Client Story

UK Ministry of Defence

Keeping the nation safe by understanding the impact of future technologies

The future threats created by today’s technologies are still hard to imagine. We helped the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) commission a set of inspirational tools to stretch the organisation’s thinking about the future and make sure defence strategy takes account of the new threats ahead.

Key successes

  • Received 70+ proposals from innovation Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • Developed 11 ‘proofs of concept’ for the innovation toolkit

Using technology to keep us safe

Understanding how technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality will change our society takes a leap of the imagination. It’s something the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) must do brilliantly to make the right decisions on how to keep people safe.

We helped the MOD’s Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl) commission a set of tools to inspire innovative thinking around future defence challenges. The tools include virtual reality games to immerse decision-makers in future worlds, futurology questionnaires that illuminate expert opinion on possible impacts, and exercises to bring different scenarios to life. Working in partnership with Dstl and other suppliers, we brought our extensive network of contacts across the innovation community to stretch ways of thinking about the future.

Contracting for innovation

To find the best tools to capture the imagination and engage decision-makers, we ran an open innovation challenge. This attracted ideas from more than 70 innovative suppliers. Following a pitch day, we asked 11 to develop their ideas to show how these could provide a step change in the way the future of defence is looked at. Our commercial and legal team handled the contracts on behalf of the MOD, ensuring all requirements were met. We brought together a diverse team, including experts in defence and innovation, to mentor the suppliers through the development process to make sure they produced solutions that were right for Dstl.

Within six months, Dstl had a suite of exciting and practical tools that will transform the way their people think about, and plan for, future technologies. We’re now developing a virtual reality platform so people from across the MOD can explore the tools and play their part in planning for a safer future.

PA really understand how to source innovation. They helped us engage with a whole ecosystem of suppliers that we could never have accessed alone. Their links into this world were essential in helping us realise truly open innovation.”
Principal Scientist, Defence Science & Technology Laboratory

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