pape. “Among these, we saw trends around embracing emerging technology to solve emerging problems and a frequent need to find better tools to improve existing technologies and workflows.”
Last year, Spark Tank created a new Just Do It, or JDI, category. The team extended that concept this year by defining a high-fidelity menu and simple ideas.
While no longer in competition for financial support, all JDIs are tracked to ensure concepts are vetted by the functional owner of the owner’s DAF headquarters, the lead leadership responsible for capacity and its sustainability, and the capacity delivery teams or program offices that must coordinate and approve the program portfolio, Ortiz said. . As in ST22, 10 innovations this year are named JDI that will challenge how quickly Spark Tank software can accelerate change at scale.
The top 15 ideas will be pitched on December 7, at the ST23 Semifinals, an event he co-chairs. Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Vice President of Space Operations, US Space Force. Finals will be held in War Symposium 2023 of the Air and Space Forces AssociationMarch 8, 2023 in Aurora, Colorado.
The quarter-finalists for the 2023 Spark Tank are:
Note: an asterisk
Denotes selection as semi-final and a double asterisk (**) indicates JDI ideas. No asterisk indicates that the entry has not advanced to the semi-finals.
– * Killchain Acceleration – “Spinning the Killweb.”
– * Accelerated development of multi-capable pilots.
– * Rapid content development and publishing.
– * Advanced maintenance and troubleshooting suite.
– Problem aircraft test command of air equipment – Virtual reality “just in time”.
– * Airspace improvement application.
– * Psycho-astronomical AI.– * B 52
Nuclear Weapon Components: Mobile Protected Encryption Container.
Backup plan for primary contact.
– ** Boom cover removal and installation tool.
– Disputed Degraded Environment Communications Group.
– **Removing “ghosts” from spare units
Enterprise analytics platform.– ** F-16 Fighting Falcon
Horizontal stabilizer training assistant
Foreign body damage.
– Improving the training program with the learning management system.
– ** Solar powered automated indoor camera cleaning system.
– ** Infiniguard anti-corrosion solution.
– * Infrastructure in the AR world.
– **Medium-Access Hinge Drawer Type II MX “B7” holder, safety step.
– * Mercury West – Reference/target matched training grid.
– * OpsLab automatic scheduler.
– * Kinetic Goods Sustainability Project.
– * Oregon Trail Project.
– ** Patient Airlift Project (formerly Stanchion Litter System).
– * Real time asset management system.
– ** Universal robotics remote control.
– * Space Bot – AI space platform.
– **Space Force Crew Scheduler.
– Applied tactical ballistic geolocation system.
The next revolution in maintenance information systems.
– ** Convert entry permit list system.
– Turbo requirements generator.
– * A vital beacon for employee recovery.
Wearable edge calculation for target development with the help of artificial intelligence.
SAF/MG is responsible for overall oversight of matters relating to the performance management of the Air Force and Space Forces for approximately 700,000 members of an organized workforce in 160 occupational disciplines operating in more than 200 locations worldwide. Serving as DAF’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Principal Risk Officer, Performance Improvement Officer, and Category Management Officer, the SAF/MG represents the Secretary or Under Secretary in the Department of Defense Performance Management Forums, Management Office, and Budget Category Management Leadership Council.
This Secretariat office is responsible for providing direction and policy regarding DAF performance and risk management using performance objectives and metrics; Develop and implement continuous improvement and innovation policy, education and training programmes; Build and manage productive investment management systems to effectively track CI2-based changes; and support service requirements, including the implementation of program work directives and program directive letters. As Director of Business Administration, SAF/MG leads DAF’s Office of Business Transformation in accordance with US law and relevant Department of Defense policies. This role provides representation to the Secretariat of the Business Mission Area Council that oversees performance of defense business systems within DAF, certifies that IT investment planning, oversight, and data management practices are consistent with DOD and DAF strategic plans and directives, certifies technology for all covered systems of complexity and planning implementation and auditability.
About AFRL The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Air Force. The AFRL is instrumental in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our Air, Aerospace, and Cyber forces. With a workforce of more than 11,500 in nine technical areas and 40 other operations worldwide, AFRL provides a diverse spectrum of science and technology ranging from basic research to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit:https://afresearchlab.com/
About Afwerx AFWERX is the Air Force Research Laboratory Directorate that connects innovators across government, industry, and academia. By innovating and collaborating with our nation’s leading subject matter experts, AFWERX harnesses the power of in-house talent ingenuity while expanding technology, talent and transition partnerships for rapid, affordable commercial and military capability. Additional information is available athttps://www.afwerx.com/