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AEDC Spark Cell implementing ideas submitted by workforce

Troy Haywood, lead computer network technician, restages a computer for Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network, Dec. 12, 2019, in the PC Staging Area at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Computers must be loaded with required software and necessary security protocols prior to being deployed for use by AEDC team members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

Troy Haywood, lead computer network technician, stages a computer Dec. 12, 2019, in the PC Staging Area at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., before deploying it to be used by an AEDC team member. With the baseline configuration for new computers and laptops dramatically increasing Air Force-wide, the bandwidth was recently expanded to 10 gigabytes per second divided amongst multiple circuits at Arnold, and the standard computer hardware installed for users is now significantly higher performance. The roll-out of the new computer hardware is expected to increase productivity drastically overtime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- In late 2019, Arnold Engineering Development Complex leadership implemented the AEDC Spark Cell, a campaign headed by AEDC team members meant to instill a culture of innovation Complex-wide.

According to Cameron Liner, chief of the AEDC Capabilities Integration Branch at Arnold Air Force Base, the Ideascale approach was the chosen method for soliciting innovative ideas from the AEDC workforce.

Liner said he believes the effort was effective.
“It worked very well,” he said. “We received a total of 39 ideas.”

The Spark Cell is still ongoing, with the team working to track ideas that have been selected for implementation.

“We will begin thinking about our next campaign, which may be through Ideascale or another method, once these efforts are well on their way,” Liner said.

One of the suggestions offered during the first phase of the Spark Cell, which has since been successfully completed, was an idea by Craig Morris to improve internet bandwidth across Arnold.

The idea from the Spark Cell team aligned with ongoing Test Support Division efforts to increase network bandwidth at Arnold AFB. The effort resulted in a total increase of bandwidth of up to 10 gigabits per second that will be divided amongst multiple circuits at Arnold. Additionally, the new Air Force requirements for standard computer hardware are now significantly higher, at 32 gigabyte Random Access Memory and 500 gigabyte Solid State Drive, and roll-out of this hardware is expected to dramatically increase productivity over time.

According to the Spark Cell team’s findings, if the Arnold workforce has a time savings of at least 1 minute per day as a result of these improvements, it will equate to a cost savings of $533,000 a year for the Complex.

Another suggestion offered through the AEDC Spark Cell campaign was to establish better analytics by providing query development access and analytic support to the various offices in AEDC to enable test and project managers the chance to combine specific data needed rather than rely on canned reports. Jim Burns, who submitted the idea, commented doing this would allow active analytics and process improvement versus reactive management.

To help implement this idea, training is being developed for test and project managers on how to better use available data. AEDC leadership and stakeholders will be involved in this process to best tailor the training to the needs of the workforce.

Other suggestions made were meant to help boost employee morale. For example, Joshua Osborne submitted an idea to have a display with a list of deployed, POW, MIA and KIA who are part of AEDC family to serve as a reminder of service members' sacrifices and ties to the AEDC mission.

The Arnold Junior Force Council has agreed to act as the lead for implementing this idea. The JFC is planning to obtain funding needed for labor and materials, to include a flat screen and input device, which will then be installed inside Café 100 at Arnold. It is estimated that the project will be completed by spring of 2021.

To learn more about the other ideas that have been submitted, visit https://usaf.ideascalegov.com. Anyone who doesn’t already have an Air Force Portal user profile will first need to create one before logging onto the site. Once logged in at the website listed above, find the AEDC link.

Though the Ideascale campaign is currently closed to new suggestions at this time, AEDC leadership is always accepting suggestions and ideas via its Commander’s Accelerated Initiatives Office, or CDX. AEDC Team members can email these to AEDC.ArnoldCDX.workflow@us.af.mil or by calling the Commander’s Action Line at 931-454-6000.