A Historical and Paradigmatic Analysis of Civilian and Military Design Thinking

A Historical and Paradigmatic Analysis of Civilian and Military Design Thinking – Dr Aaron Jackson – JSOU – 17 April 2019

This lecture was vetted and cleared for upload to the JSOU User YouTube page in April 2019 through the SOCOM approval process.

For the academic year 2019-2020, JSOU proudly presents a continuing series of defense design experts providing lectures on a variety of multidisciplinary design topics for the SOCOM enterprise, DoD, and international Special Operations and partnered forces.

This presentation addresses how military designers can maximise the utility of the design methodologies they select for employment when designing military operations. Presently, Western militaries apply a mix of two distinct types of design thinking, each with a different origin and employing different paradigms, yet most military practitioners remain unaware of this situation. The result is confusion, obfuscation through inappropriate conceptual overlap, and sub-optimal outcomes when overlapping types of design are simultaneously applied to identify and solve operational problems. These two types of design thinking come from different arenas: one has a background in various ‘civilian’ disciplines and in industry; the other originates within militaries themselves. This presentation attempts to untangle these two types of design thinking from each other through the provision of a detailed historical account, followed by a paradigmatic analysis of each. It then addresses the two types together, examining how a deliberately cultivated awareness of both can lead to enhanced design thinking outcomes.


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