Idea of systems (IoS)

Based on the NATO DTAG Game, this version has been further developed or adapted in order to reduce the ideation time to a minimum. Not having days at disposal, the challenge was to bring as much knowledge as possible to the participants in order to provide him/her some new stimulating concepts, new contexts, well, new elements he or she might not have thought relevant to innovate in such an environment.

The Ideas of System goal is to come up with new ideas on how you could combine technologies to solve some situations and challenges faced on the battlefield. It provides a canvas with aspects you need to consider and be ready to answer if you would like your idea to grow and take form out of the digital or paper version of this exercise.

The first use of the methodology in that given format took place on May 8th 2018 during the DEFTECH Inspirational Workshop “Science-Fictioning The Future of Military Systems“.

A special thanks to Dr. Sibylle Lang from IABG for the support and the challenging discussions along the way. Most of the various contents surrounding the technologies were developed together.

Some practical remarks out of experience

  1. We present the different steps 1 to 4, in the order that we think would be best to use and combine the different elements, but always remember that the focus is to produce the best possible IoS using the canvas.
  2. We had a good experience with groups of 5-7 individuals.
    Having more, you start to have individuals focusing on other tasks (mostly on their mobile phone). Having less, the outcome might reflect too strongly the view of a person.
  3. We find that 4 hours is a minimum time to invest if you want to start having “non-obvious” solutions.
    Never forget people like to debate, that if you work in groups, just presenting yourself and knowing your neighbours will require some precious, but normally well invested minutes
  4. Absolutely consider one moderator per group to take care of the timing and be sure everybody is participating and delivering his/her input.
  5. All the PDF in High Definition (HD) format have been realised and are editable using the powerful free design tool Inkscape.

Please remember… this is the way and process we followed… nothing more, nothings less… if you have other experiences, we would be more than happy to hear about them and to share the best practices!

Do not hesitate to get in touch!

1. Tactical situations

If you are trying to come up with new ideas of systems, it might not be just for the sake of pure innovation, but most probably to provide an advantage to your troops on the battlefield. If clear guidance or specifications are missing from operatives, you can build some vignettes to best describe what kind of situation you are considering.

Of course, nothing will be more valuable than soldiers with experience in the field, but having good vignettes could already be useful for a first iteration. As you will have to make assumptions along the way, it will help you to better interact with the potential end-user for the second iteration!


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Global Situation Framework
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Medical Evacuation
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Separation of Forces
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Seize Back Position
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Simultaneous Attacks
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Secure Critical Infrastructure
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Secure Site
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Force Distribution
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2. A complex world

If you think about a new system, you might integrate new technologies and combine them together like Lego parts. However, you’ll be faced with alternatives on how to build your system. There is no right or wrong answer at this stage, but a sea of possible combinations. This same system will also have to operate in a complex world, in which socio-economic aspects might be of critical importance. Adding these dimensions to your reflexion might influence the way your concept will look like.

On a very practical level, there are different ways of presenting the information, but we decided to have all the various inputs on the same page. If printed, please use the A3 format for better readability. Every element could also be presented on an individual card. Each option has its advantages, and drawbacks, we just decided to go this way!

These extensions were added after considering the methodology used in some workshops by the Dr. Thomas Gauthier, Professor of Strategy at emlyon business school and the University of Applied Science in Geneva.

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Technology Trends
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Socio-Economic Trends
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Techno-Cards to provide ideas and stimulate curiosity!

Produced in cooperation with Envisioning, Mr. Michell Zappa and his team, these cards help supporting the development of new systems by providing information about new technologies, new processes, or simply new ideas. You can use them one by one or combine them.

The same inputs and more are available on dynamic representations or “Radars” here:


Dynamic and searchable representations or “radars” to bring science-fiction into our lives to help us anticipating and measuring the gap between our today and our possible tomorrowS!

The work and methodology were developed with


3. The IoS Canvas

Now that you have a clear idea of your future system, you can start designing it!

This canvas is supposed to guide you through your innovation journey. It will not make you innovative if it is not your mindset, but as every canvas, it is there to structure the thinking process and ensure that you cover the basics elements that could be challenged during the presentation of your IoS.

Optimized to be printed in DIN A3 or larger format


Idea of System – Canvas
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4. Challenge your IoS assumptions

At this stage, you should have a very good representation of your IoS; how it may look like, what it could do, etc. However, this is only reflecting your point of view and maybe the adversary sees it in a totally different way!

Aiming at improving your IoS, invest some time in a “blue vs red” confrontation following this scheme. Hopefully by the end of it, some weaknesses or new suggestions would have come up to make your initial system even better!

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Operating Instructions
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