CASE STUDY

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January 11, 2022

The Percy Hobart Fellowship

Driving innovation in Defence

Challenge

The Percy Hobart Fellowship, run by PUBLIC on behalf of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, was developed by Daniel Korski, CEO and co-founder of PUBLIC. PUBLIC brings together experience from the public sector, technology and finance to help solve public problems through technology. The team is led by Daniel Korski, ex-deputy head of the No.10 policy unit and venture investor, Alexander de Carvalho.

Approach

The programme aims to drive a culture of innovation in Defence -  teaching specialist RN and RAF personnel to identify the needs of today’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and secure the most effective technologies and tools to meet these needs.  This year, PUBLIC adapted the curriculum for 2021 to reflect the UK Government’s Integrated Review, aiming to “embrace innovation in science and technology to boost national prosperity and strategic advantage’. Subjects covered during the course included:


  • Emerging technologies and their applications in defence;
  • The importance of understanding end-user needs;
  • Shifting traditional attitudes toward Defence Innovation;

Impact

The Fellowship inducts Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel into the tech ecosystem, seconding them into civilian-led start-ups for two to three days a week, alongside a taught curriculum covering the emerging technology landscape and fundamentals of building a business in the rest of the week. 


The Percy Hobart Fellowship worked with 45 Fellows across the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and US Navy for 12 weeks. Fellows return to their ranks with a sophisticated awareness of the fundamentals of technology and entrepreneurship and

have the opportunity to continue their engagement with the scheme via the Percy Hobart Fellowship Alumni programme.

RAF Fellow

An incredibly brave and enlightened concept, the Percy Hobart Fellowship has provided a welcome space to rapidly learn about startup innovation culture and hear from some of the brightest minds in this space. I hope to return to Defence and grow the community of ‘Innovation Seeking’ individuals looking for fast paced developments

Royal Navy Fellow

The Fellowship has shown me that by combining Mission Command and accountability with a startup’s flexibility and openness to change, we can harness a potent force for growth in an organisation that empowers its people to take risks, fail and iterate ideas without fear of reprimand – a vital end-state if we are serious about innovation in the UK Armed Forces.

Authors

Photo by the author

Roisin McCarthy

Associate, Ecosystem Events

Photo by the author

Ken Okoye

Associate

Photo by the author

Mia Millman

Head of Operations

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