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480th ISRW hosts Inaugural ICON Talks

The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing sponsored the inaugural Innovate, Collaborate, Organize and Network Talks Apr. 18 to 21, hosted at National Security Agency Hawaii. ICON Talks were developed to bring selected Airmen together from around the globe, across the entire 480th ISRW, to discuss innovative ideas and thought processes.

The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing sponsored the inaugural Innovate, Collaborate, Organize and Network Talks Apr. 18 to 21, hosted at National Security Agency Hawaii. ICON Talks were developed to bring selected Airmen together from around the globe, across the entire 480th ISRW, to discuss innovative ideas and thought processes.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing sponsored the inaugural Innovate, Collaborate, Organize and Network Talks Apr. 18 to 21, hosted at National Security Agency Hawaii.

ICON Talks were developed to bring selected Airmen together from around the globe, across the entire 480th ISRW, to discuss innovative ideas and thought processes.

Airmen were not only briefing innovative ideas, they were collaborating and networking.

“By all of us gathering here, you get a sense of energy in the room,” said Col. Jason Brown, 480th ISRW commander. “I can look around the room and when an Airman is briefing, I can see wheels turning and light bulbs go on above people’s heads. The conversations that happen afterward and the connections that people are making is why bringing all of these innovators together is important.”

The idea of ICON Talks was born during the December Global Synchronization meetings, where junior noncommissioned officer innovators and thought leaders inspired 480th ISRW senior leaders with their messages. Wing leaders recognized the importance of creating a platform where 480th ISR Wing innovators could reach all Airmen within the Wing and ISR Enterprise and ICON Talks is part of that platform, said Lt Col. Neil Anderson, 480th ISRW director of staff. 

“What we wanted to do at ICON was to bring those innovative minds together so that somebody would bring up an idea, we could foster that collaboration in the room and start forming those bonds,” said Tech. Sgt. Travis, 692nd ISR Group noncommissioned officer in charge of geospatial intelligence integrations. “We want to build that network of innovators across the wing so that not only do people know other Airman from a different Distributed Ground Sites, but they form connections.”

The ICON Talks are less of a briefing and more of an open discussion between people on ideas and technology, as it relates to their topic. This Talk highlighted proposed concepts, tools, projects and organization change such as change to workflow, habit or routine.

“The best ideas and solutions develop closest to the mission,” said Anderson. “It’s where the work gets done and where problems are first identified. If you are a tech. sergeant, 1st lieutenant or below, and you have a great idea to shape the future of the DCGS enterprise, then you can develop those ideas into your own ICON Talk.”

In addition to the Group-level nominees, some 480th ISR Airmen participated by creating videos for a video challenge.

Senior Airman Kayla-Ann Bailey, 480th ISRW administration, was one of the video challenge winners. She made a video tutorial on one of her daily tasks showing how use the Virtual Personnel Center Dashboard.

“I really enjoyed meeting people face-to-face from all across our wing and hearing about innovative ways to improve our processes,” said Bailey. “This really inspired me to go back and do some innovative stuff back at my shop. The entire time, I was thinking of ways I could improve our processes.”

According to Brown, the plan is to have another ICON Talk in six months at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

“The plan is to do two of these a year and to build upon the last one, so at the next ICON we will look back at the ideas that were discussed and see where they are at now to make sure we keep moving forward and building on our successes,” said Travis.

ICON Talks have created the framework for Airmen to share ideas and inspire action throughout the wing and across the Air Force, said Brown.

“The real effect that ICON is going to have is going to come after this event. It’s going to be the connections that are made here, the conversations that were had and the energy that was created here,” said Brown. “When all these folks go back to their units, back to Beale, Fort Gordon, Ramstein, etc., they are going to say this was a really cool event, so when we do it again in six months, we want people to really want to be a part of it.”