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Dr. Phil Budden, MIT Sloan School of Management
Prof. Fiona Murray, MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Innovation Initiative

May 2019


Government actors in the innovation space play a range of roles: these are in large part
determined by the dynamics of each nation’s state ‘system’ of agencies, the wider ‘ecosystem’ in
which they operate and their specific organizational mandate. Some agencies play more than
one role at the same time, and many operate at different stages of the innovation lifecycle.
As the analysis in the report illustrates, there is therefore no simple ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for
defence innovation nor for all defence agencies. Various countries are experimenting with their
established practices for defence innovation (by adapting the state’s formal ‘system’ or creating
new agencies and missions within it to tap the wider ecosystem) and many if not all have a
significant number of different agencies and units whose collective role is to meet today’s defence innovation challenge: namely to build and maintain defence capabilities while recognizing that that cannot be done simply through internal innovation activities.