How to Host a Spark Collider

Overview (What):

Collide Airmen and their compelling problem statements to best in class partners in industry and academia.

Objectives (Why):

  • Identify and curate your organization’s focus areas & problem statements
  • Connect solution providers and commercially available options to pain points and problem sets
  • Identify key stakeholders and organize support/obtain buy-in
  • Obtain Signed Memorandum of Agreement between DoD Customer & SBIR Phase 1 Company

How to Guide:

Stakeholders (Who):

Spark Cells, Airmen, Innovation Champions

Resources (Time/Money):

Spark Cell time to build event; should be no cost by utilizing wing resources

Execution Plan/Timeline (How):

  • 2 month planning timeline


  1. Early PA/Protocol/Wing Leadership partnership to establish communication plan
    1. Socialize the event with Wing leadership (Spark champion) to get buy-in
    2. Request photojournalist to document event
    3. Partner with protocol on a modified DV checklist that fits your event
  2. Determine facilities (On/Off Base, Auditoriums, Aircraft Static Displays, etc.)
    1. Entry Access List (EAL) for government facilities
    2. Security Forces requirements
    3. Potential use of local PTAC space
    4. Request aircraft static displays through Current Ops
    5. Request flight line photography approval from PA
  3. Determine transportation requirements
    1. Coordinate with Vehicle Control Center for a bus that can accommodate all guests (WG/CC can approve busses for visitors)
    2. Borrow U-Drive for staff to utilize for unforeseen guest requirements (early departures, etc.)
  4. Develop schedule/agenda (keep it simple & build in slack for changes in itinerary)
    1. Event description (the “why”)
    2. Target audience (the “who”)
    3. Itinerary (the “what”)
      1. Introductions & SBIR overview
      2. Company pitches & collisions
      3. Lunch & networking
      4. Base pain point tour
      5. MoU discussions
    4. List of companies attending (one paragraph blurb on what they offer)
    5. List of base stakeholders attending (Sq mission statements)
    6. Task squadrons to identify their problem statements and SMEs
  5. Extend invitations to partners and stakeholders

Problem Statements & Connecting to Companies

  1. Identify local base pain points and refine problem statements
    1. Critical piece to ensure you attract the right partners
    2. Develop a 1 pager on pain points and focus areas to distribute to potential partners
  2. Connecting SBIR Companies/COTS solutions to problem statements
    1. Engage with AFWERX to obtain a list of SBIR Phase I companies
    2. Down-select the companies that can potentially solve local pain points
    3. Invite 2-3 companies with promising tech that don’t necessarily align with local pain points but can potentially inform future “unknown unknowns”
    4. Schedule calls with each interested company to refine customer discovery
    5. Connect company with unit on base and identify local SME to invite to event

Potential Stakeholders

  • MAJCOM (obtain buy-in Phase III)
  • AF Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO)
  • Cross-Wing
  • Base Innovation Champions
  • Unit Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • Financial Management (CPTS)
  • Contracting (CONS)
  • Companies
  • Academia
  • Public Affairs