Osan Spark Cell inspires, encourages innovation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Allison Payne
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Spark Cells serve as a hub for creativity and innovation across the Air Force. The 51st Fighter Wing’s Spark Cell mission is to establish and empower an innovation culture amongst Airmen at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Osan Spark Cell is a culmination of different Osan Airmen with diversified Air Force Specialty Code backgrounds within the 51st FW who share a passion for innovation and are willing to promote positive change to processes within the base.

“Our goal is to provide guidance and support to the champion of each innovation idea as Airmen take their journey from an idea through an implementation,” said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Larkin, 51st Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsman.

According to the Osan Spark Cell Charter, the focus is to review innovation initiatives at the appropriate level to determine the merit and viability of adoption for ideas submitted by Airmen, as well as providing the resources necessary to facilitate rapid project start-ups for the ideas.

“Our Spark Cell is important because it merges system matter experts under one roof to better guide and mentor innovation idea champions on their journey from an idea to the actual implementation of that idea,” said Larkin. “Our council at Osan is especially crucial due to the high turnover rate to be able to ensure expedited processing and approvals of the ideas.”

The Osan Spark Cell prioritizes building partnerships, establish legacy, promoting inclusion and cultivating innovation.

“We partner with Pacific Air Forces, AFWERX and CPI to make this mission happen,” said Larkin. “The Spark Cell has gone through three renditions as it has grown to support the needs of our innovators and Airmen at Osan AB. Our newest venture included restructuring our council to include various squadron representatives and points of contact to expedite approval processes and forms required for each innovation idea.”

Osan’s Spark Cell was created in 2020 by the 51st Fighter Wing as a way to move innovation funds to the members to ensure innovation ideas became more than just an idea.

Any Airman who wishes to submit an idea, or be part of the Spark Cell can do so by visiting the sharepoint at https://usaf.dps.mil/sites/osan/osanorgs/spark/SitePages/osan%20Spark.aspx or by clicking the Osan Spark icon on any desktop computer.