Publications

By Dr Murray Simons, Samuel Simons

Design thinking is not a thing. Rather, it is better described as many things, to many people. In fact, to some, the associated literature can appear complex—yet here lies its beauty. The characteristics of design thinking are the same characteristics of the very phenomena it attempts to modify. Luckily, even at the entry level, it is actually quite intuitive. However, the deeper one studies the concept, the more powerful it becomes.

Design thinking is an eclectic collection of sense-making approaches to amorphous, incomplete, complex, evolving, and contradictory phenomena—typically with a goal of improving the situation. It is, therefore, not surprising that the construct is in itself, indescribable in just a few words. In fact, one of the tenets of complex adaptive systems is that they are not reducible to simplified representations or component parts. Any attempt to do so, invalidates the system’s true nature. This article, therefore, acknowledges its weakness in that it proposes a visible interpretation of an amorphous concept. Reflexive purists will be horrified, but the curious might just read on.

This paper proposes a conceptual framework for contextualizing military design thinking (MDT). It progressively explores the major zones and concepts in the much broader discipline of general design thinking to demystify various interpretations of a single label—in different settings, for different purposes. It then situates the multidisciplinary spectrum of design thinking and problem types before tackling the concept of design in the military. Of the six broad themes, MDT is explored in more depth. The paper concludes by drawing all the preceding constructs together into a single holistic framework of military design thinking. The value of this Funnel Model, is in contextualizing different uses of the label Design Thinking by demonstrating the interlinked layers and relationships of its application.

Read below for full publication

Contextualising Military Design Thinking v8.5

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