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2015-09 


Solving homeland security's wicked problems: 
a design thinking approach 


Wyckoff, Kristin L. 


Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School 
http://hdl.handle.net/10945/47349 


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NAVAL 
POSTGRADUATE 
SCHOOL 


MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA 


THESIS 


SOLVING HOMELAND SECURITY’S WICKED 
PROBLEMS: A DESIGN THINKING APPROACH 


by 


Kristin L. Wyckoff 


September 2015 


Thesis Co-Advisors: Kathleen Kiernan 
Rodrigo Nieto-Gémez 





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4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE 5. FUNDING NUMBERS 

SOLVING HOMELAND SECURITY’S WICKED PROBLEMS: A DESIGN 

THINKING APPROACH 

6. AUTHOR(S) Wyckoff, Kristin L. 

7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 8. PERFORMING 
Naval Postgraduate School ORGANIZATION REPORT 
Monterey, CA 93943-5000 NUMBER 

9. SPONSORING /MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND 10. SPONSORING / 

ADDRESS(ES) MONITORING AGENCY 
N/A REPORT NUMBER 


11. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES The views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not reflect the 
official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. IRB Protocol number N/A ; 


12a. DISTRIBUTION / AVAILABILITY STATEMENT 12b. DISTRIBUTION CODE 
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited A 


13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words) 


The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) requires a 
consistent yet flexible approach to address wicked problems. A design-thinking methodology holds 
promise, as its tenets align with the diversity and complexity inherent within the homeland security 
environment. Design thinking emphasizes a human-centered and multidisciplinary approach to solution 
development. The research examined how design thinking is used to solve problems, S&T’s current 
approach to solving problems, and how other public organizations are using a design-thinking 
methodology. Denmark’s MindLab and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 
informed a framework for how DHS S&T could adopt a design-thinking approach. The analysis and 
framework were organized around Galbraith’s Star Model. The conclusion is that a design-thinking 
approach requires a significant shift in how S&T executes research and development (R&D). This shift 
can strengthen the dialogue necessary between S&T, homeland security practitioners, and nontraditional 
DHS partners to spur solutions. This thesis provides a framework for how S&T can incorporate design- 
thinking principles that are working well in other domains to tackle homeland security’s complex 
problems. 


14. SUBJECT TERMS 15. NUMBER OF 
design thinking, innovation, DHS S&T, Department of Homeland Security, science and PAGES 
technology, S&T, wicked problems, collaboration, multidisciplinary, DARPA, MindLab, 101 


research and development, R&D 16. PRICE CODE 


17. SECURITY 18. SECURITY 19. SECURITY 20. LIMITATION 
CLASSIFICATION OF CLASSIFICATION OF THIS CLASSIFICATION OF ABSTRACT 
REPORT PAGE OF ABSTRACT 

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il 


Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited 


SOLVING HOMELAND SECURITY’S WICKED PROBLEMS: A DESIGN 
THINKING APPROACH 


Kristin L. Wyckoff 
Director, Public-Private Partnerships, Science and Technology Directorate, 
Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 
B.A., Towson University, 1996 
M.S., The George Washington University, 1999 


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the 
requirements for the degree of 


MASTER OF ARTS IN SECURITY STUDIES 
(HOMELAND SECURITY AND DEFENSE) 


from the 


NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL 
September 2015 


Approved by: Kathleen Kiernan 
Thesis Co-Advisor 


Rodrigo Nieto-Gomez 
Thesis Co-Advisor 


Mohammed M. Hafez 
Chair, Department of National Security Affairs 


ill 


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iV 


ABSTRACT 


The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate 
(DHS S&T) requires a consistent yet flexible approach to address wicked problems. A 
design-thinking methodology holds promise, as its tenets align with the diversity and 
complexity inherent within the homeland security environment. Design thinking 
emphasizes a human-centered and multidisciplinary approach to solution development. 
The research examined how design thinking is used to solve problems, S&T’s current 
approach to solving problems, and how other public organizations are using a design- 
thinking methodology. Denmark’s MindLab and the Defense Advanced Research 
Projects Agency (DARPA) informed a framework for how DHS S&T could adopt a 
design-thinking approach. The analysis and framework were organized around 
Galbraith’s Star Model. The conclusion is that a design-thinking approach requires a 
significant shift in how S&T executes research and development (R&D). This shift can 
strengthen the dialogue necessary between S&T, homeland security practitioners, and 
nontraditional DHS partners to spur solutions. This thesis provides a framework for how 
S&T can incorporate design-thinking principles that are working well in other domains to 


tackle homeland security’s complex problems. 


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vi 


TABLE OF CONTENTS 


I. TIN TROD UC TION wi ccsscaxscenscassicatnsiainssteectacsnerecnasnsssddeossvadenstoncucebadsvoncseasoedonhieesgenats 1 
A. RESEARCH: QUESTION iscsiscsascassctoavessutscesveatessosasencenastenvoaseenceaverssouvevats 1 
B. PROBLEM STATEMENT '.ccccccccssconsossenssoososnscesscntortecnosootsensesteetocnassnaceass 1 
C. LITERATURE [REVIEW sccsissccsstascisecessvecoossentéessenteansonecsoccoassecsenstedsonsesaes 3 

1. What is design thinking and how is it used to solve 
DEO DICHIS ? ccssssseunsssctictenpessenvieeuancy botssoussdebends posstoouscantecuasensiasbectuacenese 3 
a. Design Thinking Approach .......ccssscccssrsssssscsessccsecscssecssesees 3 
b Design-Thinking Process.........scccsccccscscccssccssssscsscsscssssssceess 4 
c Design Thinking Team Construct .......sscccescccessccsecsccsssscssees 6 
d. Design Thinking Challenges .........sccsscccessscsesscssssscssscecesees 7 
e SLEW ASHI asi cassesssnssscaiver sass bundsseuueesuanssscuauetucietuasweavziavensses 8 
f Organizational CONSIACrATIONS.........0scccssercrsrcsecsccsecscsseeees 9 
g. Design Thinking and the Individual .........sscscssscsssssseseeees 10 
h MOIVIOS cic sccctiteccssiustssetscspecsacautoosetccesselacaeue lisskguvesaenaetatacein tt Il 
i. GODS wissen Revie cvahissceusassepis'shiussncter sivas mrostavessveseseescteaoestinsaanin 12 
2 What is S&T’s current approach to problem solving? ............ 12 
a. SST: OF SAI ZATION ices cinstas tretanskisnntcsnedectatescuceundstntessulpeatens 12 
b. WT PP OCESS ON; ie stssctasis vis tara cetaccens caucus soscancwauee Gacebesauansedais 13 
Cc. GOALS ANd ODJECHVES ....sscerssesssessverssersesvenseveeveservasssousnsesses 14 
d. Problem Definition and COMMUNICATION.A..........s0ceeeeeeees 15 
e. MUSSIOM TIN PAC sissicssivveesssbciescutventvsnsscvasiotinvareuaieteseadinntesess 15 

3: How have other public organizations used design 

CHATIKAING F 25s ccnccssccsestocncasdescasnasesieeseestaubssstsveesehoubesnchuasssatesedencobieeess 16 
a. ANNOVGHON LADS eassssiiccsssvschaedoesseaccassasaosnciteatistessenaeescdeguieis 17 
b. Denar le’S MANTEL AD vcsseo. cscs cceseesusstecastacutias bateeostsoncuasetens 17 
Cc. DARPA siisvckiscxssieveaspnihndesnintacnnan ipnceankeioansouieonntcbybaieduniacvene 19 
4. DOMEMUTIINAAT V2 ss vuzssesuhssdsaossseasyseshaccseuspecsoeeseadosbospassoskabencssoeanuseausescesstya 19 
D. RESEARCH. DESIGN: .c,.<scssesconssessecnsensteasaiavnecesaseaasoneoubesnidsenssanesepeenetesen 20 
E. THESIS ORGANIZATION ssicscicsscsssonssssscnssevessasonsesddosuessadensscacsnoneasessness 22 
II. DESIGIN“TEIINIGING siscsssusystsicniiecesesSgus sesnvbacsabisvadenscssenesvuteansvsusendsabesanaesepsavessvans 25 
1. Design Thinking: Strategy <.cciscscccsssceoscsesssscesssscscansscenssesinsscenecstes 27 
a Design Thinking: Structure ..............csscscsscscssccscsscsccssescessesceesees 28 
3: Design Thinking: Processes.............cscccscsccsscsccsscsscsccssescessesseeeees 29 
4. Design Thinking: Reward ............scscsscsssscscsssescsssescesssscesessseeees 31 
5. Design Thinking: People...............sccsscccsssssscssscscsssescssssscessssseeeees 31 
6. Design Thinking: SUMMALY ..............cscccsscccssccscssescessescessssseeeees 32 


vil 


III. 


IV. 


DES. APP ROA CUM is scsss sivsssnscanaecesesiaesscasdicctuaresncstionscetssvexen shes sncetedtecnssaisaadesisteasans 34 


A. DHS S&T: BACKGROUND siassiscicissenssciesssetersvbsssavenivekedserossilaseteccusazages 34 
B. DEES SE Bs SU RA PEG Y cciisctictsccncsnseicsnncedeansechsnstsectopiacdadnsstencesiiatessuieaaess 35 
C. DES S6cTES PRUC TUR Bi vices caenasusduasts scsscateasicsass eaten Guielancadeisdaasoscianenbes 37 
D. DHS: S&T: PROCESSES sivesscssaicesesiesssaecgansbages suscsesoadcatastnchssessscdbaanicnnene 37 
E. DHS SETS REWARD wesecaissistniasnsactesspessteioosasieuenisexcieniaeséstbesanedunnaesevsinons 38 
F. DES S&o Fs PROP UW sisesestesssisscscissnsjcassiiscdacnnses sdosiescecssaengentsadscsdieatesaapeid¥e 39 
G. DES: S&C Pe SUMMARY ccscasssseseissanesnesusonicesstansseesseabeasseecened ennasecevbesouesaves 40 
CASE STUDY: DENMARRK’S MINDLAB APPROACH ..........ccccssscsssssseseeees 42 
A. MINDLASB: BA CR GROUND wisscsntasersicessancensaicenecdsoncadaconacesenstantessunceaons 42 
B. MINDEABS STRATEGY sesscivsseises césssensonssasseestvessvecnsatondssuessevessiessbeenesaves 43 
Cc. MINDLABSS PRUC EURE § isssssscsssssdsostssasexsosbsccaveseossssuneedasosneedsseuseecsssoss 44 
D. MINDEAB: PROCESSES eissiccssvisetessseusscasassessevenséccensinebesnsecescesteveseovensved 45 
E. MINDEA BY REWARD bes cassscccscssssgcassisscs scasves caveiescscsssueacudsassesdisanesdassidie 47 
F. MINDEABS PEOPLE sssincscaseticsetecsnssnesusobedsstanseesasienboasosnssneb eonssedsviacouesayen 47 
G. MINDER ABE SUMMARY sicssstisessesssscssesssasssossscsssonsousssuasedeseunesssccudonsestess 48 
CASE STUDY: DARPA (issscsscsassssstandsds cdaseescennasscsssssssedepsedscsssassesdasassscsassavsttsasdee 50 
A. DARPA: BACKGROUND sicssesesses sesessusvunsssseasestassuasoosesocsueseevesedsvsbocneseves 50 
B. DARPA?S ERA TEGY ssecscsiscssssesicossedssuusecsshsvasscebsessesiscensedaseasvedeseusoesssvens 31 
Cc. DARPASST RUC PUR Biscssissstcesaveschespssssseasninchscvensdceanntavassvactsncsasiuedconescses 53 
D. DARPAS PROCESS aicisseccussisssidowaasbessdensvebonsaedeispueaxcioninesduabeaamedaneiasernanaens 54 
E. DAR PAT REC WAR D iseticiccassecicceuasteiunsessctcasenscheshustnoungodadectosscevetgnsadiesiseanes 56 
F. DARPA? PEOBRUE siscsssssdinncoicatesatuseusicascedonnssesveeksseavensGescvnscnsasvosaapeeusecnses 57 
G. DAR PAS SU MIMAR Y. sccssssvacesstescieesesiens spaieasceasstndeestsonseaitstucessasstadetedteianse 58 


AND:DAR PA cjssssdecenisessvavuascosciisehtvascencasenseusduaacescedeousinavaenseeavesseubevitesnsieisasbenaseesen 61 
A. DHS S&T, MINDLAB, AND DARPA: DESIGN THINKING 

PRACTICES OVERY TOW sctccsssiseissseeuscetsainebussocsscbenssesbestiaesscsssanebeuuseasen 61 
B. S&T: DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES OVERVIEW .............s00000 61 
C. MINDLAB: DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES OVERVIEW.......... 62 
D. DARPA: DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES OVERVIEW. .............. 62 
E. SUMMARY OF DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES ACROSS 

DHS S&T, MINDLAB, AND DARPA .1u.........csscsssssrsecssssesscsesssnsescssesees 63 
DHS S&T ADOPTION FRAMEWORK............cccsccsssssssssssssssssscssscssesssrsssessoseees 65 
A. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: STRATEGY............. 65 
B. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: STRUCTURE.......... 66 


vill 


C. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: PROCESS ............... 67 
D. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: REWARD................. 68 
E. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: PEOPLE...............0006 68 
F. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: CONCLUSION....... 70 
LIST OF DT REPEREN CES sistivscssscssveiacassicasaesaelonsacsissncssseianansausteusxdoasascetsbesaxsteatuecevianees 73 
INERTIAL: DISTRIBU ETON LISD sipsssssssssdessasenssssensecaseuisssiseusasSessubsassbevbeassavenssdonseiesvesiuss 79 


1X 


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Figure 1. 
Figure 2. 
Figure 3. 
Figure 4. 
Figure 5. 
Figure 6. 
Figure 7. 
Figure 8. 


