Hercules Innovation Lab opens doors to innovation

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Thompson, Hercules Innovation Lab director, speaks at the grand opening of the HIL at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 29, 2022. Thompson and his team have worked over the past several months to create a safe place for Airmen to come and test their new ideas and creations so they can be used to change culture, policy and operations on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)

The 86th Airlift Wing Hercules Innovation Lab held a ribbon-cutting ceremony recognizing its grand opening at Ramstein Air Base, June 29.

The HIL is now open in the Hercules Theatre to assist all Airmen who are interested in turning their projects and innovations into tangible solutions.

“I’m excited to see what our Airmen will do with this facility,” said Brig. Gen. Josh Olson, 86th Airlift Wing commander. “This center makes great strides in innovation and will do great things for Ramstein.”

The HIL is equipped with 3D printers, Wi-Fi enabled tablets and a staff that is willing to facilitate and foster ideas.

“We keeps things attainable and realistic by ensuring the problem set is clearly defined to find the best possible path to solve the issue outside of manning requirements,” said SSgt. Ryan Peatrowsky, non-commissioned officer in charge of the Hercules Innovation Lab. “We then look at leveraging current technology to address the idea or issue.”

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Josh Olson, 86th Airlift Wing commander, speaks at the opening of the Hercules Innovation Lab at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 29,2022. Olson spoke about how excited he was to see what Airmen on Ramstein could come up with at the HIL and how it will change the base and possibly the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)

Innovation labs are an Air Force-wide initiative seeking to tap in to the brain power and talent of Airmen. In an effort to accelerate change, Ramstein began purposefully working to construct the HIL in July 2021.

“We started as a spark cell and hub for innovation on the base,”

Peatrowsky said. “Airmen from across the base to come together here to brainstorm and implement their ideas. We are also a hub for cultural change.”

Ramstein leadership charged the HIL to tackle cultural change and innovation throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community to serve the mission by improving wing efficiency.

“The HIL strives to develop a network of innovators across Ramstein,” Peatrowsky said. “We use training and education from many available resources and track the status of innovation projects by facilitating leadership oversight.”

To learn more about the HIL contact DSN 480-4455 or visit https://sites.google.com/herculesinnovation.com/hil/home.