Open Innovation in Defense. Passing Fad or New Philosophy? Briefings de l’Ifri, October 26, 2022
The use of civilian technologies on the battlefield—one of the lessons that can be drawn from recent conflicts—is attracting growing interest from the armed forces of France and other nations. The growing number of examples of effective integration of civilian technologies into the armed forces, including during conflict, shows the importance of open innovation and the acceleration of the international race toward innovation in the defense industry.
The war in Ukraine offers several practical examples of the operational added value that open innovation can offer. A case in point is the GIS Art for Artillery smartphone app, the deployment of which was speeded up after Ukraine was invaded by Russian forces, and which enables Ukrainian soldiers to order an artillery strike by entering the GPS coordinates from their phones.
Under certain conditions, open innovation in defense can therefore reset or even reverse the balance of power. Its goal is to detect, stimulate, and capture civil society innovations and, via short cycles, integrate them into force structures so as to seize opportunities or respond to challenges on the ground. For states, this mode of innovation now seems to be the norm, without raising questions about the way armament operations are conducted.
More than just a passing fad resulting from the development of “agile methods” imported from the civilian world, open innovation in defense has become vital to ensuring operational superiority. It strengthens arguments in favor of a “new philosophy” for France’s Defense Technological and Industrial Base (DTIB).
This content is available in French: L’innovation ouverte de défense. Effet de mode ou nouveau solfège ?