AFTC hosts CI2 Summit to spark innovation

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys
  • Air Force Test Center

The Air Force Test Center organized and hosted the first Continuous Improvement and Innovation Summit at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, from June 28-30. 

Spark leads and members of AFTC, Arnold Engineering Development Complex, Tennessee, 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, the 96th Test Wing, at Eglin, and Air Force Materiel Command aimed to help Centers and Wings learn from each other’s innovation and CPI programs. The summit allowed for the exchange of information on innovations, improvements, challenges, and experiences, as well as see innovations implemented at the 96 TW.

“Innovation and continuous process improvement are used to address problems that lead to reduced cycle-time, reduced man-hours, reduced operating expense, increased mission capability, increased safety, and improved quality of life for our airmen,” said Jim Briggs, AFTC strategic planning analyst and Spark lead for AFTC. “Innovation allows AFTC organizations to leverage the ideas of our Airmen that could solve problems and improve processes.”

The three-day event hosted a robust agenda which included demos, tours, resources, discussions, and program overviews by the various participants.

Kathy Reid, 96th Test Wing Emerald Spark Cell lead, volunteered to be the host of the first Summit to share successes and failures.

“We have successfully integrated the Continuous Improvement and Innovation programs into one seamless program, called CI2,” said Reid. “We had an innovation audit performed by the Air Force Audit Agency and were recognized as the Gold Standard for innovation across the Air Force. We want to share the activities that enabled us to achieve that recognition across the Center.”

The 96 TW Emerald Spark Cell at Eglin won the AFMC Spark Cell of the year for 2021.

“It’s important to connect across the Center to develop a common vision for innovation and CPI,” said Reid. “If we collectively discuss our path forward, minimize workload at all levels, share lessons learned, successes, and rapid techniques adopted, then we can better set ourselves up for success.”

The Summit was successful in helping attendees learn from each other's Innovation and CPI programs, exchange information on innovations, improvements, challenges, and experiences, and discuss how Innovation and CPI can be utilized better.

“The AFMC Commander's Accelerated Initiatives Office stated that many of us within our Innovation teams are missing out on the experiences which is to be able to visit where the innovations are happening, and to talk to the champions of those innovations about the impact of the innovations on their units,” said Briggs. “Many attendees concurred with this statement.”

Future iterations of the Summit may be conducted at the different sites at a frequency of 3-4 times per year to foster further innovation and bring additional organizations into the fold.

“Innovation empowers our Airmen which has a positive impact on morale,” said Briggs.