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Workshops aim to inspire fleet-wide innovation

By Seaman Sarah Myers, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs | Dec. 6, 2016

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet and Commander, Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) are presenting a series of workshops for commanders and Sailors to spur a culture of innovation throughout the fleet.

The second edition of the Leadership, Equality and Diversity (LEAD) symposium is scheduled to take place between 23 Jan. to 3 Feb. 2017, at various installations in Japan.

Three hundred Sailors attended the first LEAD symposium at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka earlier this year. The one-day symposium, July 21, hyped the motto "empower your voice to shape the future," and focused on cultivating leadership and understanding of equality and diversity issues in the Navy by encouraging Sailors of all ranks to contribute their voice into shaping the Navy.

This time the symposium will feature three types of innovation focused workshops dubbed "Illuminate," training different levels of leadership about their role in leveraging innovation: A command leadership course for senior leaders, a facilitator's course for command representatives for innovation to help those with ideas to shape them and bring them to fruition, and an all-hands course to promote intellectual diversity and innovation for all ranks.

The workshops "are intended to get forward deployed Naval forces thinking differently and focused on solving the problems in front of us," said Lt. Jason Knudson, one of the event organizers. "In doing so, we will become a more efficient and lethal fighting force, and remain ahead of the adversary in order to promote stability in the Western Pacific."

Workshop facilitators will teach attendees how to remove barriers to innovation, rapidly identify problems, and develop actionable solutions to solve them at the unit level. Commanders will be presented with additional resources to help innovators implement their ideas in their respective commands.

"The workshops will help command triads to identify and leverage intellectual diversity within their own commands to target specific problems they might have, and connect commands to Fleet, Navy, and Defense innovation resources that can be used locally," Knudson said.

The workshops are scheduled to take place from Jan. 23-27 at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Jan. 30-Feb. 3 at Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo. This is an all hands event and is open to Navy Civilians as well as active duty and reserves.

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