March 13, 2023

March 14, 2023

Innovation in Defence

Defence Innovation Unit team up with PUBLIC to scale innovation training across Ministry of Defence


Today, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) faces an uncertain threat environment, characterised by live conflict, rapid technological developments and transnational challenges. The ability to generate and deploy game-changing ideas at pace is central to maintaining the United Kingdom’s military and strategic advantage over its adversaries.

To stay one step ahead of those who threaten our safety, the MOD Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) aims to enable and embed innovation across Defence, ensuring Defence personnel are innovative by instinct and that the most useful and novel ideas are taken through to impact.


The DIU created a three-tiered training approach to serve this goal of embedding innovation across Defence, and selected The PUBLIC School of Technology to deliver Innovation in Defence, a pan-Defence innovation training programme. PUBLIC was selected for its unique experience in applied innovation learning and people-centred design for the public sector; its ecosystem approach to bringing the best minds together to solve society’s challenges and its access to a network of expert faculty, mentors and GovTech startups.

Since 2020, PUBLIC has delivered the Percy Hobart Fellowship (PHF) to personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and US Navy; this twelve-week programme taught fellows how to integrate new technologies into Defence, accelerate transformation around citizens’ needs and acquire startup methodologies to drive agility and people-centred design.

In early 2023, the PUBLIC School of Technology launched Innovation in Defence: three innovation learning programmes for pan-Defence personnel from all services and across a broad range of experiences. The Innovation Fundamentals and Innovation Practitioner programmes focus on equipping MOD innovators with an applied toolkit of project and design thinking methodologies to navigate their innovation journeys in their own work area. The third programme, Strategic Innovation, unpacks the layers of the system - culture, behaviours, structures and processes, partnerships and collaboration, and spaces - so that senior leaders can explore and strategize how to enable the conditions for innovation success across their teams and organisations. The three programmes offer holistic, people-centred innovation learning, facilitating organisational conversations that bypass hierarchical and bureaucratic structures, making innovation work for everyone.


The training aims to equip trainees with the skills, processes and resources to solve complex problems, and test and scale-up innovative ideas to capability in Defence. Accessible to the whole of the Ministry of Defence, Innovation in Defence offers three programmes aligned to the Pan Defence Skills Framework (PDSF), helping Defence professionals track their proficiency levels across knowledge, skill applications, experiences, and behaviours.

PUBLIC launched recruitment in late November 2022, with over 250 MOD personnel applying to the learning programmes. In February 2023, the first cohort of participants graduated from the Innovation Fundamentals training programme, with 95% reporting they would recommend the programme to a colleague.


Photo by the author

Elina Lam-Gall

Director of Learning & Workforce Transformation

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