LIST OF FIGURES 


Design: Thinking: Process: Overview. 225. «sis cntcees haired eile 5 
Design Thinking Process Overview—Alternate VieW ........eseeceeeeteeeeenee 6 
Design INnOVvati OM: y.ds5.sisccetas ns Assesses eevoouians Antanas Maca wees 7 
Cralbraath’s:Star Mode hingciosicnsieccvt isa haouaies oad beatae 22 
Design Thinking Process OVerVvieW.........::cccscessseceteceseceeeeeeseeceaecnseeneeeenseees 2i 
Collaboration Spaces ssa. ccteiiaiicts Mi cseecuctedmoretveanidsede ia sdva te hatoceneeerca teks 29 
Rich Pictiré Example vas:ssicsscassszoscaacseasiaarsesadsasacedaasdanesaaceaerssaanaasaieaaasenaiades 30 
Quadrant Model of Scientific Research... cecccccesccssscecsseceesseeeesseeeenes 52 


x1 


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Table 1. 
Table 2. 
Table 3. 
Table 4. 
Table 5. 
Table 6. 
Table 7. 
Table 8. 
Table 9. 


LIST OF TABLES 


International Examples of Innovation Labs...........ceceeceeseceteeseeeteeereeeeeeeees 17 
Summary of Design Thinking Processes within DHS S&T... eee 4] 
Three: Generations. of Mind Lap iiss ississ cs cstastescrisivsnedacettecva dasvsesanraaanteatirs 43 
Mind Cab: Project Decision Criterion a. io aia nad aes 46 
IVAN EAs SUN AR Ve ot aa alravecantiraases oavuaneeusinceceenenaweanadande ona eceetadan catuateme 49 
Heilmicier’s Cate cli sin jcc jsavscaus ceceliustecestecetencwsnis nde sede iota ness Weaesee tare tase 55 
DARPA: Summary ‘.4;:.saies;<cateissstectacsansacegsaavedaasancoacssaavatessausccaadaasesagaeaseeasias 58 
DHS S&T, MindLab, DARPA Design Thinking Practices Summary ......63 
DHS S&T Design Thinking Adoption Framework ............eeeeeereeeeeetees 69 


xiii 


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ARPA-E 


CDS 
CRS 


DARPA 
DHS 
DOD 
FRG 
GAO 
HSARPA 
HSE 
IARPA 
IPT 

OPM 

PM 
QHSR 


R&D 
RDP 


S&T 
SELC 
STEM 
TITAN 


USAID 


LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 


Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency—Energy 


Capability Development Support 
Congressional Research Service 


Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency 
Department of Homeland Security 

Department of Defense 

First Responder Group 

Government Accountability Office 

Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency 
homeland security enterprise 

Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Intelligence Advanced 
Research Projects Agency 

integrated project team 

Office of Personnel Management 

program manager 


Quadrennial Homeland Security Review 


research and development 
Research and Development Partnerships 


DHS Science and Technology Directorate 
systems engineering life cycle 
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics 


Targeted Innovative Technology Acceleration Network 


U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) 


XV 


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Xvi 


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 


The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate 
(DHS S&T) requires a consistent yet flexible approach to address wicked problems. 
While design thinking can be applied to any problem, it lends itself to “wicked problems” 
that cannot be definitively described or solved.! Wicked problems require a 
multidisciplinary approach and a shared understanding and commitment around a 
problem to identify and develop solutions. Examples of wicked problems include impacts 
of climate change, evolving terrorist threats, and cyber security within an increasingly 
connected cyber and physical world. While design thinking is not a new concept, its 
recent manifestation within the private and public sectors to include organizations, such 
as Apple, Google, IBM, and the governments of Singapore and the United Kingdom, 
warrants attention to how it may address homeland security’s complex problems. A 
design-thinking methodology holds promise for DHS S&T as its tenets align with the 
diversity and complexity inherent within the homeland security environment. Design 
thinking emphasizes a human-centered and multidisciplinary approach to solution 
development that supports DHS S&T’s mission to identify and transition cutting-edge 


solutions to homeland security operators. 


A. RESEARCH QUESTION 


This thesis answers the question of how DHS S&T could adopt a design-thinking 
approach to solve complex problems. The research specifically examined how design 
thinking is used to solve problems, S&T’s current approach to solving problems, and how 


other public organizations are using a design-thinking methodology. 


B. METHOD AND DESIGN 


The research approach involved a comparative analysis of case studies. The first 
case study reviewed the use of design thinking within Denmark via the MindLab. The 
second study reviewed Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) 


! Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” Policy 
Sciences 4, no. 2 (June 1, 1973): 155-69. doi:10.1007/BF01405730. 


XVli 


approach to problem identification and solution through a design-thinking lens. 
Galbraith’s Star Model was used to analyze how DHS S&T, MindLab, and DARPA 
apply design-thinking principles to inform the framework to apply and incorporate design 
thinking within DHS S&T’s approach to R&D. The Star Model consists of five areas that 
in conjunction with one another can influence an organization’s culture and individual 


behaviors. 


Cc. CONCLUSION 


Rather than a passing trend, an in-depth review of design thinking coupled with 
the case studies confirms the promise the approach could bring to DHS S&T. A design- 
thinking approach requires a significant shift in how S&T executes research and 
development (R&D). This shift can strengthen the dialogue necessary between S&T, 
homeland security practitioners, and nontraditional DHS partners to spur solutions. This 
thesis provides a framework for how S&T can incorporate design-thinking principles that 
are working well in other domains to tackle homeland security’s complex problems. 
While the basic tenets of design thinking remain consistent across the literature, it is 
noted that successful adopters of a design-thinking approach define it according to their 
own terms and factor their organization’s culture into its implementation. By reviewing 
aspects of design thinking through the Star Model, a holistic approach is provided for 
S&T to consider how design thinking can be customized to best align with its mission, 
values, and workforce to spur new approaches to discovering and developing solutions to 
homeland security. To support the homeland security enterprise (HSE), DHS S&T must 
be able to refine and improve tools and processes continually, think outside of traditional 
solutions, adapt quickly, and work across disciplines and geographic areas. A design- 
thinking model could impact projects immediately and positively shape the 


organization’s culture over time. 


A strong and consistent relationship with end users and partners across disciplines 
has remained elusive for DHS S&T. A _ design-thinking approach emphasizes 
communication and a shared understanding of a problem to identify multiple solutions. 


By emphasizing the end use of a product or service, design thinking holds the promise of 


XVill 


improving DHS’s rate of technology transition and impact on the homeland security and 
resilience. While the research question focused on DHS S&T, it is hoped other 


organizations may be able to apply the practices captured within their own organizations. 


X1x 


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XX 


I. INTRODUCTION 


A. RESEARCH QUESTION 


This thesis answers the question of how DHS S&T can adopt a design-thinking 


approach to address wicked problems. 


B. PROBLEM STATEMENT 


To prepare for emerging threats, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science 
and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) requires a consistent yet flexible approach to 
produce innovative solutions to wicked problems. A design-thinking methodology holds 
promise for DHS as its tenets align well with the diversity and complexity inherent within 
the homeland security environment. Design thinking emphasizes a human-centered and 
multidisciplinary approach to solution development that supports DHS S&T’s mission to 


identify and transition cutting-edge solutions to homeland security operators. 


However, a design approach requires a shift in how S&T executes research and 
development (R&D) programs. This thesis proposes a framework derived from case 
studies for how a design-thinking methodology can be applied to DHS problem sets. The 
model addresses the perceived benefits of design thinking, as well as addresses potential 
limitations. A design-thinking approach to R&D can strengthen the dialogue necessary 
between DHS S&T, homeland security practitioners, and nontraditional DHS partners to 


spur innovative solutions. 


DHS S&T spends nearly a billion dollars a year to address complex homeland 
security problems.! DHS S&T wrestles with an expansive mission, an evolving research 
and development (R&D) landscape no longer driven by the Federal Government, and 
rapid advancement of transformative technologies. The R&D community is seeing an 
increase in industry R&D spending compared to government R&D spending, making it 
imperative to build new partnerships within and outside of government to leverage 


investments and ideas. The advancement of transformative technologies, coupled with 


! While DHS S&T’s budget averages $1 million per year, approximately 50% is non-discretionary 
funding to build, maintain, and operate national laboratories. 


1 


their exponential growth, is changing the speed of and approach to innovation. This 
exponential growth also requires that the government anticipate and address policy 
implications as policies frequently prevent new technology from making the intended 
impact. These shifts within the R&D community provide an opportunity to rethink 
traditional approaches to security and resilience challenges.* Requisite for harnessing 
these opportunities is the ability to coordinate and collaborate across disciplines, 
organizations, and geographical boundaries to identify, rethink, and quickly address 


pressing needs.3 


Design thinking is a methodology embraced by many government and private 
sector organizations to spur innovative solutions to complex problems. It employs a 
holistic, agile, and human-centered approach to innovation. Razzouk and Schute define 
design thinking as “an analytic and creative process that engages a person in 
opportunities to experiment, create and prototype models, gather feedback, and 
redesign.”* Braha and Maimon state that design science is a collection of logically 
connected knowledge and disciplines.> Owen offers that design thinking is most effective 
when used by a multidisciplinary team comprised of individuals with different values and 
training.© Design thinking as a practice has been adopted by corporations, such as Apple, 
Google, and IBM, the governments of Denmark and Singapore, and can be glimpsed in 
government organizations, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency 
(DARPA). While design thinking can be applied to any problem, it lends itself to 
“wicked problems.” As defined by Rittel, a wicked problem cannot be definitively 





2 Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (New 
York: Free Press, 2012), Kindle edition, 280-283. 


3 Department of Homeland Security, The 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (Washington, 
DC: Department of Homeland Security, 2014). 


4 Rim Razzouk and Valerie Shute, “What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important?” Review of 
Educational Research 82, no. 3 (September 1, 2012): 330-48. doi: 10.3102/00346543 12457429. 


5 Dan Braha and Oded Maimon, “The Design Process: Properties, Paradigms, and Structure,” IEEE 
Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics—Part A: Systems and Humans 27, no. 2 (March 1997), 
http://necsi.edu/affiliates/braha/IEEE_TSMC_ Design Process.pdf. 


© Charles L. Owen, “Design Thinking: Driving Innovation,” The Business Process Management 
Institute, September 2006, https://methods. id.iit.edu/media/ems_ page _media/200/owen_desthink06.pdf. 


2 


described, and no definitive solutions are available.’ Wicked problems require a 
multidisciplinary approach and a shared understanding and commitment around a 
problem to identify solutions. Examples of wicked problems include impacts of climate 
change, evolving terrorist threats, and cyber security within an increasingly connected 
cyber and physical world. While design thinking is not a new concept, its recent 
manifestation within the private and public sectors warrants attention to address 


homeland security’s wicked problems. 


€; LITERATURE REVIEW 


The literature review provides an overview of design thinking and how it may 
apply to homeland security challenges. This review also summarizes the prevailing 
methods used by DHS to identify and address homeland security problems. The review 
then turns to examples of public-sector use of design thinking to identify opportunities 
for DHS. Additionally, organizational management literature was reviewed to inform the 
factors used for the subsequent case study analysis of two public sector organizations to 
identify a framework for DHS S&T to incorporate design thinking within the 


organization. 


ik; What is design thinking and how is it used to solve problems? 
a. Design Thinking Approach 


At its core, design thinking is a repeatable process that spurs creativity to solve 
complex problems in new ways. Rather than attribute creativity to the select few or the 
lucky, design thinking proposes specific methods that can be used by anyone. In his 1969 
book, The Sciences of the Artificial, Simon proposes a group of cognitive processes 
related to creativity to frame the science of design. Expanding on Simon’s work, McKim 


introduced visual imagery as a tool to enable creative thinking in design engineering.? In 





7 Rittel and Webber, “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” 155-69. 


8 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Strategic Plan 2015-2019 (Washington, DC: DHS 
Science and Technology Directorate, 2015). 


9 Robert McKim, Experiences in Visual Thinking, 2nd ed. (Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing 
Company, 1980). 


the 1980s, Faste popularized the concept of “design thinking” and design education. 
Design thinking is a method to realize concepts and ideas and rationalize how different 


solutions may fit within the problem context. 


The design approach differs from the more traditional linear approach of defining 
all parameters of a problem to create a solution. Design thinking embraces appreciative 
inquiry and posits that by starting with a shared vision for a better future state, alternative 
solutions may be explored simultaneously. Another feature of a design-thinking 
methodology is flexibility. Since design thinking is an iterative process, intermediate 
solutions provide alternatives to include potentially redefining the problem.!9 Akin 
maintained the view that the less a problem is understood, the more degrees of freedom 


afforded resulting in less dependence on known solutions. !! 


Razzouk and Schute define design thinking as “an analytic and creative process 
that engages a person in opportunities to experiment, create and prototype models, gather 
feedback, and redesign.” !? This definition acknowledges that design thinking requires 
analysis, as well as synthesis and supports the notion that design thinking may provide a 
foundation for scientists to engage with homeland security practitioners to develop 
solutions. In 1972, designer and educator Victor Papanek wrote, “All men are designers. 
All that we do, almost all the time, is design, for design is basic to all human 
activity...Any attempt to separate design, to make it a thing-by-itself, works counter to 


the fact that design is the primary underlying matrix of life.’”’!3 


b. Design-Thinking Process 


Figure 1 provides a common process flow and terminology associated with design 


thinking. The steps reflect those promoted by the Institute of Design at Stanford 





10 Wikipedia, s.v. “Design Thinking,” last modified August 29, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/ 
wiki/Design_thinking. 


1] Omer Akin, “Creativity in Design,” Performance Improvement Quarterly 7, no. 3 (September 1, 
1994): 9-21. doi:10.1111/j.1937-8327.1994.tb00633.x. 


12 Razzouk and Shute, “What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important?” 


13 Victor Papanek, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. 2nd ed. revised. 
(Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2005). 


4 


(d.school) to include the step descriptions. The figure emphasizes the iterative nature of 


the design-thinking process. 


