Defence Innovation Priorities

Through the Innovation Priorities we are looking for ideas and opportunities in unconventional places and in unanticipated relationships.


Defence Innovation Priorities

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The Priorities

Integrate information and physical activity across all domains:

  • how can we integrate information and physical activity across domains (particularly space and cyber), and synchronise with wider government to increase understanding and operational tempo

Delivering agile command and control

  • how can we deliver agile command and control, to make faster, better decisions and generate decisive advantage in complex operations

Operate and deliver effects in contested domains

  • how can we operate and deliver military outcomes in denied and contested domains

Defence people, skills, knowledge and experience

  • how can we access people with the right skills, knowledge and experience

Simulating future battlespace complexity

  • how do we represent future battlespace complexity and higher levels of integration in training, wargaming and experimentation

We have selected these priorities by considering the intersection between our highest priority capability risks and issues and where we think collaboration with the civil sector shows most promise. These are enduring problems for us that have a wide range of impacts. Whilst not explicitly captured in the Priorities themselves, affordability and efficiency will be major features of any resulting innovation collaborations.

Using the Priorities

We are adopting an open approach. We are looking for ideas and opportunities in unconventional places and in unanticipated relationships. We therefore want to engage with companies and organisations who are similarly willing to explore new ways of working.

To support this, we are:

  • making it easier for businesses to work with us
  • working with industry in different ways
  • consulting with industry to identify lessons from the current innovation portfolio
  • exploring provision of access to finance and mentoring services
  • piloting information sharing to give industry easier access to current and potential future innovation investment

Within defence, the priorities will be used to:

  • inform policy, strategy and plans: shaping how the department understands and exploits innovation
  • focus innovation investment: shaping how the defence innovation fund is allocated

Outside defence, the priorities should be used by:

  • organisations facing similar problems who are willing to share their solutions with us: to recognise that your products, processes and practices might be applicable to defence, and to work with us to learn from this and pilot similar solutions in defence

  • organisations facing similar problems who are willing to work with us to develop and test new solutions: To recognise where your problems are also our problems, and to collaborate in developing innovative and mutually beneficial solutions

  • organisations able to supply solutions to similar problems who are willing to work with us: to recognise where the solutions you already have might address these problems, or where you have the capability to develop solutions to them, and to engage with us through the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)

  • public sector partners: to understand the problems we are focusing innovation resource on and the outcomes we are seeking and to work with us to find solutions applicable to wider public sector needs

  • international allies: to understand the problems that we will be prioritising for international innovation collaboration and where there may be opportunities for co-development or to bolster existing bilateral and multilateral partnerships

Focusing innovation investment

The Defence Innovation Fund is allocated according to 3 themes, with the Defence Innovation Priorities determining the allocation to the strategic and cross-cutting activities theme.

  • strategic and cross-cutting activities such as the current Spearheads Programmes and a new thematic Innovation Challenge on Information Advantage run through DASA
  • opportunities and ideas being open to any opportunity and ideas from any source, including the DASA open call for Innovation and the internal ideas schemes for business units and staff
  • enabling activities and resources that enable a culture that is innovative by instinct, by overcoming barriers, supporting development of the innovation ecosystem and developing the practice of Innovation

How we would like you to respond

If you are an organisation that has similar problems to ours and is willing to work with us then we want to talk to you. We aim to take a staged approach to developing this new relationship.

  • publicise the opportunity to collaborate: publishing this document is one way in which we are promoting the opportunity to work with us on innovation. We will also use existing news, publicity and social media channels

  • provide a forum to explore the long-term potential for collaboration: the aim of this stage is to test and refine the case for collaboration and to confirm the continued commitment of parties. It will also define the goals of any innovation activity. This may be through a conventional process of face-to-face meetings, but it will also employ digital collaboration spaces

  • conduct innovation activity: the activities we undertake may be as simple as capturing the instances of how problems have been solved elsewhere and working out how we can apply them.

It might be we jointly sponsor an innovation challenge to bring fundamentally different solutions into the market to address shared problems or it might be exploration of a strategic arrangement that enables a portfolio of projects to be established.

To begin this process, please contact us through the following email address providing details of how you want to collaborate, and we will respond.

If you are an organisation that can supply us with solutions, please monitor the DASA website, which will provide information about the thematic innovation challenges when we launch them. It will also hold information for funding innovation activity to develop new solutions or to pilot pre-existing solutions in defence.

The website provides information about how to bid into these opportunities and information about the open call for innovation.

Published 9 September 2019