TEACHING INNOVATION: DESIGNING A CURRICULUM TO CHANGE THE MILITARY
Wieser, Adam B.
Blanken, Leo J.
Zefferman, Matthew R.
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The United States Department of Defense’s relationship with innovation has changed from the Cold War–era paradigm of large defense contractors and government think tanks undertaking the lion’s share of the responsibility to improve our products and processes. Commercial companies are developing the most advanced technologies, not for the military, but for the individual consumer. The responsibility to innovate has shifted to the military, and it is falling behind. To bring our force up to the level required to remain the world’s most advanced fighting force, we need to educate our personnel on how to innovate for themselves. This paper identifies the structure and the content of a curriculum designed to teach innovation. Through research of current programs and innovation theory, a successful innovation curriculum is one that is designed around project-based learning, bridges military organizations with the commercial and academic realm, and teaches the fundamentals of innovation. These fundamentals are centered around an understanding of the current innovation ecosystem, complex problem analysis, innovation diffusion and adoption, and design thinking. Utilizing this curriculum, the Department of Defense can receive an immediate return on its investment through completed student projects and a means to change the culture of innovation throughout the organization toward more self-reliance.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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