Defence Sparx is an exciting new innovation training programme in which participants develop creative solutions to address real challenges in the Defence Forces and Department of Defence.

The programme is structured, immersive and hands-on. Experts guide and support participants as they work in small teams to develop an effective solution to an assigned real-world challenge faced by the organisation. Teams reach a point where they pitch the opportunity to decision-makers within Defence for further support to implement a prototype of their solution.

Through the Defence Sparx programme participants develop important innovation skills and broadened perspective, enabling them to approach all types of problems in a better way.

The programme is delivered through a blend of on-site and virtual programme days. Find out the programme schedule here.

On-site days are delivered in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, one of Ireland's leading business incubator and 'start-up' hubs.

Defence Sparx 2022: Progress update

In early October, 24 members of the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence came together to form five teams and identify a challenge that they wanted to tackle together.

They’ve worked onsite at the Guinness Enterprise Centre and collaborated remotely to figure out the potential of their ideas to transform an area within the Defence Forces and Department of Defence. They’ve been on a journey of ideation and discovery, validation and evaluation.

The teams are now getting ready to bring their final propositions to the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces and Secretary General of the Department of Defence. They are preparing their Mission Model Canvas, Mission Memorandum, Financial Projects and, importantly, their 10 minute Final Pitch.

The teams are seeking Senior Leadership support for the prototyping or trialing of their proposals. This will enable the impact of the solution to be evaluated, informing any future roll-out.

Is this for me?

  • Unique, highly rewarding and enjoyable experience. Ideal for those looking to develop important transferable skills.

  • Open to people of all ranks and grades from all branches of the Army, Air Corps, Naval Service, Reserve and Department of Defence.

  • No qualifications or previous innovation experience required.

  • Must have motivation to learn, a desire to try something different and to be open to a challenge!

How are people selected?

  • Participants will be selected to provide a broad mix of backgrounds, skills and experience in the group

  • You must be recommended by your CO or Branch Lead

Keep an eye out for launch of the

next Defence Sparx in mid-2023

What is the benefit of participating?

  • Have fun interacting with other positive people in an exciting off-site 'start-up' environment.

  • Experience the satisfaction of being actively involved in developing workable solutions to real problems faced by people in the organisation.

  • Learn practical, transferable skills in creative problem-solving and making change happen.

  • Learn from and network with successful entrepreneurs and Ireland's 'start-up' community.

  • Become better at communicating your ideas and persuading others of their merit.

  • Compete for funding to prototype your team's solution.

  • Be recognised by the Chief of Staff and Secretary General for your participation and effort in developing effective solutions.

Learn from the experts.

Defence Sparx is facilitated by Furthr.

The experts at Furthr have decades of experience in empowering entrepreneurs to start and scale new businesses by providing accelerator programmes required to advance their ambitions.

Defence Sparx is a platform to engage soldiers, sailors, aviators and civil servants in work that is challenging and meaningful by creating intrapreneurs within Defence. Intrapreneurs are problem solvers, self-starters and innovative within a large organisation. Intrapreneurs in Defence will enable the organisation to effectively accelerate and manage the change that lies ahead.

Furthr's expertise is now applied to develop intrapreneurship in Defence.