Figure 1. | Design Thinking Process Overview 
























Learning about the brainstorming and Returning to your original 
audience for whom you coming up with creative user group and testing 
are designing solutions. your ideas for feedback. 
J 7 
XK 
Redefining and focusing your Building a representation of 
question based on your insights one or more of your ideas to 
from the empathy stage. show to others 


From “Design Thinking,” accessed August 16, 2015, http://createdu.org/design-thinking/. 


Many depictions of the design-thinking process exist; however, the five basic 
steps are consistently represented. For example, Figure 2 uses different terms to describe 
the phases but the description and intent of each remains the same. A series of figures 
were reviewed that graphically represent the design-thinking methodology. The takeaway 
is that the design process is malleable and consists of principles that can be tailored to an 
individual organization or audience; the use of various graphics illustrates that at its 
center, design thinking is about using all available forms and mediums to connect with a 


given audience. 


Figure 2. Design Thinking Process Overview—Alternate View 


DISCOVERY IDEATION EVOLUTION 


EXPERIMENTATION 


INTERPRETATION 





~je- 

Thinking QO 

Question us How dol 
What do! improve it? 


teh melee rd 
= How dol oe 


‘oach it? 
eee How do | al Patni Red 
eel interpret it? i - 


ee 










From “Design Thinking|Engaging Hearts and Minds for Critical Thinking,” accessed 
August 16, 2015, http://www. lifeskills-enrichment.com.sg/portfolio/designthinking/. 


Cc. Design Thinking Team Construct 


Braha and Maimon state that design science is more or less a collection of many 
different logically connected knowledge and disciplines.!4 Owen elaborates that a design 
approach is most effective when exercised in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team 
comprised of individuals “with different values and training—from the physical sciences, 


arts, political and social sciences, engineering, business, etc.” !> 


Figure 3 illustrates the intersection at which design innovation is likely to occur 


and the inclusion of varying perspectives to achieve innovation: 


14 Braha and Maimon, “The Design Process: Properties, Paradigms, and Structure,” 
13 Owen, “Design Thinking: Driving Innovation,” 


6 


Figure 3. Design Innovation 


TECHNOLOGY LER ESI 3) 


INNOVATION 


EL mel) 





From “Our Point of View,” accessed August 16, 2015, http://dschool.stanford.edu/our- 
point-of-view/. 


Owen offers three ways that design can be incorporated: through consultancy, by 
adding a design professional to a project team, or a systemic approach in which each 
team member learns and practices design values.!© As the homeland security enterprise 
(HSE) is built on a multitude of disciplines, design thinking may provide a useful 
methodology to ensure the depth and breadth of expertise is fully engaged, heard, and 


used. 


d. Design Thinking Challenges 


Design thinking is not without its critics, although the critics caution more about 
the implementation of the process rather than the process itself. For example, Bruce 
Nussbaum is concerned with the tendency to consider design thinking as a process “trick” 
to produce significant cultural and organizational change. His words serve as a reminder 


that rather than a definitive process, design thinking should be viewed as a framework 





16 Owen, “Design Thinking: Driving Innovation.” 
a 


that enables creativity. He observes that to appeal to the business culture of process, the 
messy conflict and looping circularity of the creative process can be lost. Those 
organizations that accept the mess achieve real innovations, and those that do not accept 


the mess do not reap the rewards of the design-thinking process. !7 


As Nussbaum notes, promoting creativity is at the heart of design thinking and 
any organization must be careful not to overemphasize the process at the risk of stifling 
the creativity the framework is intended to foster. The literature provides a variety of 
methods and it could be proposed that a combination of techniques tailored to an 
organization or problem set may result in the holistic view necessary to open the aperture 
to new solutions. Furthermore, by viewing a problem as part of a larger ecosystem, 


opportunities for innovations that may address multiple problems may appear. 


e. Stewardship 


In addition to adherence to an overly rigid process, another challenge is the 
ultimate implementation of proposed solutions. The Global Centre for Public Service 
Excellence points out that design thinking is intimately linked with the notion of 
“stewardship.” !8 It defines stewardship as an ability to translate ideas successfully into 
practice to achieve desired outcomes.!9 They propose the term and definition of 
stewardship is more useful than the terms “implementation” or “execution.” The Centre 
supports Nussbaum’s view that to operationalize a designed idea within a complex 
environment demands agility rather than strict adherence to a set plan or rigid process. 
Stewardship requires a balancing act in that the government is able to react to unexpected 


developments while staying on course to meet set priorities and outcomes.?° 





17 Bruce Nussbaum, “Design Thinking Is a Failed Experiment. So What’s Next?” Co.Design, April 5, 
2011, http://www. fastcodesign.com/1663558/design-thinking-is-a-failed-experiment-so-whats-next. 


18 Lorenzo Allio, Design Thinking for Public Service Excellence (Singapore: Global Centre for Public 
Service Excellence, 2014), http://www.undp.org/content/dam/uspc/docs/GPCSE_Design%20Thinking. pdf. 


19 «What Is Positive Deviance,” 2014, http://www.positivedeviance.org. 


20 Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, Design Thinking for Public Service Excellence 
(Singapore: Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, 2014). 


8 


f Organizational Considerations 


An emerging organizational construct for a design-thinking methodology is 
innovation labs. Innovation labs reflect the skunkworks concept. Rogers defines 
skunkworks as “an especially enriched environment that is intended to help a small group 
of individuals design a new idea by escaping routine organizational procedures. The 
R&D workers in a skunkworks are usually specially selected, given special resources, 


and work on a crash basis to create an innovation.”’2! 


Steve Blank argues that while skunkworks provided advantages to organizations 
in the past by mirroring a startup, organizations now need to integrate innovation within 
their operations so innovation and execution are working in tandem to remain 
competitive and effective.22 He proposes the solution is developing parallel processes for 
innovation and execution recognizing that innovation-related projects often run into 
hurdles with established processes related to human capital, project tracking, and legal 


implications.?3 


As DHS S&T reviews its innovation and execution functions, it may be 
worthwhile to pay attention to how other public organizations are practicing innovation- 
related activities within their organizations. Clayton Christensen states, “with few 
exceptions, the only instances in which mainstream firms have successfully established a 
timely position in a disruptive technology were those in which the firms’ managers set up 
an autonomous organization charged with building a new and independent business 
around the disruptive technology.”24 A review of how other public organizations address 
the structural challenge of promoting innovation while executing other responsibilities 


may provide insight for DHS S&T. 


21 Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 5th ed. (New York: Free Press, 2003). 


22 Steve Blank, “Why Corporate Skunk Works Need to Die,” Forbes, accessed April 19, 2015, 
http://www. forbes.com/sites/steveblank/2014/11/10/why-corporate-skunk-works-need-to-die/. 


23 Steve Blank, “Getting to ‘Yes’ For Corporate Innovation,” Forbes, accessed April 19, 2015, 
http://www. forbes.com/sites/steveblank/2015/03/1 6/getting-to-yes-for-corporate-innovation/. 


24 Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to 
Fail (Management of Innovation and Change) (Watertown, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), 
Kindle edition. 


9 


g. Design Thinking and the Individual 


The macro/micro universal law of change states, “the maximum speed of change 
is always faster at the macro level of economic and political systems than it is at the 
micro level of psychological characteristics of people.”25 The successful implementation 
of macro ideas, such as open innovation and design thinking, are dependent on micro 
foundations to include the workforce and how individual employees embrace new 
methodologies and practices. For example, it is relatively simple for a leader to proclaim 
innovation as a priority and that project risk is acceptable. It is more difficult to motivate 


and empower individuals to change the way they execute projects. 


Razzouk and Shute state, “although the design process involves in-depth 
cognitive processes... it also involves personality and dispositional traits such as 
persistence and creativity.”26 While an individual should take responsibility for 
developing new skills, the organization plays a key role in nurturing persistence and 
creativity through leadership, training opportunities, support elements, incentives, and 


recruiting. 


Downey et al. propose that the “knowledge, ability, and predisposition to work 
effectively with people who define problems differently than they do” should be 
considered a global competency for engineering students.2” They posit a renewed 
emphasis on working across cultures. While the authors focus on culture defined by 
country, their work can also apply to cultures found within different geographic areas 
within a country, such as the United States or across disciplines. The nature of the DHS 
mission requires coordination and collaboration across geographic boundaries and 


disciplines. 


Salter, Criscuolo, and Wal state that for many organizations, the notion of open 


innovation has not been successful due to organizational barriers that prevent individual 





25 Fathali M. Moghaddam, From the Terrorists’ Point of View: What They Experience and Why They 
Come to Destroy (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006). 


26 Razzouk and Shute, “What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important?” 330-48. 


27 Gary Lee Downey et al., “The Globally Competent Engineer: Working Effectively with People 
Who Define Problems Differently,” Journal of Engineering Education 95, no. 2 (April 2006): 107-22. 


10 


employees from shifting their approach. As organizations encourage employees to 
engage with a diverse set of partners to improve and create products, processes, and 
services, an organization should be prepared to redefine internal processes and 
boundaries. They argue that the same if not more attention is needed for an organization’s 


“internal face” as to its “external face.”’28 


Salter, Criscuolo, and Wal argue that while organizations are aware of the role of 
individuals in open innovation, most of the literature focuses on the organization rather 
than the individual.?? Their position is that by understanding the challenges and coping 
mechanisms that R&D professionals face when practicing open innovation type 
activities, organizations can take specific steps and create systems within the organization 


to help individuals become more effective open innovators and problem solvers.3° 


h. Metrics 


A common theme within the literature is identifying desired outcomes and related 
metrics before embarking on a project. While metrics are important for a project 
regardless of the methodology used, design thinking may lend itself to a few unique 
metrics. Whereas DHS S&T defines success on whether at the end of a project it 
transitioned to an end user, design thinking emphasizes the process used to arrive at a 
solution. Simon, Gupta, and Buchanan introduce a series of questions that may be useful 


to gauge the impact of a shift to design thinking: 


e Toward a particular goal, how many ideas did the team try? (More is 
better) 

e How many sources of inspiration (outside the team) were tapped? 

° What is the average time between having an idea, and testing it with 


potential users? 





28 Ammon Salter, Paola Criscuolo, and Anne L. J. Ter Wal, “Coping with Open Innovation: 
Responding to the Challenges of External Engagement in R&D,” California Management Review 56, no. 2 
(Winter 2014): 77-94. doi:10.1525/cmr.2014.56.2.77. 


29 Thid. 
30 bid. 
11 


° How many “cycles” of improvement did a team accomplish before 
executing an idea? 


e How many others are calling your team for insights and help??! 
i. Gaps 


While leaders in the design-thinking space, such as IDEO and Stanford, are 
recognized, organizations have room to grow to synthesize the components of design 
thinking and tailor their application to their respective organizations. A review of design- 
thinking literature implies that design thinking is less of a “how to guide” and more of a 
cultural shift for how individuals work together to identify solutions. While innovation 
labs are becoming popular, significant research has not been conducted to gauge their 
success in the public sector. The reviewed literature did not provide specific examples of 
homeland security application of design thinking, nor was a specific public sector 
framework posed although innovation labs are referred to frequently and appear to be 


grounded in design thinking. 


2. What is S&T’s current approach to problem solving? 
a. S&T Organization 


The DHS S&T Under Secretary is supported by four groups within DHS S&T. 
The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) and the First 
Responder Group (FRG) execute R&D programs in support of HSE needs. The 
Capability Development Support (CDS) Group and the Research and Development 
Partnerships (RDP) Group support the technical divisions in the identification, 
formulation, selection, and execution of R&D programs and products. In addition, an 
Office of the Chief Scientist is charged with providing technical expertise for S&T 
programs and an Office of the Chief Financial Officer that uses a separate set of 
processes to determine funding priorities and budgets for S&T projects. Leadership 


within each of these groups oversee individual or duplicate aspects of project 


31 Tad Simons, Arvind Gupta, and Mary Buchanan, “Innovation in R & D: Using Design Thinking to 
Develop New Models of Inventiveness, Productivity and Collaboration,” Journal of Commercial 
Biotechnology 17 (August 23, 2011): 301-7. doi:10.1057/jcb.2011.25. 


12 


management to include new project approvals, periodic portfolio reviews, technology 
transfers, and engagement with practitioners and senior officials throughout government 


and the HSE. 


b. S&T Processes 


A consistent set of project management processes and programs is not uniformly 
adopted across DHS S&T. The continual change in leadership since the organization’s 
inception poses challenges, coupled with an increasingly constrained fiscal environment. 
The lack of processes and consistency provides an opportunity to shape how the 
organization executes R&D moving forward but also poses a challenge, as no recognized 
baseline is available to work from and to communicate specific changes warranted by a 


design-thinking approach clearly. 


Two existing S&T process documents are the DHS Acquisition Guide, which 
includes a Systems Engineering Annex, and an S&T Project Management Guide. These 
documents are primarily derived from the systems engineering life cycle (SELC). In 
2013, an S&T Systems Analysis Guide was published but never fully implemented.32 An 
effort is underway to develop a Capability Development Framework; this document was 
specifically designed for a series of six programs. Each of these documents tends to be 
written in the language of the discipline authoring the guidance and may not be digestible 
by the myriad disciplines and players within and outside of the homeland security 
community. While the guides provide useful information and structures, the processes are 
comprised of many linear steps and are documentation intensive. Coupled with the 
predominant use of traditional contract vehicles, the problem definition, acquisition, and 
development process can be lengthy in S&T. The FRG and HSARPA maintain their own 
processes for project management. In addition, various S&T offices to include capability 
development support offices, office of university programs, office of national labs, 
federally funded research and development centers, and international programs maintain 


separate project initiation and execution processes. Most of these documents are created 


32 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Systems Analysis Guidebook (Washington, DC: DHS 
Science and Technology Directorate, 2013). 


13 


independently and are not coordinated and implemented across the organization, nor are 
key project management principles communicated to provide an overall theme for how 


S&T program managers approach projects. 


