In today’s interview, Senior Leaders and Soldiers discuss how the Army is successfully harnessing its disruptive thinkers to cultivate innovation at the tactical level. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview:
Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence podcast — Crossing the Valley of Death for Innovation — featuring Trish Martinelli and David Schiff, both At-Large Regional Directors with the National Security Innovation Network, discussing innovation, the value of hackathons and crowd-sourcing in harnessing the Nation’s intellect to benefit National Security, and integrating their programs in support of U.S. Army innovation.
If you enjoyed this post and podcast, check out the following related content addressing Innovation:
Keeping the Razor’s Edge: 4th PSYOP Group’s Innovation and Evolution Council, by the 4th Psychological Operations Group (4th POG) Innovation and Evolution Council
Strategic Latency Unleashed!, Going on the Offensive in the Fight for the Future, and associated podcast with former Undersecretary of the Navy (and proclaimed Mad Scientist) James F. “Hondo” Geurts and Dr. Zachary S. Davis
Tactical Innovation: The Missing Piece to Enable Army Futures Command, by LTC Jim Armstrong
The Convergence: Innovating Innovation with Molly Cain and associated podcast
“Once More unto The Breach Dear Friends”: From English Longbows to Azerbaijani Drones, Army Modernization STILL Means More than Materiel and Making the Future More Personal: The Oft-Forgotten Human Driver in Future’s Analysis, by Ian Sullivan
Mission Engineering and Prototype Warfare: Operationalizing Technology Faster to Stay Ahead of the Threat by The Strategic Cohort at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
Four Elements for Future Innovation by Dr. Richard Nabors
Innovation Isn’t Enough: How Creativity Enables Disruptive Strategic Thinking, by Heather Venable
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Army Futures Command (AFC), or Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with guest bloggers LTC Arnel David, U.S. Army, and Major Aaron Moore, British Army, who recently penned Fight Club Prepares Lt Col Maddie Novák for Cross-Dimension Manoeuvre — describing the nascent revolution in Professional Military Education (PME) wrought by the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital assistants, gaming, and Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR). Using storytelling and backcasting, LTC David and Maj Moore vividly described how Leaders will seek out and leverage these technologies to hone their warfighting skills across all dimensions, enabling them to “think, fight, learn, repeat” and enhance their versatility as innovators on the battlefield. In today’s podcast, LTC David and Major Moore further discuss the convergence of technology and wargaming that resulted in Fight Club and how it is transforming Leader development: Fight Club designs realistic wargames to remove hierarchies and encourage players to attempt innovative solutions, while also creating a safe environment to fail repeatedly and learn from mistakes. These games replicate expensive training through a virtual setting, and harness younger generations’ aptitude for technology and virtual networking. The virtual setting also allows Fight Club to better connect players of different backgrounds, making the gaming more available and accessible. The DoD should implement more gaming in training. Wargaming can be effective in more frequent, smaller-scale games to increase Service members’ exposure to these types of decision making. Wargaming helps the Army and its international partners increase interoperability without having to run large-scale, time-compressed exercises. Gaming will allow the military to push innovation and will continue to attract younger generations who thrive in interactive environments. The competitive nature of gaming can inspire action and push people to develop ...
Paul Barnes is a serving Warrant Officer in the British Army, employed as a Doctrine Writer at the Land Warfare Centre. He is uniquely a Chief of the Air Staff’s Fellow, a Chief of the General Staff’s Fellow, and a former MWI fellow at West Point in 2021. In today’s interview, Warrant Officer Class 2 Paul Barnes, British Army, discusses his article Learning the Wrong Lessons: Biases, the Rejection of History, and Single-Issue Zealotry in Modern Military Thought, featured by our colleagues at Modern War Institute; learning from historical conflicts; and fighting against “neophilia” and “presentism”. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: In the aforementioned article, Paul Barnes discusses the dangers of “presentism,” in which current events are catastrophized and used to inform the future without adequate acknowledgement of historical context. This mindset creates two dangerous fallacies: 1) that the world is more dangerous than it has been before; and 2) that technology is developing more rapidly than ever before.These statements are both false and promote the idea that history cannot help us understand our operational environment. The misconceptions promoted by presentism are generally accepted due to a lack of contextual historical understanding.However, militaries also promote the ideas of presentism to secure greater budget allocations. Analysts, too, use presentism to promote the legitimacy of their ideas and engagement with their work. Leveraging historical context to avoid the bias of presentism can be challenging. Even information from on-the-ground analysts throughout history will include bias. Multiple perspectives from history should be recognized, thus creating the opportunity to ‘learn from committee’ and avoid the pitfalls of biased reporting. The age of the tank is not over, as seen in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Modern and future warfare will ...
In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Dr. Claire Nelson, the Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS). Per Forbes, Dr. Nelson “is a strategic thinker, change agent, keynote speaker and innovator,” and is listed among that publication’s 50 Leading Female Futurists. Dr. Nelson is also Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum and Sagient Futures LLC, which provides strategic foresight and development futures consulting. She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Futures Review and The Journal of Futures Studies, and is an emerging voice as a Black Futurist. In today’s podcast, Dr. Nelson discusses a smart futures approach to forecasting, technologies and science in small island nations, and positive impacts on the future: Everything is a system. National challenges can be viewed from a systems approach by breaking them down to the sum of the parts and then adding them back up. You have to pick the right tool for the problem you are trying to solve. Future technology is often presented as utopian. But we need to filter that idea through the smart futures lens. What happens when the technology fails, is compromised, or hacked? There must be forethought about the legal and ethical systems and processes. All of these aspects must be part of the framework. Our brains oftentimes can’t negotiate many and varying opposing forces as mathematical equations. But if we translate engineering and mathematical concepts into a story, our minds can more readily assimilate, accept, and understand these complex concepts. Similarly, if we break complex and interconnected systems of systems down into characters in a story, we’re better able to connect with ...