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'Fire Pit' provides creative space, assistance to AETC innovators

By 1st Lt. Kayshel Trudell | Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs | March 6, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANOTNIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
With an eye towards continuing development of a world-class culture of innovation, Air Education and Training Command officially opened the “Fire Pit” with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph March 5.

Mirrored to the wing level Spark Cell variant, the AETC Fire Pit is the major command’s effort to invigorate innovation and support grassroots initiatives in a collaborative space designed to incubate and accelerate innovation initiatives and build a network with industry, academia, and the Department of Defense to provide rapid solutions to the needs of the warfighter.  

“It’s important to create a space to help foster innovation,” said Col. Jason Lamb, AETC Director of Intelligence, Analysis, and Innovation. “Stepping away from your normal routine opens your mind to create in an environment not constrained by normal, day-to-day obstacles.”

The ceremony included a tour of the facility and a demonstration of its 3D printing technology, just one of the tools in the Fire Pit designed to help innovators across the command use technology as part of the effort to see how people can learn more effectively.

“Innovation is about mission effectiveness in the way we train and develop our Airmen to enhance their lethality and readiness throughout their careers,” Lamb said. “Places to be creative and think, like the Fire Pit, are crucial components of developing a culture of innovation that is vital for the future of AETC and our Air Force.”

Funding for the Fire Pit was approved in September 2018, with a soft opening back in December 2018, with a couple of projects already taking advantage of the space. 

“We have worked with the HQ AETC financial management team on the “TDY to School” continuous process improvement project, as well as helping the AETC Studies and Analysis Squadron with strategy planning,” said Brian Marchitello, a master process officer with the AETC Innovation Advancement Division. “Our team is very excited to help people with their ideas to spark innovation.”

Additionally, the HQ innovation team refined the command’s Idea to Innovation (I2I) process in the Fire Pit.

“At the end of the day, we (HQ AETC) don’t own innovation,” said Col. Jason Lamb, AETC Director of Intelligence, Analysis, and Innovation. “We’re just here to throw fire on it.”

For those interested in using the Fire Pit and have government computer access, requests can be made through the HQ AETC Innovation Advancement Division SharePoint.  Click on Fire Pit request button, fill out the PDF form and click on the submit button at bottom of page.  The innovation team will contact requesters to help with scheduling.

For more information about AETC innovation, personnel can contact their local wing Spark Cells or the HQ AETC Advancement Division.  The latest AETC innovation news can be found at https://www.aetc.af.mil/About-Us/Innovation/.