Exploding alarm clocks, plastic explosive toothpaste, poison shoe spikes, exploding briefcases - thanks to Q, James Bond had all the innovative technology he needed to keep safe and beat the enemy. Who wouldn’t want a submersible Lotus Esprit that can shoot down helicopters or a magnificent silver DB5? And, of course, he had one other deadly tool in his armoury, charm.
All a bit of fun, and nobody does it quite like him, but imagine it’s your responsibility to protect the UK’s security and maintain our military advantage at all times. Now imagine you don’t have Q by your side – how will you constantly maintain a stream of innovative technologies and technical advancements to deal with future challenges to our security, and give critical advantage to our defence and security forces?
You’ll have to develop and connect with a massive network of research institutions, innovation centres and industry players – large and small. You’ll need to communicate with them all to inform and inspire them to create new technologies in answer to threats and challenges. You’ll need to develop ideas, incubate and experiment with them. Match customers to potential innovation providers, support end-to-end development of these new innovations, as well as developing entrepreneurial and business skills within government departments. You’ll need to be diplomatic, be able to work with an enormous range of personalities, be pragmatic, patient, inspiring, understanding, forward thinking, enthusiastic, oh yes, and let’s not forget, you’ll need charm.
It’s OK, you can relax, because that was the challenge Treehouse faced when they won a tender to work with the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) to create an innovation hub to do just that. The Defence & Security Accelerator has been developed, and is already working as a conduit to help government defence and security departments collaborate with the private sector, academia and important allies to rapidly develop innovative solutions to our most pressing national security challenges and to accelerate ideas from conception through to application.
Working out how the online innovation hub actually interacted with these third parties, how to reach them, define who they should be and where the accelerator should be located, was a challenge. And that’s where Treehouse came in. They worked with Frontline Commands and potential contributors to the accelerator from the private sector and academia to look at potential user journeys. They then used the user journeys plus other research crowdsourced on an on-line Defence and Security community platform, along with depth interviews, to prototype the Accelerator’s challenge function.
The new Defence and Security Accelerator will see incredible technological advances in Britain’s security systems and will support the development of futuristic technologies and smart solutions, such as: surveillance drones inspired by dragonflies, laser weapons, mobile robots that can inspect incidents involving chemical materials, sensors that use gravity to survey underground structures in minutes, and virtual reality helmets to practice calling in simulated air strikes.
Prior to their work on the Accelerator, Gloucestershire based Treehouse provided Foundation and Advanced TREEANGLE training programmes and workshops to Innovation Advocates within various scientific and technical sections of the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
The TREEANGLE is a creative thinking toolkit of methods and behaviours which gently stimulates the brain into thinking differently and has been successfully used to support businesses to innovate and generate bigger, better, faster, cost effective results
The past 5 years has seen a massive change in the way DSTL teams have adapted creative thinking skills to challenging problems and Treehouse is proud to play a part in changing the way the MOD develops innovative solutions.