Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 51

CULTURE OF INNOVATION incubator to insource innovation. It supports service members working to provide viable solutions to real problems where they can and how they can. Additionally, prospective entrepreneurs can draw on the wisdom and experience of more seasoned innovators who can help them develop practical approaches to implementing their ideas within the context of a skeptical bureaucracy. Conclusion The bureaucratic nature of our military is useful to provide for our common defense and has been sufficiently so for over 200 years. Unfortunately, this bureaucracy can severely restrict innovation. Like many peripheral networks of the past, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum has sought to provide its participants an environment free from bureaucratic burdens and blind spots. This kind of environment should be replicated in other avenues to support the creation of a culture of innovation, one in which ideas complement the existing institutional bureaucracy. Within its loose confines, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum provides a hub for innovation where self-identified entrepreneurs can support one another through informal, peripheral networks. The Defense Entrepreneurs Forum is autonomous and free from parochial interest. It provides an adaptive, no-cost, fail-for-free environment where ideas can be discussed, experiments can be designed and tested, and ventures can be discarded if appropriate, so entrepreneurs can push workable solutions to the DOD. Notes 1. Edward Cox, Grey Emminence: Fox Connor and the Art of Mentorship (AUSA Institute of Land Warfare, 2010), 11-12. 2. George S. Patton, “Comments on the Cavalry Tanks”, Cavalry Journal, July 1921. 3. Carlo D-Este, Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life (New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2002), 151-152. 4. Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School, 1997). 5. RAND documented briefing, prepared for the U.S. Army, Predicting Military Innovation, by Jeffrey A. Isaacson, Christopher Layne, and John Arquilla (Washington, DC: RAND Arroyo Center, 1999), html. 6. This aphorism comes from the quote, “a true creator is necessity, which is the mother of our invention,” Plato, The Republic, Robin Waterfield, translator, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 59. MILITARY REVIEW  July-August 2014 7. Information for these organizations is available at http://,, and http://dschool. 8. Nathan K. Finney, Jeff Gilmore, Benjamin Kohlmann, and Lindsay Rodman, “Fostering Military Entrepreneurs,” Armed Forces Journal, August 2013, fostering-military-entrepreneurs/. 9. Visit the Defense Entrepreneur Forum website at http:// We invite innovators to join us at the 2014 gathering of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, University of Chicago, 24-26 October 2014. 10. Charles E. White, The Enlightened Soldier: Scharnhorst and the Militärische Gesellschaft in Berlin, 1801-1805 (Westport: Praeger, 1988), 30. 11. Ibid, 31, 49. 12. The authors are indebted to Lt. Cmdr. B.J. Armstrong for his support and personal work on William Sims and the gunnery revolution. More information on his work can be found at the U.S. Naval Institute, beginning here: http://blog.usni. org/2012/06/08/a-junior-officer-and-a-discovery. 49