While R&D is the backbone of S&T, the organization is also responsible for 
activities beyond those of a traditional R&D organization. Along with driving innovation 
to solve homeland security challenges, the Directorate is also responsible for DHS-wide 
acquisition and test and evaluation activities. These latter activities cause challenges with 
regard to how DHS S&T prioritizes resources, manages portfolios, and communicates 
and executes projects. It can be argued that the existing guides provide for flexibility by 
including references to spiral development and prototype development in addition to the 
traditional waterfall development; however, the number of gates and justifications 


required to move forward temper the implied flexibility.? 


In addition to these more formal and documented processes, multiple attempts 
have been made in recent years to introduce new processes to spur more innovative 
project ideas and promote competition within S&T. Elements of DARPA’s new start 
process (as understood by individual DHS S&T staff members) were introduced, but not 
adopted. A topic that warrants attention is the need for consistency in processes over a 
period of time to support adoption by the organization and to gauge results and allow for 


necessary adjustments. 


Cc. Goals and Objectives 


In the 2015 DHS S&T Strategic Plan,>+ Under Secretary Brothers highlights a 
series of activities to position DHS S&T as a leader within the R&D community. The 
primary focal points for the strategy are engagement with operators, engagement with 
industry, and an energized workforce. These focal points are deemed necessary to impact 
the homeland security mission through the introduction of new technologies. While new 
programs are described to include innovation centers, prize authority, and the Targeted 

33 Department of Homeland Security, DHS Acquisition Instruction/Guidebook (Washington, DC: 


Department of Homeland Security, 2008), https://learn.test.dau.mil/Course Ware/803897_3/pdfs/Appen 
dix_B Systems Engineering Life Cycle %28SELC%29 - Interim_vl_9 dtd_11-07-08.pdf. 


34 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Strategic Plan 2015-2019. 
14 


Innovative Technology Acceleration Network (TITAN), an opportunity exists to refine 
and ensure the new programs are defined, linked, and effectively executed to achieve the 
stated mission and objectives within the Strategic Plan.3> The collaborative and user 


centered principles of design thinking align well to S&T’s current strategic direction. 


d. Problem Definition and Communication 


A series of activities has been initiated by DHS to connect with partners and 
operators; however, a common understanding of how activities complement one another 
and the creation of measures to gauge impact could increase impact. A consistent 
approach to how S&T engages end users to identify and prioritize problems could 
improve S&T’s ability to communicate and connect with traditional and nontraditional 
partners for solutions and to anticipate disruptive innovations. The design-thinking 
process and related tools could assist DHS S&T with problem definition and 


communication. 


e. Mission Impact 


The 2014 report, The DHS S&T Directorate: Selected Issues for Congress, notes 
that DHS S&T has experienced significant challenges in transitioning knowledge 
products and technology into operational environments.7° DHS S&T is expected to 
identify, develop, and deliver effective and innovative insight, methods, and solutions. 
The Global Centre for Public Service Excellence notes in the guide Design Thinking for 
Public Service Excellence, “A good idea is relevant only if it is converted into a concrete 
public policy decision...design thinking...stretches over adoption into the 


implementation and review phases of the policy cycle.”37 


A review of technology adoption-related literature identifies two theories that can 
contribute to DHS’s understanding of how to improve the likelihood that a new solution 


will be used by end users. In addition, technology adoption theory may also inform how a 


35 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Strategic Plan 2015-2019. 


36 Dana Shea, The DHS S&T Directorate: Selected Issues for Congress (CRS Report No. R43064) 
(Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2014). 


37 Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, Design Thinking for Public Service Excellence. 
15 


design-thinking model can be implemented within the organization. Rogers’ Diffusion of 
Innovations theory describes how innovations, whether an idea or a technology, are 
adopted by individuals within a social system.38 Rogers emphasizes the role of human 
capital and proposes four elements that influence the implementation of a new approach: 
“the innovation, communication channels, time, and the social system.”3? The 
Technology Acceptance Model is a theory that models how a user accepts and uses a 
technology. The two primary factors that influence a user’s decision to adopt a new 
technology are perceived usefulness and ease-of-use.49 Of note, these two adoption 
theories share the same human-centric principles espoused in design thinking. Both 
theories highlight the importance of involving the end user in the development process to 
increase the likelihood that a new technology is useful, adopted, and thus, directly 
impacts homeland security operations. A noted gap in the existing DHS S&T processes is 
an emphasis on the user from the beginning and continually throughout the solution 


development process. 


A literature review of DHS S&T accomplishments and processes was challenging 
as much of the literature comes directly from DHS S&T in the form of strategic plans, 
testimony, and DHS website content. The lack of outside sources and studies make it 


difficult to determine what is documented versus what is actually used within DHS S&T. 


3: How have other public organizations used design thinking? 


A review of how design thinking is used by public organizations identified a 
series of initiatives. To inform how DHS S&T specifically can adopt design thinking two 
organizations are highlighted within the literature review. These two organizations, 
Denmark’s MindLab, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 


are explored in detail as cases studies in Chapters IV and V. 





38 Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations. 
39 Ibid. 


40 Viswanath Venkatesh, “Determinants of Perceived Ease of Use: Integrating Control, Intrinsic 
Motivation, and Emotion into the Technology Acceptance Model,” Information Systems Research 11, no. 4 
(2000): 342-65. 


16 


a. Innovation Labs 


To understand the application of a design-thinking methodology better, public 
organizations using elements of the approach are reviewed. A common thread observed 
within the literature review was the linkage between design-thinking processes and 
innovation labs. While design thinking is not necessarily cited as the specific process a 
lab is using, many commonalities are observed to include collaboration with end users, a 
multi-discipline approach, and prototyping. While seeking public sector organizations 
using a design-thinking methodology provided additional insight into the rapid 
emergence of innovation labs, an effort was also made to identify other organizations 
applying the approach whether defined as design thinking or not. Table 1 provides an 


overview of established innovation labs around the world. 


Table 1. International Examples of Innovation Labs 


Government MindLab (Copenhagen, Denmark) 
Centre for Excellence in Public Sector Design, (Canberra, Australia) 
National Health Service, Institute for Innovation and Improvement 
(Warwick, UK) 
The Social Innovation Lab (Kent, UK) 
NASA Centre for Excellence for Collaborative Innovation 
(Washington/Houston, U.S.) 


Private sector with Deloitte GovLab (Washington, U.S.) 
public service focus IDEO.org (various locations) 
Not for Profit Helsinki Design Lab, Sitra (Helsinki, Finland) MaRS Solutions Lab 


(Toronto, Canada) 
Participle London (London, UK) 
la 27eRegion, (France) 
The Public Policy Lab (New York, U.S.) 
Universities OCAD slab 
Harvard i-Lab (Cambridge, U.S.) 
d.school (Stanford, U.S.) 
MIT AgeLab and MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, U.S.) 
InWithFor (Adelaide, Australia) 


From Teresa Bellefontaine, “Innovation Labs: Bridging Think Tanks and Do Tanks,” 
Policy Horizons Canada, March 18, 2013, http://www.horizons.gc.ca/eng/content/ 
innovation-labs-bridging-think-tanks-and-do-tanks. 

b. Denmark’s MindLab 


Denmark’s MindLab was established in 2002. While it has been in place for 13 


years, an extensive amount of literature on the organization is not available. Similar to 


17 


DHS S&T, much of the research is based on reports by MindLab leadership and general 
interest articles. The MindLab is an interesting case as the organization has periodically 
adjusted its mission and structure since its inception to leverage what is working and to 
jettison what is not. In addition, MindLab sits at the intersection of three government 
departments and one local government. This unique situation parallels DHS S&T’s 
position within DHS and the HSE, albeit on a smaller scale. While not an R&D 
organization, MindLab’s mission is to involve citizens and businesses to create new 
solutions for society.4! MindLab’s longevity in practicing design thinking and imperative 
to connect with government staff and end users offers insight for DHS S&T to consider 


in adopting a design-thinking approach to problem solving. 


While MindLab does not stress the term “design thinking,” former MindLab 
Director Christian Bason spoke specifically on the challenges for government adoption of 
design thinking that are worth noting for the review of the DHS, MindLab, and DARPA 


approaches to problem solving within the case studies: 


° Fostering and Executing Design—Although “labs,” “centers,” and 
“spaces” are proliferating within government, funding, organizational 
change, management buy-in, and solution implementation remain 
challenging. 


e Design Expertise—Without in-house design expertise, the government 
relies on design consultancy. Design consultancy remains immature and 
has yet to focus on the public sector as a primary client. In addition, design 
education needs to catch up and designers need to understand better how 
to work with the government (or it could be argued the government needs 
to learn how to better work with designers). 


e Disruption—Human-centered design forces a more collaborative and 
inclusive view of who needs to be involved in a process to make it work, 
which is inherently disruptive to the current public governance paradigm 
and the individuals who operate within it.*2 


41 “About MindLab,” accessed July 24, 2015, http://mind-lab.dk/en/. 


42 Christian Bason, “Design-led Innovation in Government,” Stanford Social Innovation Review 11, 
no. 2 (Spring 2013): 15-17. 


18 


Cc. DARPA 


One notable organization not referenced as an innovation lab yet recognized for 
its innovation is DARPA. As DHS S&T is frequently associated with DARPA, and the 
DARPA model continues to be used to establish relatively new government 
organizations, to include the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project 
Agency—Energy (ARPA-E), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s 
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), it was decided to review the 
literature to identify if a design-thinking methodology could be linked to DARPA’s 


perceived successes within the R&D community. 


Similar to innovation labs, literature was not found consistently tying DARPA’s 
innovation practices to design thinking; however, known aspects of the DARPA approach 
appear to carry characteristics of design thinking. Additional research on the DARPA 
model draws direct parallels to the principles of design thinking and how DARPA is 


structured and managed. 


While much has been written on DARPA’s successes, the design-thinking 
process, coupled with an organizational assessment model, provides another perspective 
of the characteristics necessary to inform similar endeavors. DHS S&T is frequently 
compared to DARPA. The comparisons typically fall within two schools of thought. The 
first school of thought argues that DHS S&T should emulate DARPA based on its 
longevity and successes. The second school of thought argues against comparisons to 
DARPA, as the stated missions, parent organizations, and user bases, differ significantly. 
This thesis proposes that through a design-thinking lens, DHS S&T can identify and 
harness specific strengths of DARPA that could be emulated within DHS S&T while 
adapting those strengths to the end users and current R&D and homeland security 


environment. 


4. Summary 


The literature covers many activities grounded in design thinking and open 
innovation within departments and agencies throughout all levels of government, 
universities, and for-profit and not-for-profit entities. These activities are happening 

19 


domestically and internationally. Design thinking itself is not new; however, the use of 
design thinking within public-sector organizations, specifically with a homeland security 
focus, is a relatively new endeavor. The past years have introduced a host of terms and 
programs with the aim to spur innovation to include innovations labs, design thinking, 
skunkworks, lean startups, etc. An underlying goal of this thesis is to understand the 
linkages between these initiatives and practices. By understanding the application of 
methods to improve innovation and end use of products and services, DHS S&T can 
identify process solutions that factor in change management, organizational culture, and 
evaluation to ensure short-term progress and long-term impact on the homeland security 


mission. 


D. RESEARCH DESIGN 


To identify opportunities for a design-thinking approach within DHS, the research 
approach involves a comparative analysis of case studies. The first case study reviews the 
use of design thinking within Denmark via the MindLab. The second study reviews 
DARPA’s approach to problem identification and solution through a design-thinking 
lens. A comparative analysis can inform the application and incorporation of a design- 


thinking methodology within DHS S&T’s approach to R&D. 


While originating in the private sector, design thinking has become more 
prevalent within the public sector to address a range of challenges. The selected case 
studies represent an established program within Denmark that ascribes to a design- 
thinking process and an established organization within the United States that does not 
cite a design-thinking model; however, its reputation and practices warrant a comparison 
to design thinking and DHS S&T. The studies focus on observations that could translate 


to the homeland security mission and the environment in which DHS operates. 


While a design-thinking methodology can apply to any homeland security 
organization, the research focuses on the specific role of DHS S&T within the HSE. As 
noted in the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), DHS has an opportunity 
to service the HSE writ large through its programs and processes.*3 DHS S&T stands at 


43 Department of Homeland Security, The 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. 
20 


the intersection of homeland security and R&D, and can thus, set an example and provide 


leadership on evolving approaches to innovation. 


A series of factors based on Galbraith’s Star Model are used to analyze how DHS 
S&T, MindLab, and DARPA apply design-thinking principles. The Star Model provides 
a framework for an organization to make choices that impact how an organization 
operates. The framework proposes a set of areas that in conjunction with one another can 
influence an organization’s culture and individual behaviors. Galbraith’s Star Model 


(Figure 4) consists of the following five areas:44 
e Strategy: Specify the goals, objectives, values, and missions 


° Structure: Determine the placement of power and authority with 
specialization, shape, distribution of power, and departmentalization 


° Processes: Consist of a vertical process to allocate funds and talent and 
horizontal processes designed around workflows 


® Rewards: Align employee goals with organization goals 


e People: Identify the talent needed by the strategy and structure of the 
organization to implement its chosen direction*> 


44 Jay R. Galbraith, Designing Organizations (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002). 
45 Tbid. 
21 


Figure 4. Galbraith’s Star Model 


The Star Model (Galbraith, 2002) 


Reward Processes 





Galbraith, J. Designing Organizations, San Francisco; Josssey-Bass, 2002 


From Jay R. Galbraith, Designing Organizations (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 
2002). 


The data used for the case studies is derived from available literature on design 
thinking in the public sector, as well as government reports and documents to include 
literature developed by S&T, DARPA, and MindLab leadership. The data is analyzed 
against a consistent set of factors (Galbraith’s Star Model) to identify patterns of 
opportunity for design-thinking adoption within DHS. The end result of the analysis is a 
framework that identifies how the organization’s attributes can be shaped to execute a 


design-thinking approach to problem solving. 


