Publications

19 December 2022

What Is Strategic Design? Cultivating Cognitive Agility for the Craft of Generalship

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By Ofra Graicer, Philippe Dufort and Oliver Jones

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Abstract:

This article presents the philosophy of strategic design as a reflexive practice for generalship in defense and security organizations. We present strategic design as a distinctive aspect of generalship which enables defense practitioners working at the strategic level to address the kind of complex security challenges facing military leaders and decision makers in the 21st century. Our approach in this article combines unique first-hand insights from the co-instructor of the Israeli Defense Forces Generals’ Course, cross-cultural expertise on socialization of knowledge in defense and security settings, and elements of narrative and critical theory relevant to military design practice. We advocate cognitive agility as a critical mindset for defense leaders who need to generate transformative potential in an era of wars with no end. To illustrate a model of cognitive agility for generalship, we unpack some of the more esoteric aspects of the “Z model” of strategic design inquiries. The key to the Z model are the concepts of self-disruption, the strategic effectiveness of storytelling, and the principle of leveraging real-world operations as the expression of epistemology in action.

 

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