Operation BOLO innovation lab grand opening

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jessica Blair
  • 8 Fighter Wing

The 8th Fighter Wing officially opened the Operation BOLO innovation lab to Wolf Pack members at Kunsan Air Base, June 23.

The lab is located at the Community Activity Center and is open 24/7 for anyone with an innovative idea to improve their work centers and career fields by making processes more efficient.

Operation BOLO inspired the base’s innovation program which allows our Airmen the opportunity to enhance the mission of the 8FW by supporting freeform creativity to develop innovative ideas for the Air Force.

“This is a big initiative across the Air Force, in terms of trying to facilitate new ideas, processes and better ways of doing things,” said Col. Chris Hammond, 8FW commander. “Lately we have been talking a lot about diversity, it brings different backgrounds, different thought processes and ultimately a diversity of ideas.”

The name of the room was inspired by one of the Wolf Pack’s lines of effort, “operation be on the lookout for opportunity”, which has a lot to do with innovation, says Col. Hammond.

“Currently the room is being used for the Wolf Tanks and to facilitate idea pitches,” said Master Sgt. Shaun Duffy, Force Support Squadron manpower and organization flight chief. “The room allows you to develop your idea in a safe space without getting distracted.”

Duffy and his team has been working since October 2019 to bring the innovation program to the base.

“So when I went TDY to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, I decided to mirror a lot of their innovation lab processes,” said Duffy. “Eventually we decided on the CAC as the location because of its 24/7 access and high foot traffic.”

During the early stages of implementation, several Wolf Tanks which are inspired by an innovation television show, were conducted. Base leadership met with a council of ten Airmen so ideas could be presented for approval and funding. Three of those ideas were approved, endorsed and are currently being implemented.

“I’ve really had to lead the way in getting others to rethink their perception of what innovation really is,” said Duffy. “Many believe innovation is just fixing processes or making a process better. That is one avenue of innovation, but buying emerging technology that helps us do our job better is also an avenue of innovation.”

Numerous ideas were pitched in the Wolf Tanks: One includes streamlining the display technology for debriefings in both fighter squadrons’ vault briefing rooms, which improves pilot training and feedback; Another idea includes a radio-frequency identification orbiter tracking system for PT testers to wear; another idea pitched was the explosive ordnance disposal team proposed a remotely controlled x-ray system that will allow them to assess a hazard from a longer distance.

“In the room, there are three tablets to facilitate any pitch whether you need to develop a slide show or conduct research,” said Duffy. “I want to let specific ideas drive what we purchase.”

Anyone can utilize the innovation lab but must get with one of the ten council members to access the room.

“If people have a good idea, we want them to know the council is the foundation of support for their idea, you can come to us for anything,” said Staff Sgt. Bruce McGaughey, 8th Medical Support Squadron warehouse and medical equipment management office NCO in charge. “It doesn’t matter what your idea is, if you think that can help your squadron, flight, group, wing or the Air Force in general you can bring that to.”

To get in contact with the council, check out the 8th Fighter Wing SharePoint click the “Base Orgs & Tenants” tab to find Wolf Pack Innovation Organization, where you can present ideas to the council.

“Even if you don’t have an innovative idea but continuous process improvement is something interests you, get in contact with the council,” said McGaughey. “We are looking for new motivated members of any rank to join our council because we prefer ideas that come from all levels.”