E. THESIS ORGANIZATION 


An overview of design thinking is included in Chapter II. Chapter III describes 
DHS’s current methods for problem solving and collaboration. Chapters IV and V 
introduce the two case studies. The case studies review Denmark’s MindLab and 


DARPA; specifically, how the two entities are pursuing a design-thinking approach 
22 


within their respective organizations. Chapter VI provides an analysis of how the two 
organizations compare with DHS S&T and can inform its adoption of design-thinking 
processes and tools. Finally, Chapter VII provides recommendations for consideration by 
DHS in the form of a framework that captures a holistic approach for integrating design 


thinking within homeland security efforts. 


23 


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24 


Il. DESIGN THINKING 


This chapter describes the increasing use of a design-thinking methodology, 
specifically within the public sector. A common manifestation of a design-thinking 
methodology in the public sector is through innovation-based programs often referred to 
as “innovation labs.” Federal organizations embracing the innovation movement include 
the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the 
Department of Health and Human Services, and NASA.*® One of the first publicized 
labs, the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Innovation Lab, opened in 2012.47 
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was concerned with a lack of evaluation 
measures to gauge the impact of the Innovation Lab; however, recent coverage of the Lab 
points to more tangible projects underway with the potential to improve the government 
hiring process.48 The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a 
Global Development Lab in 2014 under the leadership of former Google engineer and 
State Department adviser Ann Mei Cheng.*? DHS recently established a new DHS 
Procurement Innovation Lab with the goal of streamlining and shortening the DHS 
procurement process.>°9 The activity around design-thinking principles reinforces DHS 
S&T’s exploration of how it could adopt a design-thinking methodology to address its 
mission. The USAID initiative merits attention by DHS S&T based on its R&D focus. 
The DHS procurement initiative may provide insight on how design-thinking principles 


are embraced by DHS leadership and staff. 





46 U.S. EPA, OA, “Innovation across the Federal Government,” accessed August 4, 2015, http:// 
www2.epa.gov/innovation/innovation-across-federal-government; U.S. Government Accountability Office, 
Office of Personnel Management: Agency Needs to Improve Outcome Measures to Demonstrate the Value 
of Its Innovation Lab (GAO-14-306) (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2014). 


47 Thid. 


48 Ryan McDermott, “OPM Looks to Improve the Entire Hiring Experience, Not Just USAJobs,” 
FierceGovernment, accessed July 8, 2015, http://www. fiercegovernment.com/story/opm-looks-improve- 
entire-hiring-experience-not-just-usajobs/2015-05-21. 

49 Billy Mitchell, “USAID Taps Former Google Engineer to Lead Innovation Lab,” FedScoop, 
December 5, 2014, http://fedscoop.com/usaid-taps-former-google-engineer-lead-innovation-lab. 


50 “DHS Procurement Chief: ‘Let’s Take Some Chances’ to Innovate,” accessed August 4, 2015, 
http://federalnewsradio.com/acquisition/2015/07/dhs-procurement-chief-lets-take-some-chances-to- 
innovate/. 


2 


Another government initiative grounded in design thinking is the U.S. Digital 
Service. The U.S. Digital Service was brought about after the challenges experienced 
with Healthcare.gov.>! The Service is comprised of small groups that work with public 
servants to improve key government services. While focused on digital services, the U.S. 
Digital Service playbook aligns well with the user-centered tenets of a design-thinking 
methodology. The playbook includes 13 “plays” pulled from successful private and 
public practices to improve the delivery of digital services.>2 The plays highlight a user- 
centric and holistic approach that emphasizes an iterative and agile development process 
for developing solutions. The playbook recognizes government-specific factors, such as 
contracting, budget, and legal, and provides recommendations and additional resources 


for how to address and integrate these factors within project teams. 


While a plethora of design-thinking-based initiatives are being established, some 
run by well-recognized Silicon Valley experts, these initiatives have yet to focus on 
complex homeland security-specific problems and the R&D necessary to address those 
problems. As DHS S&T explores design thinking, it may be worthwhile to engage with 
the innovation-based activities occurring in other organizations to identify best practices 
and lessons learned. For example, both the GAO OPM Innovation Lab report and the 
U.S. Digital Service echo the importance of performance metrics, while also 
acknowledging the challenge in developing metrics that capture the process of 
innovation. The USAID program and DHS Procurement Lab align with the DHS S&T 
mission and may provide additional insights for how DHS S&T can apply design 
thinking to solve problems. Partnerships with other organizations may also result in 


opportunities to leverage solutions developed for other similar problem sets. 


As noted previously, a design-thinking approach is being embraced by public 
organizations to solve problems and improve user experiences; however, the term “design 


thinking” is not always specifically referenced. See Figure 5. 


51 The White House, “The Story of the U.S. Digital Service,” Whitehouse.gov, accessed July 8, 2015, 
https://www. whitehouse. gov/digital/united-states-digital-service/story. 


52 The White House, “U.S. Digital Services Playbook,” U.S. Digital Services, accessed August 15, 
2015, https://playbook.cio.gov/. 


26 


Figure 5. Design Thinking Process Overview 


Learning about the brainstorming and Returning to your original 
audience for whom you coming up with creative user group and testing 
are designing solutions. your ideas for feedback. 








Z — =~ 

























ge a 


Redefining and focusing your Building a representation of 
question based on your insights one or more of your ideas to 
from the empathy stage. show to others 


From “Design Thinking,” accessed August 16, 2015, http://createdu.org/design-thinking/. 


The following sections analyze the key tenets of design thinking and align them 
with the Star Model’s organizational attributes. This alignment demonstrates how design- 
thinking principles manifest themselves within organizations, even when the specific 
term is not used. Understanding this manifestation supports the case study analysis and 
provides a more holistic view of design thinking to inform its possible adoption within 


DHS S&T. 


1. Design Thinking: Strategy 


Creativity is at the heart of design thinking. To encourage creativity, the design- 
thinking methodology centers on the user experience. Design thinking can be applied to 
any situation; however, it lends itself to wicked problems. Wicked problems are open to a 
range of solutions. Comparisons can be made between design thinking and systems 
thinking. While both approaches lend themselves to wicked problems by viewing the 
interconnectivity of factors to understand possible solutions better, design thinking 


emphasizes the human within the problem-solving process. 


DHS has a broad range of complex problems to which design thinking can be 
applied. DHS S&T could consider specific priorities when identifying potential problems 
for a design-thinking approach to provide a project team with a clear sense of the goals 


and objectives, and the necessary stakeholders to participate in the process. 


Zi 


2. Design Thinking: Structure 


With an emphasis on brainstorming across disciplines and an_ iterative 
development process, design thinking relies on a flat rather than a_ hierarchical 
organizational structure. The process also relies on a diverse set of viewpoints and 
experiences that requires the ability to work across domains and organizational units. 
Walters warns of the challenge in promoting the cross-fertilization of ideas, particular in 
traditionally large and bureaucratic organizations like the federal government.%3 
However, she offers that if an organization can foster the process, real value and skill can 
be obtained from embracing the chaotic and contradictory intellect of experts gathered 
from a variety of disciplines to tackle complex problems.*4 Whether flat or hierarchical, 
leadership support is important to ensure funding and resources and to enable cross- 
organizational collaboration. In addition, leadership support from participating 


organizations may improve the likelihood of adoption of proposed solutions. 


Of note, a lot of the discussion around innovation and design-thinking centers on 
the physical space. Modular furniture, sunlight, white boards, Kraft paper, and a rainbow 
of post-it notes and markers are regularly associated with the design-thinking 
methodology. While it could be considered superficial, the environments popularly 
associated with design thinking are more understandable once familiar with the basic 
tenets of the design-thinking approach. To work collaboratively and encourage 
brainstorming across organizations or disciplines, a comfortable space that can expand or 
contract to meet the needs of a team is beneficial. Many organizations, to include DHS 
S&T, established “collaboration rooms.” See Figure 6. A review of design-thinking 
principles may inform how to better use these spaces and consider how other workspaces 


are organized and used to support the adoption of design-thinking methods. 


53 Helen Walters, “Design Thinking’ Isn’t a Miracle Cure, but Here’s How It Helps,” Co.Design, 
accessed July 5, 2015, http://www. fastcodesign.com/1663480/design-thinking-isnt-a-miracle-cure-but- 
heres-how-it-helps. 


54 Ibid. 
28 


Figure 6. Collaboration Space 





From “Calling Those Interested in Innovative Design,” accessed August 16, 2015, 
http://williamrodick.tumblr.com/post/44534923527/calling-those-interested-in-innova 
tive-design. 


Ji Design Thinking: Processes 


While the literature frequently refers to “formal” when defining a design-thinking 
process to encourage creativity, as noted by Nussbaum and others, the process must not 
become so rigid that it stifles the creativity it was intended to spur. In addition to the 
general process, institutions, such as Stanford’s Institute of Design, provide specific tools 
or method cards to exercise the process.>> Design thinking emphasizes the entire user 
experience to include the adoption and use of a solution within an operational or policy 
realm. To build context and enhance communication around defining a problem and 


potential solutions, design thinking encourages the use of a myriad of tools that promote 





55 “Use Our Methods,” accessed August 6, 2015, http://dschool.stanford.edu/use-our-methods/. 
29 


idea sharing. These tools are frequently visual, and a tool consistently observed when 
applying design thinking is rich pictures. Rich pictures are a visual tool to develop a 
shared understanding around a problem. Rich pictures evolved from the Soft Systems 
Methodology. At the core of the Soft Systems Methodology is understanding activities 
within a system in a way that is meaningful for all involved in the system.>° Rich pictures 
provide a platform for developing a shared understanding and identifying gaps or 
contradictions within a system.5’ While rich pictures are an example of one tool, they 
provide a stark contrast to the engineering focused methodologies most commonly used 
within DHS S&T, and also provide an alternative to how DHS may be able to 


communicate better with end users. See Figure 7. 


Figure 7. Rich Picture Example 


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Ph) Sate EM & i ly 
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Pea aa ' \ oo 


Puy 
; : MISM 
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ee (\ Bs v2 | BAAD Abi Li ty Sata 


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From Dave, “Learn Warfighter Needs|theATHENAproject,” January 20, 2015, https:// 
athenanavy.wordpress.com/category/learn-warfighter-needs/. 





56 Peter Checkland and John Poulter, “Soft Systems Methodology,” in Systems Approaches to 
Managing Change: A Practical Guide, ed. Martin Reynolds and Sue Holwell (London: Springer London, 
2010), 191-242, http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-84882-809-4_5. 


57 Andrew Monk and Steve Howard, “The Rich Picture: A Tool for Reasoning about Work Context,” 
Interactions, March 1998. 


30 


While the design-thinking process is intended to cross vertical stovepipes and 
engage individuals with unique perspectives and skills, sponsorship is important. To 
adopt a design-thinking approach, leadership should be willing to provide the necessary 
resources and allow for some deviation from established processes. In addition, 
leadership should be able to influence other key decision makers within and outside of 
the organization to enable the cross-collaboration and flexibility necessary to harness the 


potential benefits of design-thinking processes. 


4. Design Thinking: Reward 


As a solution-based methodology centered on brainstorming across disciplines, 
design thinking provides an opportunity to engage, network, and learn from individuals 
with a diverse set of viewpoints. By focusing on problems deemed significant by one or 
more organizations, employees and leadership can be confident that efforts are 
contributing to an overarching objective. Design thinking is inherently project-based 
allowing for an individual sense of accomplishment aligned with organizational goals. 
While failures are expected, it is considered an inherent part of the process to identify the 
optimal solution to a given challenge. For an organization, such as DHS S&T, to adopt 
design thinking, it is important to consider how the rewards systems align with the tenets 
of design thinking. Collaboration and the option for failure should be incentivized within 


an organization’s performance system. 


a: Design Thinking: People 


As design thinking emphasizes collaboration, it is important that participants are 
able to connect and work towards a common goal. The nature of design thinking also 
relies on project managers comfortable initiating and facilitating projects and tasks to 
address complex problems. The literature points to various tools and methods to aid 
individuals interested in applying design thinking to a specific project, but might not 
inherently possess the tools and skills. Design-thinking expertise and facilitation support 
can be outsourced; however, having a small team of experienced professionals may allow 
for a more repeatable process and instill the principles within an organization. Leadership 


support is important to recruit or procure design-thinking expertise to facilitate the work 
31 


of teams pursuing solutions to pressing problems. An organization seeking to adopt 
design-thinking principles may consider revisiting its workforce development strategy to 
include positions descriptions, training, and recruitment strategy to seek the skill sets that 


can best enable a design-thinking approach to problem solving. 


6. Design Thinking: Summary 


While slightly different, the basic tenets of design thinking remain consistent 
across the literature. The variation makes sense; as Walters notes, the reason that 
companies, such as Procter & Gamble and General Electric, are deemed successful 
adopters of a design-thinking approach is that they defined it according to their own 
terms, and factored in their respective organizational cultures.>8 By reviewing aspects of 
design thinking through the Star Model, a holistic approach is provided for S&T to 
consider how design thinking can be customized to best align with its mission, values, 
and workforce to spur new approaches to discovering and developing solutions to 


homeland security problems. 





58 Walters, “‘Design Thinking’ Isn’t a Miracle Cure, but Here’s How It Helps.” 
aD 


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ao 


Hil. DHS APPROACH 


This chapter describes the current DHS S&T organization organized around the 
five elements of Galbraith’s Star Model to compare current S&T practices based on the 
tenets of design thinking explored in Chapter II. This approach also allows for 
comparison to MindLab’s (Chapter IV) and DARPA’s (Chapter V) use of design- 


thinking principles within their respective organizations. 


