SWJ just published an article I wrote on the strategic imperative for improving how DoD innovates. Check it out!
lifelog: a record of a person’s everyday life produced by a portable device which they regularly carry around.
Lifelogging = transparent collection and ubiquitous content
So, what are we going to do with all of that information?
The most innovative companies in the world emphasize both place and space – proving that innovation is not a solitary pursuit…
Only those of you with WSJ subscriptions will be able to view the linked article; however, if you have a subscription, you should read it. The story of the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense program is a testimony to the triumph of innovation, fueled by necessity, over bureaucracy. We could use a little more of this in the DoD…
PS – Kudos to our friends at Rafael.
One of the few certainties, however, is that innovation happens at edges, where turbulence promotes mixing, more often than at the stable center, where people and ideas have greater homogeneity.
I’m pleased to see that big defense is catching on to the crowd sourcing idea. Lockheed and General Dynamics (for its Edge Innovation Network) deserve some credit for taking the social plunge, but I can’t help but think there’s a missing ingredient to these defense cum innovation initiatives. The thing that these efforts seem to miss is that real innovation requires more than just harvesting fully formed solutions from the crowd and then putting these solutions to work. It requires identifying partially formed ideas that can be synthesized to create a viable solution. The magic of social is not about throwing a bunch of crap against a wall and seeing what sticks because at the end of the day the arbiters of innovation at Lockheed or General Dynamics or wherever are still responsible for deciding what makes the cut. The magic of social lies in creating ecosystems where the crowd can organize in unexpected ways to create, combine, filter, etc. the ideas that drive innovation.
This is a very interesting article on where to harvest insights that become innovations – irrespective of industry.
The proliferation of mapping applications will increase the demand for commercial satellite imagery products. Today’s maps will rely on archived imagery as a backdrop. Tomorrow’s maps will incorporate motion imagery so users can view their world in real-time – similar to what DoD is attempting to accomplish via surveillance programs like Constant Hawk and Gorgon Stare.
We tend to rewrite the histories of technological innovation, making myths about a guy who had a great idea that changed the world. In reality, though, innovation isn’t the goal; it’s everything that gets you there. It’s bad financial decisions and blueprints for machines that weren’t built until decades later. It’s the important leaps forward that synthesize lots of ideas, and it’s the belly-up failures that teach us what not to do.
The thing is, innovation without risk (and ultimately failure) is nothing of the sort. Innovation and risk go hand in hand. The DoD acquisition enterprise must be re-thought to accommodate the type of calculated risks that drive the leap-ahead innovations that fuel the commercial tech sector.