Students have three options to get involved in design thinking on the NPS campus:
- Attend E-Week Design Thinking Short Courses. These courses provide an introduction to design thinking and challenge participants to find some innovative solutions to our design challenges on campus. All who are interested can attend; there are no admission requirements.
- Take Design Thinking Courses. These courses are being offered by design thinking faculty throughout campus. Check our DT calendar for course offerings and availability.
- Use a Design Thinking Approach to Your Capstone Projects. See individual faculty and staff who can supervise your capstone projects.
Students also can take community design thinking classes offered through the Stanford Design School:
- Check the Stanford D School’s calendar of events to sign up for their three-hour or day-long workshops.
Students also can take virtual courses in Design Thinking:
NPS Capstone and Project Reports
Conceptual and preliminary design of a low-cost precision aerial delivery system
Hall, Andrew B. [Date: 2016-06. Master of Science in Systems Engineering]
Strategic design for NORSOF 2025
Berg-Knutsen, Espen and Nancy Roberts [Date: 2015-07. NPS Technical Report no. NPS-DA-15-001]
Insurgent Design: the re-emergence of al-Qa’ida from 9/11 to the present
Russo, Joshua A. [Date: 2015-12. Master of Science in Defense Analysis]
Solving Homeland Security’s Wicked Problems: a Design Thinking Approach
Wyckoff, Kristin L. [Date: 2015-09. Master of Arts in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense)]
Cast Iron versus Creativity: Fostering Balanced Thinking in Military Professionals
Laplante, Michael H. [Date: 2015-06. Master of Science in Defense Analysis]
Crowdsourced Formal Verification: a Business Case Analysis Toward a Human-centered Business Model
Baur, Andreas [Date: 2015-06. Master of Business Administration]
CA 2025: the strategic design of Civil Affairs
Hayes, Samuel L., Jr.; Nguyen, Ken [Date: 2015-06. Master of Science in Defense Analysis]
A case study of project ATHENA: tactical level technological innovation aboard the USS Benfold
Cannon, Christopher K. [Date: 2014-12. Master of Science in Information Technology Management]
Designing incentives for Marine Corps cyber workforce retention
Hernandez, Lucas F.; Johnson, Derek K. [Date: 2014-12. Master of Business Administration]
Digital hive project: prototyping a collaborative web portal for the explosive ordnance disposal community
Hayes, John J. [Date: 2014-06. Master of Science in Defense Analysis]
Designing collaboration: how to prepare SOF augmentation teams for assignment to a U.S. embassy country team
Jackson, Austin M.; Pusillo, Joshua A.; Smith, Steven A. [Date: 2014-06. Master of Science in Defense Analysis]
A case study of introducing innovation through design
Johnston, Kevin L. [Date:2014-03. Master of Science in Network Operations and Technology;Master of Science in Information ]Technology Management
A case study of managing information technology through design
Gavin, Michael A. [Date: 2013-06. Master of Science in Information Technology Management]
Restricted Access: More information
A case study of innovation and change in the U.S. Navy Submarine fleet
Hall, Thomas J. [Date: 2012-12. Master of Science in Information Technology Management]
Christopher K. Cannon
The Department of Defense (DOD) must find a way to maintain its technological superiority during this dawning era of fiscal austerity. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end and defense budgets shrink, the DOD can no longer rely solely on the commercial sector to address its technological problems. Instead, the DOD must harness the intellectual capital resident in its ranks to identify and solve its most salient technological challenges. An innovation effort initiated aboard the USS Benfold exemplifies ways in which tactical level units can drive technological innovation within the DOD. The initiative, known as Project ATHENA, began in early 2013 as a way to develop junior officers aboard the USS Benfold. However, Project ATHENA grew over the following months into an innovation initiative that is now supported by leading academic institutions, the commercial sector, private enterprise, and a growing number of government agencies. Project ATHENA offers an opportunity to conduct a case study analyzing the ways in which organizational change management and design thinking can be utilized to spur technological innovation. The case provides DOD leaders with an in depth examination of the factors contributing to the burst of technological innovation witnessed in project ATHENA.
Lucas F. Hernandez; Derek K. Johnson
There is a pervasive national shortage of qualified cyber personnel, both in the Marine Corps and the nation at large. To retain quality cyber personnel, the Marine Corps must identify those factors that cause cyber personnel to separate from active service and explore specific incentives to retain them. This research used Grounded Theory and Design Thinking to explore these challenges. Key findings show the importance of tailoring retention policies across three areas: monetary rewards (money and benefits), non-monetary rewards (duty station preference, geographic stability, educational opportunities), personal needs (development of transferrable skills and external career opportunities, internal career progression, alignment with personal interests and goals, access to technology), and organizational elements (allowance for community uniqueness, engagement of stakeholders in process development, and a healthy command climate with limited bureaucracy). These findings were incorporated into a Design Thinking process that resulted in three prototype solutions to cyber retention. This study demonstrates how the unique characteristics of cyber personnel require tailored incentive packages and improved personnel policies in order to foster employees’ intrinsic motivations to achieve success. The results focus on the Marine Corps, but the underlying motivations should resonate with cyber personnel in any organization.