A. DHS S&T: BACKGROUND 


DHS S&T was established through the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 
107-296). The Act gave the Under Secretary for DHS S&T a wide-ranging set of 
responsibilities. After 12 years, it remains difficult to assess DHS S&T’s progress in 
achieving its many responsibilities to include the overarching mission to improve the 
homeland security posture via research, development, and transition. In addition to R&D, 
the organization is also tasked with assessing vulnerabilities and threats, operating five 
national laboratories, providing counsel to DHS and interagency leadership, supporting 
the DHS acquisition process, and executing a series of congressionally mandated 
programs, such as the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Centers of 
Excellence organized around academic systems.5? Not only is DHS S&T responsible for 
the Department’s R&D agenda and internal coordination, but it is expected to be a leader 
throughout the federal government, industry, academia, and with state, local, territorial, 
and tribal partners in prioritizing and coordinating R&D capability gaps and ensuring the 
transition of R&D to homeland security operators. While S&T’s responsibilities are 
varied, heavy emphasis is on producing innovative solutions that impact the security and 
resilience of the United States. S&T’s dueling responsibilities warrant attention to how 
processes are used to address its different responsibilities. While design thinking can 
apply to a range of tasks, S&T may want to consider which specific programs and 
responsibilities lend themselves to design-thinking strengths in addressing complexity 


and enhancing collaboration to inform how it could adopt the approach within S&T. 





59 Homeland Security Act of 2002, 107th Cong., 2nd sess. (2002). 
34 


A series of initiatives exists to address some of DHS S&T’s long-standing issues, 
and the shifting R&D landscape from a largely federal-government function to a largely 
private-sector function. One of the new initiatives is TITAN. The goal of TITAN is to 
discover and engage innovators that hold solutions, or portions of solutions for homeland 
security problems. An objective of TITAN is to link related programs and activities 
within DHS S&T to communicate priorities better and provide pathways for industry to 
connect with DHS S&T and homeland security operators.6° The following elements 
comprise TITAN: experimentation, small business innovation research, futures and 
forecasting, prize authority, business accelerators, and engagement with industry, 
international, academia, and national laboratory partners. Design thinking is also noted as 
a TITAN element. Based on a review of DHS S&T’s approach to problem identification 
and solution development, coupled with the initial literature review, it seems design 
thinking could serve as the “glue” for the various TITAN elements and the needed 
connection between initial problem identification, definition, and solution transfer, rather 
than as a distinct element. The following sections describe S&T’s current practices 


aligned to each of the Star Model areas. 


B. DHS S&T: STRATEGY 


DHS S&T is tasked with delivering effective and innovative insight, methods, and 
solutions for homeland security practitioners.6! Nieto-Gomez highlights the difference 
between incremental and disruptive innovation and the challenges each pose specific to 
the homeland security mission. Christensen defines incremental innovation, or sustaining 
innovation, as improving a product, program, or service using existing metrics whereas 
disruptive innovation results in an entirely new product or approach to a problem.% 


Nieto-Gomez proposes that homeland security institutions are dealing with incremental 


60 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Strategic Plan 2015-2019. 
6! Ibid. 


62 Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilenma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail 
(Management of Innovation and Change). 


35 


threats; however, they are not positioned to address disruptive threats.°3 The delineation 
of incremental and disruptive innovation raises a question for DHS S&T on how it 
deliberately pursues incremental and disruptive innovation, as both are inherent within its 
mission and responsibilities. This deliberation can ensure design thinking is adopted 
appropriately for S&T and specific goals are clear for executing a design-thinking 


approach to specific problems or challenges. 


DHS S&T was granted several unique authorities per the Homeland Security Act 
of 2002 to provide a disruptive innovation capability; however, the organization is largely 
driven by traditional systems engineering and acquisition processes used throughout the 
Department. DHS S&T manages a variety of programs and mechanisms to include 
national laboratories, universities, public-private partnership agreements, a Small 
Business Innovation Research Program, long-range broad agency announcements, and 
other contract vehicles and programs to execute R&D. While these mechanisms are 
designed to impact homeland security operations, the 2014 report, The DHS S&T 
Directorate: Selected Issues for Congress, notes that DHS S&T has experienced 
significant challenges in transitioning knowledge products and technology into 
operational environments.®© Another challenge for DHS S&T is clear alignment of 
programs and tools with prioritized capability gaps, to include differentiating between 
incremental and disruptive innovation initiatives. The adoption of design thinking, 
combined with a clear understanding of DHS and HSE priorities and objectives, could 
support collaboration across disciplines, programs, and organizations to achieve 


incremental or disruptive innovation. 





63 Rodrigo Nieto-Gomez, “The Power of ‘the Few’: A Key Strategic Challenge for the Permanently 
Disrupted High-Tech Homeland Security Environment,” Homeland Security Affairs Journal, accessed 
April 19, 2015, https://www.hsaj.org/articles/50. 


64 Homeland Security Act of 2002. 


65 “Work with DHS Science and Technology,” last published July 31, 2015, http://www.dhs.gov/how- 
do-i/work-dhs-science-and-technology. 


66 Shea, The DHS S&T Directorate: Selected Issues for Congress. 
36 


Cc. DHS S&T: STRUCTURE 


DHS S&T is comprised of a large number of offices, programs, and areas of 
expertise resulting in a compartmentalized organization.®” At the same time, authority 
remains centralized. This construct can be challenging for communicating and aligning 
efforts and for collaboration across organizations. New initiatives abound; however, the 
linkages and execution of these initiatives remains elusive. In addition to existing 
programs and offices, DHS S&T is creating a series of technology roadmaps for a set of 
Apex programs, as well as the visionary goals identified within the DHS Strategic Plan.®8 
To support the Apex programs, technology engines are established. The engines are 
intended to foster collaboration across a series of common capabilities, such as identity 
management, social and behavioral science, and modeling and simulation. An 
understanding of design thinking’s user-centered methodology and its alignment to the 
Star Model’s organizational factors could inform DHS S&T structure changes needed to 
ensure new and existing initiatives and constructs improve and do not inhibit 


collaboration and development of new solutions and technologies. 


D. DHS S&T: PROCESSES 


While DHS S&T has used multiple methods since its inception to identify, 
prioritize, execute, and transition projects, no method is consistently embraced by the 
workforce. A consistent process coupled with clear communication of priorities could 
help S&T engage more meaningfully with end users and potential performers. 
Communication of problems and priorities would enable industry to connect with DHS 
and leverage existing or planned work to support the HSE. A consistent process that links 
priorities and funding to achieve objectives could help S&T more effectively engage with 
industry partners and end users to identify and transition technological solutions. In 
addition, coordination and collaboration across federal departments and agencies could 


identify opportunities to synchronize activities and projects. 


67 “DHS S&T Organizational Chart,” accessed August 21, 2015, http://www.dhs. gov/sites/ 
default/files/publications/Visio-ST%200rg%20Chart%20-%202.pdf. 


68 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Strategic Plan 2015-2019. 
oth 


To identify and address increasingly complex problems within the homeland 
security mission areas, multiple disciplines should be engaged. As disciplines tend to 
have their own terminology and heuristic, a process to coordinate and elaborate on 
problems becomes important to enable collaboration across domains to identify and 
develop innovative solutions. As highlighted within the literature review, DHS S&T 
relies on a predominantly linear systems engineering approach to R&D, which does not 
lend itself to the wicked nature of problems within homeland security. The guides and 
tools used by S&T typically rely on individuals to be familiar with the terminology 
specific to traditional engineering disciplines. With an emphasis on collaboration 
amongst multi-disciplines, design thinking encourages plain language and the use of 
tools, such as pictures, sketches, and prototypes, to enable a common understanding of 
problems and potential solutions. This approach aligns well with government initiatives, 
such as the Plain Writing Act of 2010.6? While the Act is focused on communicating 
benefits and services, it could be argued that plain language is a good practice within and 
outside federal departments and agencies, particularly when working with business, 
citizens, and experts within other domains. Design-thinking methods expand the toolsets 
available to enhance communication with end users and across disciplines. Adoption of a 
design-thinking process, combined with a clear set of priority projects and necessary 


resources, could improve the likelihood of innovative solutions transitioning to operators. 


E. DHS S&T: REWARD 


In the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, DHS scored 43 out of 100 for a 
results-oriented performance culture.” Within DHS S&T, performance plan standards 
are customized to each employee. This individual-based approach, coupled with a lack of 
project performance measures, can result in inconsistent and subjective assessments and 
difficulty in assessing not only employee performance but the S&T project portfolio and 
the organization’s impact overall. An incentive for collaboration is inherent to design 


thinking, and requires its own set of knowledge, skills, and abilities. In addition, risk is 


69 Plain Writing Act of 2010, HR946, 124. Vol. 2861, 111th Cong. (2010). 


70 “2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results,” accessed July 24, 2015, http://beta. 
opm. gov/utilities/templates/general-content-page/. 


38 


not embraced within DHS S&T. Continued Congressional scrutiny of the organization’s 
effectiveness has resulted in a rigid budget structure and an expectation of “quick wins.” 
As a result, many of S&T’s projects aim for short-term results that may not be 
significantly different from standard software development work conducted by the 
private sector for government programs. To adopt a design-thinking approach to projects, 
S&T may want to consider how it incentivizes the behaviors inherent within the 


methodology so that employees embrace and practice it. 


F. DHS S&T: PEOPLE 


As an R&D organization, DHS S&T is largely comprised of science, technology, 
engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals, which poses unique opportunities 
and challenges for design-thinking adoption and process change writ large. ICF 
International identifies the following profile characteristics for STEM leaders: tend 
toward cognitive, not interpersonal strengths; interpersonal relations and self-awareness 
are common development needs; high capacity and strong motivation to learn; and desire 
empirically sound data to demonstrate benefits of non-technical endeavors, such as 
leadership development.’! These profile characteristics should not significantly differ 
from other R&D organizations. It does raise the question on how DHS S&T can diversify 
its workforce to communicate around complex problem sets and enable connections 


within and outside of the organization. 


DHS continually highlights the importance of collaboration, diversity, and 
working across disciplines in doctrine to include the Quadrennial Homeland Security 
Review and the National Planning Frameworks.’2 The U.S. Office of Personnel 
Management’s Strategic Plan references a 2008-2010 study of hiring trends with 
research showing that recruiting with an emphasis on cultural, experiential, and cognitive 


diversity may support an agency’s ability to address “increasingly complex challenges 


71 Steven Aude, Michelle Paul Heelan, Daniel Fien-Helfman, and Anderson, Emily, “Cultivating 
Effective STEM Leaders: Challenges and Opportunities,” JCF International, February 20, 2014. 


72 Department of Homeland Security, The 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review; “National 
Planning Frameworks,” accessed June 21, 2015, http://www.fema.gov/national-planning-frameworks. 


39 


more efficiently.”73 A design-thinking approach can better enable multi-disciplinary and 
interdisciplinary engagement between S&T’s STEM workforce and homeland security 
operators and end users to solve wicked problems; however, it would require that DHS 
revisit how current staff are used on projects and develop a workforce development 
strategy. Design thinking emphasizes a user-centric iterative approach that is a departure 
from the current DHS S&T model. The approach could significantly assist DHS S&T 
with the challenge to develop and maintain collaborative relationships internally, and 


with the DHS components and the HSE. 


A recent DHS S&T initiative that could be an enabler for staff to work across 
disciplines internally and externally is Emergenetics. Emergenetics is a personality 
profiling approach based on brain science. According to Browning, the goal is for 
individuals to understand their “thinking style (conceptual, social, analytical, or 
structural) and behavioral set points (expressiveness, assertiveness, and flexibility).”74 By 
understanding their own approach and the approach of others, individuals can be more 
cognizant of how they approach new situations, accomplish activities, and how they can 
enhance relationships and better communicate with different types of personalities.75 
This type of initiative could support the design-thinking imperative to build a shared 
understanding of a problem space and the multitude of solutions that could address it. 
However, additional tools and training could be considered to support the existing 
workforce while revisiting future recruiting and hiring criterion. For design-thinking 


adoption within DHS S&T, it is important for the workforce to be prepared to execute it. 


G. DHS S&T: SUMMARY 


Table 2 summarizes DHS S&T’s current organizational model to understand how 
design-thinking methods are embedded within the organization and inform how they 


could be further integrated in the future. 





73 Office of Personnel Management, Government-Wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2011 
(Washington, DC: Office of Personnel Management, 2011). 


74 Geil Browning, Emergenetics (R): Tap into the New Science of Success (New York: Harper 
Business, 2005). 


73 Ibid. 
40 


Table 2. | Summary of Design Thinking Processes within DHS S&T 


Strategy | Homeland security mission is broad. S&T responsible for laboratories and acquisitions in 
addition to R&D. Emphasis on high-level visionary goals and detailed technical road maps and 
incremental innovation. Values communicated in recent Strategic Plan but supporting 
organizational elements not in place. 





Processes Conflicting engineering focused workflows; not designed for wicked problems and not 
centered on end user or agile development. Funding not consistently aligned to priorities. 
Difficult to reallocate rapidly due to government budgeting process. 





People Predominantly career civil service employees. Majority with a STEM profile. No strategic 
workforce development plan to align human resources and development with DHS priorities 
and processes. 


The following two chapters review Denmark’s MindLab and the Department of 
Defense’s DARPA. The two case studies identify practices that can inform how DHS 
S&T transitions from its current organizational model to a model that enables the 


adoption of design thinking to solve complex homeland security problems. 


IV. CASE STUDY: DENMARK’S MINDLAB APPROACH 


The first case studied to inform potential shifts within DHS S&T to incorporate 
design thinking is Denmark’s MindLab. MindLab is a foundational example of design- 
thinking execution within the public sector frequently cited in the literature. While not 
specifically operating in the homeland security mission space, MindLab provides an 
example of an established program operating across government organizations similar to 
DHS S&T’s position within DHS and the HSE. MindLab’s holistic approach that 
includes reviews of policy implications provides a different perspective from the more 
traditional R&D organization. The MindLab approach provides insight for DHS as the 
Department is comprised of multiple operational components and also requires 
collaboration with other federal departments and agencies, as well as the private sector 
and HSE. Both organizations operate in a complex environment in which technology 


adoption is often dependent on policy. 


A. MINDLAB: BACKGROUND 


MindLab was created in 2002 for Denmark’s Ministry of Economic and Business 
Affairs as an internal incubator for invention and innovation.76 MindLab leverages a 
design-thinking approach for innovation processes and collaboration across the public 
sector. MindLab supports three ministries and one municipality: the Ministries of 
Business and Growth, Education, and Employment, and the Odense Municipality, and 


also works closely with the Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Interior.’” 


