Foresighting Innovation with Defence Science and Technology

– by Chris Doherty

Emerging Disruptive Technology Assessment Symposia (EDTAS) – Futures Thinking with tangible outcomes

Here at Noetic we’re excited to continue working with the Defence Science & Technology Group (DST Group) in developing and shaping the next three EDTAS through 2019-2021.

The DST Futures activities are highly regarded across the national and international futures and foresighting community. Noetic is a key partner in the research, design and development of EDTAS, bringing stakeholders together to explore innovation and disruptive influences that have global potential.

We’re proud of our collaboration with DST, having supported five previous EDTAS Campaigns, each informed by the Next Generation Technologies Fund priorities:

  • Trusted Autonomous Systems (2015)
  • Information, Knowledge and Digital Disruption (2017)
  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (2017/18)
  • Human Biotechnologies (2018)
  • Space Technologies (2019)

EDTAS is a great example of futures thinking delivering very real and tangible outcomes. As with any skill, we continue to learn and refine our approach, but here are some insights we have learnt from our EDTAS experience.

Start with a diverse team of talent 

Diverse ideas come from a diverse team. An EDTAS campaign welcomes a breadth of expertise from academia, Defence and the private sectorWe work closely with DST group and an Australian university partner and ensure this collaborative team are empowered to use their networks, knowledge, planning and creative skills. This team co-designs the campaign bringing experience spanning science, research, futures thinking, analytics, stakeholder engagement, project planning, facilitation, event management and experience design.  

Research is the key to better outcomes  

 No foresight can occur without a thorough understanding of the subject matter, knowing the current state, understanding the drivers of change and recognising previous trends. For EDTAS, we work with subject matter experts who are the best and brightest from academia, defence, public and private sector. Through in-depth interviews they provide the current thinking, refer to exemplary research and suggest the trends they recognise in their work. These interviews build a collective understanding of broader complexities and unearth disruptive concepts for further exploration.  

These concepts form the foundation of an Insights Paper which provides an opportunity to baseline understanding on the topic prior to gathering a group of experts and stakeholders to participate in one of the two symposiums: Technology Opportunities and Military Implications.  

The most recent 2019 Space Technologies Insights Paper provides a historical grounding of the current key technological drivers for space as well as identifying and discussing trends in space technology for the next five to ten years. 

The 2019 Space Technologies Insights Paper

Get great minds working together, not just sharing ideas.

Bringing great minds together to share research ideas is always exciting and rigorous. But when you also get these minds working together with futures thinking methods to identify emerging disruptive opportunities, the results are typically very powerful. An EDTAS symposium is a case in point.

People often hear symposium and think conference, but EDTAS is so much more than a networking and speaking event.  Speakers and panellists bring a wealth of knowledge and present ground-breaking technology to inspire delegates into rich networking, knowledge-sharing and futures thinking workshops.

A sample EDTAS experience design – EDTAS Human Biotechnologies (2018) included workshops themed as an ‘Augmented Games of 2045’

Make the future tangible

The point of all this research, analysis and idea generation is the production of a Big Picture Report. This tangible outcome plays a crucial role in supporting Defence, and wider Government agencies to understand and meet the long term strategic and technical challenges of the future.

EDTAS has been a major avenue in the development of Noetic’s Futures Thinking capability.

We know that the comprehensive output from Futures Thinking significantly enhances DST group’s advice to Defence. Importantly, EDTAS enables a clearer view of how technological change may impact strategy, what signals to pay attention to now and how to prepare for future disruption.

We look forward to the upcoming technological exploration and discovering more of what the future holds.

You can find out more about EDTAS on the DST website

EDTAS delegates from 2017-2019
Delegates workshop across 2 days interspersed with panel speakers and keynotes

A CLEARER VIEW INTO THE FUTURE – Signature Solutions for Foresight Development, read more here