About Archipelago

What is the archipelago

We are a non-profit organisation supporting the leading independent network of purpose driven defence practitioners, educators and researchers interested in enhancing innovation capabilities to unlock novel strategic and organizational possibilities across NATO members and partners

Hence the

to capture both the uniqueness and affinities between individuals and organisations contributing to design driven transformations across security & defence communities.

Pushing boundaries

Vision & mission


We believe in reflexive leadership, emboldened by innovation methodologies to inspire people, transform organisations, and ultimately improve the human condition.



We are nurturing an avant-garde, inclusive, and independent community of practice committed to continuously pushing the boundaries of defence and security ecosystems with our NATO allies and partners. We commit to the dutiful exploration of the complex relationships between design-inspired conceptual innovation, organisational design, and change leadership.

Our fundamental


    1. Non-profit education
    2. Continuous learning and transformation
    3. Openness to dialogue and collaboration across a wide diversity of cultures and mindsets
    4. The inter-cooperation of various military and civil organisations
    5. The intersectionality between the academic world and the world of defence and security organisations
    6. Research excellence and conflict resolution

Reflexive practices

We understand reflexivity as being self-aware as well as taking into consideration that we are always involved in the context  under inquiry. Reflexive military practitioners attempt to perceive the context as a whole including themselves and their organisation. To do so, reflexive military practitioners continuously bring to awareness both their biases in making sense of reality and how their decisions and actions take part in systems of systems.

Who are the contributors?


A philosophy that a leader and the team can mobilize to create something new that is needed but does not yet exist, with the potential of changing the status quo into a preferred one from a specific normative perspective.



A Guild Council Member may be any defence & security practitioner across NATO members and partners; a researcher, instructor or faculty member of a recognized educational or research institution with at least 3 years of experience related to design and innovation; and recognized as global, local, or emerging leaders in the network willing to dedicate significant time and efforts for further developing the AOD community in part by leading, organizing and contributing to activities such as committees, the annual convention and other events.


A Contributing Member may be any defence & security practitioner across NATO members and partners; a researcher, instructor or faculty member of a recognized educational or research institution; any qualified individual wishing to undertake research and development work on the themes, projects and programs carried out by the Guild Council and/or by AOD employees; any individual receiving mentorship from the the Guild Council or one of its members; any individual wishing to contribute to committees, collective projects and other activities run by the Guild and/or AOD employees.

To become and remain active, each contributing member must contribute to at least one AOD activity per year such as taking part in a committee, a collective project, or diffusion activity such as contributing to a video, a blog or a publication including cross-posting contributions from other outlets.


An Honorary Member may be any organization or individual who made a significant contribution to the global independent network on design and innovation in defence and security across NATO members and partners or to the AOD since its inception such as initial “Design Cabal” members; who makes a significant financial contribution or other kind of contributions; who undertakes to comply with the administrative regulations of the Guild to the exception of contributing one AOD activity at least once per year.

How to Become a Contributing Member

Any individual interested in design and innovation for defence and security challenges may become a contributing member based on three requirements:

1. Individuals may request to become a formal contributing member by taking part to one AOD activity such as a workshop or collective project once a year.

2. By being nominated by a Guild Council member and approved by the Guild Council. Membership is renewable on an annual basis.

3. Contributing members must share the vision, mission and the fundamental values of AOD.

About our Funders

This project is funded by a Canadian Department of National Defence’s MINDS Collaborative Network Grant 2020-2023 supporting the Innovation Methodologies for Defence Challenges Network https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/programs/minds/funding-results.html

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 800560.