Team Dover hosts AMC Innovation Symposium

  • Published
  • By Bedrock Innovation Lab
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Team Dover hosted the inaugural Air Mobility Command Innovation Symposium Oct. 13-14, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

Dover AFB’s total-force innovation cell, known as “Bedrock”, welcomed 20 innovators from across AMC and staff. The idea for this symposium stemmed from AMC Commander Gen. Mike Minihan’s visit to Dover in May 2022, when he remarked that the rest of the command needs to gather here to share ideas and foster innovation.

The two-day event featured presentations from both the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings as well as guest speakers, and provided valuable collaboration time. Lt. Col. Dave Blair, representing both the Vice Chief of Staff’s office and Project Morpheus, spoke on innovation in future conflict; Maj. John Smyrski, AMC Test and Evaluation chief of innovation, discussed testing plans; and Lt. Col. Christina Rusnock, Air Force Enterprise Logistics Systems deputy, helped innovators with requirements to navigate the “Valley of Death” for projects.

Each wing identified projects to share with one another and discussed common challenges among innovation cells, known as “Spark Cells.” Members from AMC’s Continuous Process Improvement & Innovation office met with individuals from both wings to assist with their top challenges.

“It’s great to finally get everyone together and help me understand issues to bring back to the staff for engagement,” said Shane Hershman, AMC Continuous Improvement and Innovation chief innovation officer. “Dover really has something special here with this facility. A huge thanks to the Bedrock team for hosting us.”

The symposium paved the way for AMC innovation teams to work together to tackle Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.'s operational initiatives.

“We were very happy to have everyone here at Dover,” said Maj. Nicholas Martini, 436th AW chief innovation officer. “A successful spark cell doesn’t necessarily need a venue like ours. Tapping into the well of knowledge and abilities of our outstanding Airmen is what’s most important.”

Another highlight of Bedrock is the partnership with the 436th Force Support Squadron’s Continuous Process Improvement office and the 512th AW.

“Most innovation efforts are essentially a type of process improvement,” said Dave Jackson, 512th AW chief innovation officer. “Our Reserve presence within the spark cell provides continuity and a conduit for leveraging total force talent with civilian work experience.”

Going forward, innovators across AMC plan to meet at least annually to share knowledge with one another.

“We were happy to come out not only to share our successes, but also learn what other wings are working on,” said Maj. Wesley Williams, 60th Air Mobility Wing chief innovation officer. “Within AMC, so many mission sets are similar. It makes sense to work together rather than in isolation. The team is already looking forward to our next meeting at Scott AFB.”