LT John J. Hayes
Digital Hive Project: Prototyping a Collaborative Web Portal for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Community
June 2014, Outstanding Thesis Award
Capstone Advisor: Nancy Roberts
Second Reader: Kristen Tsolis
Information is currently being produced at a volume and velocity that surpasses the ability of individuals to make full use of it within a given time constraint—a condition known as information overload. Advances in technology, namely the Internet, have exacerbated information overload at all military commands. At the operational level especially, leaders are unable to receive adequate timely information necessary for complex problem solving and decision making. Thus, they satisfice with the modicum of information they have to make important decisions. The question addressed in this capstone project is how the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) community can cope with information overload, especially in complex and turbulent environments when up-to-date information is critical to its mission success?
Using a design methodology, members of the EOD community developed a Web 2.0 prototype website to aid in the processing and management of information. The results to date suggest great potential to improve information processing and management when using the website.
MAJ Joshua Pusillo, MAJ Steve Smith, LCDR Austin Jackson
How SOF Can Improve Collaboration in the US Embassy Country Team by Introducing Design Thinking to Cope with Complex Issues
June 2014, The Hans Jones Award for Excellence in Thesis Research in Special Operations and Irregular Warfare or Security, Stabilization, Transition, and Reconstruction.
Capstone Advisor: Nancy Roberts
Second Reader(s): George Lober
At the forefront of executing US national security and diplomacy, US embassy country teams require effective joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational collaboration to defeat emerging networked threats. This project moves beyond numerous policy debates calling for interagency collaboration to address how US Special Operations Command is capable of brokering a global, self-organizing, interdisciplinary, collaborative system capable of solving ambiguous problems. We demonstrate Special Operations Forces (SOF) design thinkers can effectively broker a global, self-organizing, interdisciplinary, collaborative system capable of solving complex issues.
Design thinking is an effective method to improve collaborative problem solving within existing manning, authorities, and appropriations. The premise being that it is easier to find and connect existing groups than it is to invent a new organization. The organic qualities of SOF operators make them ideal interagency design brokers. Cohesive, interdisciplinary SOF design teams can facilitate the development of an ad hoc, self-organizing system that improves collaboration.
Kevin L. Johnston; Robert W. Featherstone
In September of 2013, senior submarine officers from across the United States Navy Submarine Force converged on Naval Station Pearl Harbor to participate in a collaborative, design thinking workshop. The overarching goal of this workshop, titled the Executive Tactical Advancements for the Next Generation Forum, was to leverage the knowledge and creativity of current and post-command submarine officers to address the unique needs of the commander through the incorporation of new technologies. The result of the forum was 11 innovative solutions to improve command effectiveness. As more of the problems of the world continue to become wicked, it is ever more important to have the ability to generate solutions using a collaborative approach to leverage the wisdom and creativity of the collective. While this technique is useful for determining unique solutions to complex problems, actually incorporating those solutions into an existing organization requires skillful execution of change management. The forum provided a unique opportunity to construct a case study demonstrating that design thinking can be used to spark innovation and change, offering Defense Department leadership an opportunity to explore alternative problem-solving methods and their application to the military environment.
Michael A Gavin
In the 1990s, degradation of the United States' submarine acoustic superiority led to what has been termed "The Acoustic Dilemma." The loss of the Cold War competitive forcing function saw the submarine force transition its approach to sonar system development. This transition encountered resistance from the embedded establishment and imposed several managerial challenges. The model that emerged was the Acoustic Rapid Commercial-Off-The-Shelf [COTS] Insertion (ARCI) program. ARCI is a business and technical strategy that capitalizes on the rapid improvements available through commercial technology and enables the submarine Navy to effectively pace the everevolving threat. ARCI enabled technology updates at an unprecedented rate. These rapid updates dramatically improved system capabilities, but the constant refresh of technology soon outpaced the operational and support structures' abilities to manage the rapid rate of change. In order to address these challenges, one of the nation's leading not-for-profit centers for sonar systems engineering, research and development coordinated with a design consultancy firm to create the Tactical Advancements for the Next Generation Forum. This forum used the principles of design thinking to create a collaborative endeavor that exploited the tacit knowledge of junior sailors in the design of sonar system technology.
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Thomas J. Hall
In November of 2011, the United States Navy Submarine Force conducted a revolutionary forum to leverage the technological abilities of the millennial generation in order to further the situational awareness of the sailors in the submarines control room. To facilitate this effort, a design firm was contracted to help understand the needs of the community and to guide the design sessions of the junior officers and enlisted brought in to generate ideas. The result of the forum was an output of several encouraging new methods for displaying information to understand a submarines contact much more rapidly. These new displays also dramatically reduce the time required to train new sailors in their operation. This incident provided an excellent opportunity to investigate the interactions of the Navy, change management and design thinking in the field of information technology. Given the high rate of failure for information technology projects within the Department of Defense, design thinking and change management are examined in this thesis to find possible methods to reduce the losses created by those failures.