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About the course

How to leverage academia, industry, and the DoD innovation ecosystem to accelerate solutions for national defense problems

In a global environment, that is moving faster than ever before, how well an organization can innovate and change has become a key indicator of success. In order to attain this success, the intention to innovate must be coupled with the tools necessary to engage the organization with resources, both inside and outside, and cultivate a culture which is accepting of change and risk. For the Department of Defense this means understanding the innovation ecosystem and how can it be used to navigate the path through problem curation, solution vetting and the challenges of government regulations. While the Department of Defense, academia and industry have been working together for years the landscape and resources have changed tremendously. Non-traditional partners are leading DoD in research and development dollars by a factor of three to one. In order to inspire the nation to work with the DoD in unique ways, and for the DoD to get the most from those resources, a solid framework for finding and working with those partners is essential.


  • Developed in collaboration with the Texas Military Department this program will focus on:
  • Identifying what success looks like: what do you want from the ecosystem, what can you give back to it and how can you measure and track progress
  • Characteristics of today’s most innovative organizations
  • Creating a more collaborative, innovation, and less risk-averse culture
  • Frames for innovation decisions and solving hard to define problems
  • Selling innovation within the command: Why do some great ideas fail? How do we kill an idea that isn’t great?
  • Questioning, observation, networking and experimenting to surface new ideas and value-creating innovations
  • Communicating pertinent information to your partners including hidden barriers: framework to bring potential issues up to the forefront
  • Accelerating internal innovation utilizing resources both within and outside DoD
  • Identifying and assessing innovation hubs best suited for your needs
  • Practically capturing, vetting and accessing ideas utilizing a Business Model Canvas
  • Identify, engage, and attract innovative companies and ideas
  • Identifying innovation ecosystems: national, state, and local and developing a process and framework for plugging in
  • Competitions, hachathons and accelerators as ideation platforms
  • Getting outside the usual suspects and understanding how to be attractive to the organization who does not know how to work with DoD, or does not think they want to
  • Leveraging small investments in innovation: experimenting in small, fast, and cheap ways to reach novel solutions
  • Understanding where new technologies are coming from and the capabilities of those technologies
  • Partnering with academia and the private sector to enable a faster innovation cycle
  • Technology showcase and use case of academia and industry working with DoD
  • Listening to innovative solutions in various stages of development and differentiating between the 90% there idea and the 10% there idea and then knowing how to question and respond to each


  • Innovation – The Innovator’s Profile, Frames for Innovation and Diffusion of Innovations
  • How the University Engages with The Military and Discussion of Current Air Force Project
  • Identifying and Expanding Resources in the Ecosystem
  • Accelerating Innovation Through Internal and External Resources
  • Developing an Innovative Culture and Selling Innovation Within the Command
  • Introduction to Accelerators and AFWERX Use Case working with the Capital Factory

Who should attend

  • Current Senior Military Personnel (O-6 and above, E-9)
  • C-Suite Executives desiring to engage with DoD on innovation activities

Trust the experts

John Daly

Biography Dr. John Daly (Ph.D., Purdue University, 1977) is the Liddell Centennial Professor of Communication, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, TCB Professor of Management, and an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy. He has published more than one hundred articles and chapters in scholarly...


Brett Cornwell

Brett Cornwell is Associate Vice Chancellor for Commercialization at The Texas A&M University System. He directs Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization, which commercializes the intellectual property of the Texas A&M System and creates new companies that develop products and se...


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