Community of Practice
Murray’s cognitive psychology pedigree began in the 1980s but evolved over the decades to include an eclectic mix of other military-related disciplines. After serving nearly 30 years in the New Zealand Defence Force, he transferred over to the Royal Australian Navy, and is now an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. Regardless of uniform or posting, Murray remains passionate about helping others to realise their potential. Seven years of teaching at staff colleges provided him with ample opportunity to observe mid-career officers struggle making the step-change from transactional thinking to transformational designing. For many students, this transmogrification from caterpillar to butterfly remains unnecessarily challenging, yet Murray is convinced they are victims of a system that over-enthusiastically conditions junior officers to remain predictable through templated linear thinking processes. Thus—although accepting intellectual agility might be genetically capped—there is no excuse for militaries artificially constraining their decision makers to levels below their potential.
At the heart of Murray’s philosophy is the deep belief that design thinking is a verb not a noun. For him, pushing past the sugar-rush of awareness activities into sustained employment of design thinking epistemologies (not ontologies) has the potential to mitigate heuristically acquired cognitive biases. Murray’s current research area, therefore, is not just championing wider employment of military design thinking, but pushing it down to lower rank levels. Afterall, developing professional wisdom begins on Day One.
As a professional educator, Murray prefers to be in the classroom working with learners rather than publishing; consequently, has never published anything in the field. His doctoral dissertation was on Holistic Professional Military Development in the New Zealand Defence Force. Other co-authored works include a chapter in the forthcoming Handbook of Military Sciences and another article on Contextualising Military Design Thinking (both in press).