Innovation at Columbus Air Force Base … not just a buzzword.


Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the last six months, you’ve felt something changing.  Something big is happening. You’ve heard the rumors, read the articles and watched the YouTube videos sent out by commanders.


Recently, the 19th Air Force commander, General Doherty met with us and spoke extensively about our “laser focus” and the need to shift our warfighting culture.


There’s a new mindset in town, one that you can no longer ignore.  One that is busting at the seams in the hearts and minds of our airmen…INNOVATION.


Most people roll their eyes, or say things like a recently separated friend of mine said on the phone, “Good luck innovating anything in the Air Force!” But what if I told you that’s not the case.


Col. Jason Lamb, the AETC Intelligence, Analysis and Innovation (A2/9) said, “People who scoff at innovation aren’t doing it,” which begs the question, why are people scoffing at innovation?


Our leadership is bought in. They are witnessing our adversaries slowly gain strategic advantages in the balance of world power.


They understand the necessity to unleash the creative spirit of our young airmen to solve tomorrow’s problems and fight tomorrow’s wars.


They have given us the green light to move out fast, but we seem to be stuck in the comforts of how we’ve always done things. We are repeatedly solving old problems with old, industrial age technology. In other words, ‘they have given us the keys to dad’s Ferrari,’ but we are too afraid to pull it out of the garage.


I present to you the Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, Spark Cell! The ‘supercharged Ferrari with an unlimited supply of tires.’


Through Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast’s direction and senior leaderships buy in, we are creating an Innovation Lab called, The Bridge, which is open to everyone from the youngest airman to the eldest general on base.


We have tools, processes and a network of academia, industry and other DOD agencies at our fingertips to help you solve YOUR problems on YOUR terms.


We are also in the process of acquiring amazing technology to further assist you in your endeavors. We just want to ask you one question: “What drives you crazy that you wish you could change?” In response, I will say to you, “Then get over here and let’s change it!”


Our lab is focused on innovative culture, small group learning and connecting with the best and brightest. We will be unrelenting and unwavering in the pursuit of our Airmen’s hearts and minds.


We want to connect with you on a personal level and unleash your full potential to create solutions and solve problems at the grassroots level.


All you need is an idea on how to make life better, or a 20 percent solution to a problem that plagues you. Bring it to us and we will help you solve or create.


If we are unable to do it in-house, we will tap into the established network to take problem sets to solutions.


“You are trusted, don’t wait on us,” Kwast said. 


He also said, every day we should try to get him fired by leaning forward as far as we can. Let’s put him to the test, let’s do something big together, let’s solve Air Force problems and become a beacon of light for tomorrow’s warfighting machine, let’s lead this fight!


The innovation lab is in Building 926, Room 213. We can be reached at (662) 434-3004.