Armies in contemporary warfare have been confronted with complexity. Modern day conflicts have evolved, causing proven doctrines and traditional military decision making processes fall short in providing the much needed answers. Military design is a doctrinal methodology capable of providing cognitive tools that can be used for addressing complexity, in order to execute activities within the full spectrum of operations. Such doctrinal innovation is very relevant for the Netherlands Army, which is like many other Armies in search for ways of dealing with complexity. Israel, the U.S. and Australia have already successfully emulated and operationalised design into their Armies.
In this research, these armies have been used as cases in order to provide answers for addressing the main question, which was: “Why is design emulated by other armies?” With the use of leading innovation theories an Innovation Framework had been constructed and applied to these three cases. The Innovation Framework consisted of three factors. The first was politics & strategy; which identified threat in the international environment. The second factor was military culture which had influence on the amount of acceptance on military change. Organizational bureaucracy was the third factor and depended on military culture, it could provide resistance to change. These three factors haven proven to be interdependent and capable in providing answers to the asked main question. The Armies which had successfully emulated design into their organization, had done so because of four reasons. First, they had encountered new challenges originating from changes in their strategic environments. Second, a lack of knowledge on operational art had been identified. Third, cross-national military culture had facilitated the emulation of design. Final and fourth, ‘agents of change’ had shaped military culture leading their Army towards innovation. Further research was recommended on the subject named “operational warfare”, because design only offers part of the solution.The Rise of Design