MindLab continuously assesses its performance and priorities. Table 3 captures 


the evolution of MindLab since its inception in 2002. 


76 “MindLab.” 


77 “Denmark’s Mindlab Involves Citizens and Business in in Problem Solving with Government 
Ministries,” accessed July 3, 2015, http:/Wwww.opengovguide.com/country-examples/denmarks-mindlab- 
involves-citizens-and-business-in-developing-new-solutions-for-the-public-sector/. 


42 


Table 3. Three Generations of MindLab 


Process focus Ideation Value-creation Insights to drive 
innovation 





Capacity focus Training and facilitation Innovation projects Core business 
transformation 





Management Management not involved Management passively Management actively 
supportive involved 





Key challenge 


Integration of 
innovation processes in 
wider organisation 


Buy-in to new ways of 
working 


Adopting new narrative 
in the organisation 


From Helle Vibeke Carstensen and Christian Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy 
Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector 
Innovation Journal 17, no. | (2012): art. 4. 


The following sections describe how MindLab embeds the principles of design 


thinking within the organization using the elements of Galbraith’s Star Model. 


B. MINDLAB: STRATEGY 


MindLab’s first five years were focused on organizational development and 
identifying efficiencies in administrative processes and workflows to increase 
productivity. A movement was underway to create additional MindLabs within individual 
units; however, leadership recognized the benefit in mutual learning and cross 
collaboration and a decision was made to form MindLab into a cross-governmental 
“centre of excellence” in user-driven innovation.’8 MindLab has gone through a series of 

78 Helle Vibeke Carstensen and Christian Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can 


Innovation Labs Help?” The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal 17, no. 1 (2012): 
art. 4. 


43 


changes since its inception in 2002 to expand upon what worked well and to move away 


from what did not. 


The organization focuses on societal problems that cross the government 
organizations it is designed to support. When initially established, MindLab did not 
adhere to a specific process. The process model is now explicitly anchored in design 
thinking, as well as qualitative research. As noted in Table 3, Mindlab is end user focused 
which can be seen in the organization’s process for identifying projects in collaboration 
with the sponsoring organization and stakeholders. The strategy of aligning with and 
prioritizing projects in collaboration with key partners provides a parallel for DHS to 
consider in how it approaches projects with DHS components and end users. As design 
thinking is project based, it is important to have a strong foundation to ensure priorities 
and goals are understood and informed by all stakeholders to improve the likelihood of 
solution transition. An additional strategic lesson shared by MindLab is the importance of 
branding, and as such, it invests heavily in website development, identity branding, and 
internal and external communications to remain visible and relevant within its 
community.’? As DHS continually refines its mission and priorities, it may want to heed 
the recommendation of MindLab to form and communicate intentionally an identity and 


strategic direction to potential partners and stakeholders. 


C. MINDLAB: STRUCTURE 


Mindlab maintains a lean organizational structure. MindLab is comprised of a 
small core staff and supplemented with project managers and part-time PhD students to 
encourage a dynamic environment that emphasizes research contributions, as well as 
problem solving.®° Each staff person is typically responsible for managing two to three 
projects simultaneously. MindLab’s periodic staff turnover could pose a challenge for 
strong social relationships within the organization; however, as noted previously, 


MindLab’s emphasis on identity and brand may mitigate the negative aspects of 


79 Carstensen and Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” 
80 “MindLab.” 
44 


employee turnover by recruiting individuals prepared for the culture and mission of the 


organization. 


Carstensen and Bason observe a bureaucratic tendency to keep the most 
promising and politically high profile projects siloed to control the process and perceived 
impact; they argue it is counterproductive.8! They also espouse the importance of 
maintaining senior management support to ensure project relevance, and that results are 
usable and used. As DHS continually faces emerging threats and priorities, it is worth 
considering how new priorities are integrated within the organization. As Carstensen and 
Bason note, holding priority projects at the senior leadership level may be 
counterproductive. DHS S&T may want to consider its organizational construct and 
workflow to enable the continued integration of emerging priorities and management by 
equipped project teams. An organizational construct designed to be flexible could enable 


the adoption of a design-thinking methodology. 


D. MINDLAB: PROCESSES 


Possible problems for MindLab to tackle are initiated by government 
representatives and presented to the MindLab Board, which is comprised of senior staff 
from the various government organizations. A priority list is created and then sent for a 
second-level review. Once the second-level review is complete, recommendations are 
returned to the MindLab Board for discussion with the MindLab team, who make a final 


decision based on the following questions, presented in Table 4. 





81 Carstensen and Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” 


45 


Table 4. | MindLab Project Decision Criterion 


Is the project core to the mission of the department, or is it offside? 
Is it an issue that actually requires MindLab’s expertise? 

Is the focus and interest of the issue on the end user? 

Does the issue require cross-sector collaboration? 


Is there a “burning platform” that elevates this issue to the top of the agenda? 


From Helle Vibeke Carstensen and Christian Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy 
Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector 
Innovation Journal 17, no. 1 (2012): art. 4. 


In general, project execution starts by reviewing the problem initially scoped by a 
municipal or ministry partner. MindLab then initiates a process that involves 
stakeholders, which for MindLab, commonly includes public officials, citizens, and 
business leaders. The goal of a project team is to ideate a slew of possible solutions and 
then prototype them. Sometimes, a pilot accompanies a prototype. Based on the findings 
of the prototype and possible pilot, a proposal is presented to the sponsoring ministries.82 
The scoping and planning process for a typical MindLab project is estimated at 12 
months. A MindLab principle is to “do—don’t only think” to enable communication and 
change mindsets.°3 This principle can be linked to the prototype phase of the design- 
thinking process. MindLab’s emphasis on a flat organizational structure, while also 
maintaining an established process to ensure problem sets and solutions are driven by 
stakeholders, provides an example for how DHS S&T could approach project 
identification. The structured set of questions used by MindLab to select projects 
proposed by the sponsors provides transparency while also empowering MindLab to 
ensure that projects align with their mission and skills. Involving the sponsors and 
stakeholders at the beginning of the process may improve buy-in and the ultimate 


transition of solutions. MindLab admits challenges in transitioning innovations to the 


82 “Visit to Mind Lab,” accessed July 8, 2015, http://www.servicedesignmaster.comy/visit-to-mind- 
lab. html. 


83 Carstensen and Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” 


46 


owners responsible for implementing solutions in the past;8* DHS S&T faces similar 
challenges. While design thinking is not an immediate fix to the challenge of transition, 
the principles of design thinking may increase the likelihood of transition across DHS 
S&T’s projects by building a shared understanding and relationship with stakeholders 


from project initiation through the final solution recommendation. 


E. MINDLAB: REWARD 


By focusing on seven to 10 projects a year, MindLab provides an opportunity for 
staff to set and achieve specific objectives within a reasonable timeframe that align with 
MindLab and sponsor priorities.25 By employing a repeatable process for how projects 
are selected and formulated, employees can anticipate and understand expectations. The 
project-based approach ensures efforts have a beginning and an end. As prototyping is a 
key attribute of MindLab’s design-thinking approach, failure is expected and encouraged 
in pursuit of an ultimate workable solution for a problem. MindLab’s alignment to 
sponsor priorities, flat organizational structure, and project-based approach, combined 
with a strong identity, provide clear expectations for employees. To adopt a design- 
thinking approach, people are essential and DHS S&T could glean insight from MindLab 
on how to incentivize its workforce to embrace new approaches to creativity, such as 


design thinking. 


F. MINDLAB: PEOPLE 


Carstensen and Bason cite IDEO and GravityTank as examples they use for their 
own hiring criterion.’ Tim Brown of IDEO seeks the following five qualities when 
hiring individuals: they say “we” more than “T’; they discuss failures, not just wins; they 


spent time teaching, as well as learning; they are nice to the receptionist; and they believe 





84 Carstensen and Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” 


85 Patricia Kelly, “MindLab—A Danish Public Sector Innovation Lab and a Stage for Public Sector 
Collaboration,” Australian Government Public Sector Innovation, June 28, 2010, https://innovation. gov 
space. gov.au/2010/06/28/mindlab-a-danish-public-sector-innovation-lab-and-a-stage-for-public-sector- 
collaboration/. 


86 Carstense and Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” 


47 


in asking for forgiveness, not permission (encourage risks in developing an employment 


application package, i.e., video portraits, designed custom apps, etc.).87 


MindLab pursues project managers from a variety of backgrounds to include 
business, sociology, anthropology, visual communication, design, and _ research.88 
MindLab leadership emphasizes recruiting and developing “likeable people.”®? The 
argument is that introducing significant change sometimes warranted to address complex 
problems requires the right type of personality that people will work with through 
challenges. The MindLab process centers on empowering staff and encouraging 
collaboration with individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds. The MindLab mission, 
scope, process, and flat organizational structure seem to be a draw for the types of 
employees the organization seeks. Establishing a clear identity and brand may support 
MindLab in setting expectations and recruiting the individuals it seeks. If DHS S&T 
pursues a design-thinking approach, how it recruits the necessary skills sets and builds an 
organization to nurture those skill sets may be an important factor to realize the benefits 


of a design-thinking methodology. 


G. MINDLAB: SUMMARY 


Table 5 summarizes MindLab’s organizational model to understand how design- 
thinking methods are embedded within the organization to inform how DHS S&T could 


consider integrating similar practices within its organization. 


87 Tim Brown, “How I Hire: 5 Tips for Landing a Job at IDEO,” Design Thinking, September 30, 
2013, http://designthinking.ideo.com/?p=1195. 


88 “Employees,” accessed August 7, 2015, http://mind-lab.dk/en/medarbejdere/. 


89 Carstensen and Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” 


48 


Table 5. §MindLab Summary 


Strategy Focus on wicked societal problems that are complex and open to 
interpretation and multiple solutions. Projects aligned with sponsors and 
scoped with stakeholders. Recognizes importance of communicating an 
identity and brand. 





Processes Emphasis on horizontal workflows and collaboration outside of the 
organization. Clear process for identifying and executing projects. 





People Recruits competencies not common within the civil service. Understanding 
of the political process and how the public sector operates. Provide mix of 
skills necessary for a human-centered approach. 


After reviewing DHS S&T and MindLab organizational models, Chapter V 
analyzes the DARPA organizational model. 


V. CASE STUDY: DARPA 


Chapter V uses the same five analysis factors as Chapters III and IV to analyze 
how DARPA as an organization incorporates design thinking. DHS S&T is frequently 
compared to DARPA. DARPA is consistently lauded as an example of an innovative 
public sector organization. The continual comparison between DHS S&T and DARPA is 
logical as DHS S&T includes HSARPA, which was specifically called for within the 
Homeland Security Act of 2002 with characteristics resembling those of DARPA.%° Over 
the past 13 years, DHS S&T (and HSARPA) has struggled to mirror DARPA’s perceived 
successes. While continued debate occurs on how closely DHS should mimic DARPA 
when factoring in the diversity of the HSE and mission, DARPA’s project model 
warrants attention. Through the lens of a design-thinking approach to problem solving 
organized by Galbraith’s Star Model, this chapter identifies DARPA project practices and 
approach to disruptive innovation and how they may apply to DHS S&T’s approach to 


problem solving. 


A. DARPA: BACKGROUND 


Much of the literature on R&D models to emulate points to DARPA. William 
Bonvillian describes the history of federal R&D dating back to World War II to the 
present where the DARPA model continues to be the standard 56 years after its 
creation.?! Bonvillian ponders if the more recently established IARPA, ARPA-E, and 
other organizations will have an opportunity to fine tune the DARPA model. DARPA 
was created in 1958 in response to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik,. Its founding 
mission was “to prevent and create strategic surprise.”?2 The founding mission aligns 


with disruptive innovation rather than incremental innovation. DARPA is situated within 





90 Homeland Security Act of 2002. 


91 William B. Bonvillian, “The New Model Innovation Agencies: An Overview,” Science and Public 
Policy, 2013, 1-13. doi:10.1093/scipol/sct059. 


92 Regina E. Dugan and Kaigham J. Gabriel, ““Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks 
Problems,” Harvard Business Review, 2013, http://hbr.org/2013/10/special-forces-innovation-how-darpa- 
attacks-problems/ar/pr. 


50 


the Department of Defense (DOD); however, it is separated from the more traditional 


R&D and acquisitions activities managed within the individual DOD services. 


The following sections review how DARPA has integrated design-thinking 
principles within the organization and how those practices could inform DHS’s adoption 
of a design-thinking approach to problem solving within its organization. The sections 
are organized by the five areas of the Galbraith Star Model to enable comparisons 
between DHS S&T, MindLab, and DARPA approaches to problem solving and design- 
thinking principles. 


B. DARPA: STRATEGY 


Dugan and Gabriel describe three primary elements of the DARPA model: 
ambitious goals, temporary project teams, and independence.?? Dugan elaborates that 
DARPA pursues disruptive innovation and that traditional R&D technology road maps 
may hinder the delivery of breakthrough innovations. She proposes that DARPA 
succeeds because it is a small, dedicated, and independent organization focused on “use- 
inspired basic research.”94 DARPA commits to projects that fall in what political scientist 
Stokes described as “Pasteur’s quadrant.”?> Pasteur’s quadrant (Figure 8) eschews the 
notion of either solely focusing on pure basic research or pure applied research, and 
argues that scientific research can pursue both, and it is at this junction at which the 


government can make the most impact. 


93 Regina and Gabriel, “Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems.” 
94 Tid. 
> Ibid. 

a1 


Figure 8. | Quadrant Model of Scientific Research 


Research ts inspired by Considerations of Use? 
No Yes 
Pure basic Use-inspired 
Research basic research 
Quest for (Bohr) (Pasteur) 
fundamental 
understanding? 








From Donald E. Stokes, Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological 
Innovation (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1997). 


