Publications

4 August 2020

Defining Military Design Thinking: An Extensive, Critical Literature Review

by :

Cara Wrigley, Genevieve Mosely, & Michael Mosely

Abstract

Military contexts are rapidly changing and are facing unprecedented levels of uncertainty and complexity. The conception and formalization of ‘Military Design Thinking’ has arisen as a potential tool to encounter and address these complex challenges and support innovation at the operational level of war. However, the extant literature lacks extensive investigation into conceptualizations of military design thinking, particularly from the perspective of the design research community. As such, this article reports on a critical literature review in which we derive nine key attributes from the data and present two emergent, novel conceptualizations of the term military design thinking: a pragmatic approach that largely seeks to modify existing military operational art in a minimal manner, and a more reflexive practice that seeks to break free from traditional military modes of thinking and develop innovative approaches to the problems of the contemporary operating environment. This article seeks to clarify military design thinking and contextualize its place in the wider design field by highlighting the pressing need for greater depth and diversity in design research underpinning future conceptualizations of military design thinking.

Defining Military Design Thinking

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