DARPA’s ambitious goals translate well to design-thinking’s strength in 
addressing difficult to define wicked problems. Ambitious goals also guide project 
portfolios, individual projects, and engage the interest of individuals to work the projects. 
Dugan offers that a project portfolio should include a healthy balance of two kinds of 
initiatives, “projects that are focused on new possibilities created by scientific advances 
and projects that are focused on solving long-standing problems through new scientific 
development.”°© While DHS S&T focuses on technology roadmaps, Dugan argues that 
the work in Pasteur’s quadrant does not exist on roadmaps.?? Weinberger highlights 
former DARPA Director Lukasik’s warning that “without presidential challenges, 
DARPA is in danger of working on problems that are technologically interesting but not 
important to the nation.”98 “Once you move in that direction,’ Lukasik opines, “you 
move in the direction of more detail, and if that’s the case, you run the risk of becoming 


irrelevant because your measure of survival is political adroitness rather than technical 


96 Dugan and Gabriel, “Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems.” 

97 Ibid. 

98 Sharon Weinberger, “Defence Research: Still in the Lead?” Nature, January 23, 2008. 
D2 


excellence and solving important problems.”9? While Durgan forcefully argues for an 
emphasis on disruptive innovation and avoidance of roadmaps, Lukasik counters that 
alignment with specific priorities is important. The two former DARPA directors 
combined comments provide options for DHS S&T to consider in how to balance its 


portfolio of projects so solve problems of national significance. 


C. DARPA: STRUCTURE 


DARPA has autonomy in selecting and executing projects and is not wed to 
specific user requirements like the other DOD service R&D programs. Lee uses the term 
“skunkworks” to describe DARPA’s well-funded research teams. He elaborates that 
when program managers are properly empowered, they create innovation communities 
that encourage cooperation and competition to achieve objectives.!9° Based on 
MindLab’s position to Denmark’s government organizations, it could also be considered 
a skunkworks construct. Dugan opines that the independence allows the organization to 
move quickly and take risks. This flexibility, in turn, helps DARPA recruit high 
performing individuals.!°! DARPA is comprised of approximately 250 personnel of 
whom 140 are technical personnel organized around relatively short-term projects. Fixed- 


term technical managers lead the projects. !02 


According to Fuchs, the DARPA approach introduces a form of technology policy 
in which government PMs “re-architect social networks among researchers so as to 
identify and influence new technology directions in the U.S. to achieve an organizational 
goal.”!03 DARPA emphasizes a horizontal process to achieve objectives and maintains 
autonomy that allows leadership within DARPA to guide portfolio decisions and 
allocation of resources. The DARPA model highlights an identity challenge for DHS 





99 Ibid. 


100 Peter Lee and Randy Katz, “Reenvisioning DARPA, ver. 6,” Computing Community Consortium, 
2008. 


101 Dugan and Gabriel, “‘Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems.” 


102 Ted Greenwald, “Secrets of DARPA’s Innovation Machine,” Forbes, February 15, 2013, 
http://www. forbes.com/sites/tedgreenwald/2013/02/15/secrets-of-darpas-innovation-machine/. 


103 Tid. 
53 


S&T to consider, whether its mission and objectives align more closely to DARPA’s 
skunkworks approach, or with the traditional R&D functions embedded within each of 


the DOD service organizations. 


D. DARPA: PROCESS 


In line with its position outside of the more traditional DOD R&D functions, 
DARPA DARPA projects do not “have to be tied to a specific need, and unlike grant 
agencies such as the National Science Foundation, it can fund risky ideas without going 
through peer review.” !94 DARPA counters this risk by ensuring quantitative milestones 
so that likely failures are identified as early as possible. By clearly defining projects, 
DARPA maintains flexibility. If a project is not meeting the goals or technical 
challenges, it is expected to adjust. The organization is open to goals being overtaken by 
new discoveries. Project leaders are empowered to revise goals and reallocate resources 
as warranted throughout the project. It reflects DARPA’s processes, as well as the 
emphasis on a flat organizational structure with decentralized decision-making 
authority.!95 With that said, a governance board process is used to make initial project 
approvals and to gauge progress periodically. While the linkage to specific user needs (in 
the case of DARPA the military) may not be as strong as other organizations, DARPA 
developed an approach to determining priorities. The Heilmeier Catechism, popularized 
by former DARPA Director George Heilmeier, can be found in use today in many 
organizations. Heilmeier’s catechism consists of the following questions to determine the 


impact of a potential project, presented in Table 6. 


104 Weinberger, “Defence Research: Still in the Lead?” 
105 Dugan and Gabriel, “‘Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems.” 


54 


Table 6. Heilmeier’s Catechism 


What problem are you solving, in plain English? 





How is the problem managed today, and what are the limits of that approach? 





If your solution is successful, what impact will it have? How will that impact 
be measured? 





What intermediate results will it generate to help determine whether it’s on 
track? 


What will it cost? 


When using the Heilmeier catechism, emphasis is often placed on “plain English” 
or “no jargon.” This emphasis can also be seen in the design-thinking process and the 
importance placed on communication and ensuring all individuals involved in a project 
have a shared understanding and commitment to a problem. In addition to “plain 
English,” design thinking also promotes the use of sketches and other tools to convey 
concepts visually and enable brainstorming. The Heilmeier Catechism emphasis on plain 
language, coupled with MindLab’s recruitment of communication specialists, provide 


examples for S&T to consider in adopting a design-thinking methodology. 


In 2008, Sharon Weinberger questioned the currency of the DARPA model. She 
argues that after 56 years, the DARPA model may warrant additional review and perhaps 
change. !06 However, Fuchs observes that DARPA has made adjustments over time. Prior 
to 2001, the DARPA PM’s processes centered primarily on academia. She notes that 


since 2001, DARPA PM processes shifted toward new idea centers originating from 





106 Weinberger, “Defence Research: Still in the Lead?” 
55 


industry and specifically start-ups, while also still including academia. Fuchs argues that 
an over analysis of the DARPA organization and processes may cause an observer to 
overlook lasting, informal institutions embraced by DARPA PMs.!°7 Colatat observes 
that a central understanding in DARPA is that innovation is a novel recombination of 
existing ideas and that collaboration increases the field of ideas and may introduce new 
ones. Collaboration also provides access to the range of skills necessary to complete a 
project.!°8 The collaboration culture within DARPA stands in contrast to DHS S&T, 
perhaps due in part to the relative newness of the DHS organization and its mission. 
While design thinking is not specifically cited within DARPA processes, problem 
definition, ideation, and prototyping run throughout the descriptions of DARPA’s 
processes. One aspect not highlighted by DARPA, but a centerpiece of the MindLab 
approach, is empathy with the end user. While DHS S&T should consider DARPA’s 
emphasis on collaboration and leadership within the R&D community, it should also 
balance any approach to adopt design thinking with a focus on the end user based on 


DHS S&T’s connectivity with DHS components and homeland security operators. 


E. DARPA: REWARD 


As highlighted by MindLab, identity and brand are important, and DARPA has 
created a strong identity and brand over the years. DARPA’s reputation and focus on 
ambitious and well-defined projects draws talent to DARPA.!9 The flexibility in 
identifying and executing projects ensures PMs’ interests are aligned with their work. An 
emphasis on quantitative project metrics, clear timeframes, and fixed term positions, PMs 
have a strong framework to execute against to achieve project goals, and in turn, the 
Agency’s goals. To adopt a design-thinking approach to problems, DHS S&T should 
consider its ability to commit to a series of projects. Building communities that cross 


disciplines to solve complex problems requires trust. Design thinking can be useful to 





107 Fuchs, “Rethinking the Role of the State in Technology Development: DARPA and the Case for 
Embedded Network Governance,” 1133-47. 


108 Phech Colatat, “An Organizational Perspective to Funding Science: Collaborator Novelty at 
DARPA,” Research Policy 44, no. 4 (2015): 874-87. 


109 Dugan and Gabriel, “‘Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems.” 
56 


build and maintain trust. It may behoove DHS S&T to identify projects that allow a PM 
the opportunity to involve stakeholders from project formulation until its logical 
conclusion and build research communities around a challenge of national significance. 
Using a consistent project framework with quantifiable metrics that incorporates design- 
thinking principles and empowers the PM, serves to align individual performance with 


the organization’s performance in developing and transitioning solutions to the HSE. 


F. DARPA: PEOPLE 


DARPA projects seek individuals who normally would not interact with one 
another to meet project objectives. A scientist may have many research avenues to 
pursue, while people in industry may encounter an aspect of the science needed for their 
application that hinders progress. Dugan proposes that including a diverse mix of 
individuals on projects teams produces an iterative cycle capable of breakthroughs in a 
short period of time.!!9 Colatat introduces the term “collaborator novelty” to describe this 
diversity, as it relates to innovative technological outcomes. He defines collaborator 
novelty as a tendency of DARPA-affiliated scientists to initiate work with scientists with 
whom they have not worked before. He agrees with Dugan that collaborator novelty is 
associated with novel combinations of ideas and knowledge resulting in innovative 
research outcomes. He cautions that novelty for the sake of novelty should be avoided, 
and collaboration should be steered toward priority areas.!!! This sentiment echoes 


Lukasik’s warning that DARPA maintain connectivity to national priorities. 


Fuchs’ observation that DARPA project managers “re-architect networks among 
researchers” to drive technology direction highlights DARPA’s reliance on its people.!!2 
PMs are embedded in the research community to understand emerging themes and match 


them to needs, connecting disconnected communities, and maintaining the perspective 





110 Dugan and Gabriel, “‘Special Forces’ Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems.” 


111 Colatat, “An Organizational Perspective to Funding Science: Collaborator Novelty at DARPA,” 
874-87. 


112 Fuchs, “Rethinking the Role of the State in Technology Development: DARPA and the Case for 
Embedded Network Governance,” 1133-47. 


Du: 


necessary to integrate activities across an ecosystem.!!3 DARPA’s people are consistently 
highlighted as key to its success in building research communities and solving problems. 
Describing the qualities that DARPA seeks in hiring, Schnitzer includes technical 
excellence but elaborates on qualities, such as confidence, dynamic range, sense of 
urgency, and a strong desire to make a difference.!!4 For DHS S&T to leverage the 
perceived success of DARPA, a DHS S&T workforce development strategy may balance 
or emphasize qualitative attributes, such as “likeability” espoused by MindLab with the 
confidence and sense of urgency sought by DARPA. Design-thinking principles, 
MindLab, and DARPA all recognize the importance of connecting with a diverse set of 


individuals to achieve ambitious goals. 


G. DARPA: SUMMARY 


Table 7 summarizes DARPA’s organizational model to understand how design- 
thinking methods are embedded within the organization to inform how DHS S&T could 


consider integrating similar practices within its organization. 


Table 7. DARPA Summary 


Strate Ambitious goals, temporary project teams, and independence; use-inspired basic research. 
gy g porary proj p 


Structure Skunkworks construct focused on collaboration and empowered project managers. 
Autonomy to identify projects and reallocate resources based on performance. 


Processes Goal driven with pre-defined quantifiable metrics. Flexibility to change course based on 
project results. Rely on communities of practices developed by DARPA project managers. 


Rewards Ability to shape projects based on professional interests. With defined project metrics and 
milestones, objectives are clear and aligned with the organization. Risk is encouraged and 
failure is tolerated to achieve breakthroughs. 


People Developed a brand to entice goal-oriented individuals. Clear expectations. Term 
employees create a sense of urgency. DARPA’s longevity and brand allows for a large 
network to recruit appropriate candidates. 


113 Ypid. 
114 Greenwald, “Secrets of DARPA’s Innovation Machine.” 


58 


After individually reviewing DHS S&T, MindLab, and DARPA’s organizational 
approaches to design thinking, Chapter VI provides a summary of the analysis. 


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VI. DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES ACROSS DHS S&T, 
MINDLAB, AND DARPA 


Chapter VI summarizes the design-thinking practices of DHS S&T, MindLab, and 
DARPA to allow for a comparison between the three organizations. This summary 
informs the framework and recommendations in Chapter VII for how DHS S&T can 


adopt a design-thinking approach to solve wicked problems. 


A. DHS S&T, MINDLAB, AND DARPA: DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES 
OVERVIEW 


Both MindLab and DARPA demonstrate organizational characteristics closely 
aligned with the design-thinking methodology. The two organizations were identified 
based on the literature review of public organizations using the tenets of design thinking; 
however, it was surprising to observe how closely the organizational characteristics 
aligned with design thinking, as neither organization overtly identifies with the design- 
thinking methodology. An additional surprise is how far the current DHS S&T 
organizational model, across the five Galbraith Star factors, veers from the basic tenets of 
design thinking. It indicates that DHS S&T should carefully consider how to incorporate 
design-thinking tenets using a holistic view of the organization to enhance its likelihood 
of success in applying the approach to identify problems and transition solutions to end 


users. 


B. S&T: DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES OVERVIEW 


DHS S&T finds itself reacting to priority shifts and emerging threats, and to 
continued questions regarding its success in executing impactful R&D projects. Chapter 
Ill highlights the broad mission, as well as the multiple, and sometimes conflicting, 
responsibilities DHS S&T executes. Whereas MindLab and DARPA strategies, 
structures, processes, and workforce enable to a design-thinking approach, DHS S&T 
requires a significant organizational shift to embrace design thinking throughout the 
organization that may not be feasible in the near-term. However, an incremental approach 


leveraging the principles of design thinking, could demonstrate proof of concept and 


61 


begin positioning DHS S&T to make immediate changes that can influence the long-term 


direction of the organization. 


C. MINDLAB: DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES OVERVIEW 


As noted in Chapter IV, MindLab provides practices and anecdotes that can 
inform DHS S&T’s integration of design-thinking methodologies within its own 
processes. MindLab has adjusted its strategy since its inception in 2002 to ensure it 
remains effective. This continual self-assessment is a valuable lesson for DHS S&T, as is 
MindLab’s acknowledgement that metrics and measures are important to support a 
periodic assessment an organization’s impact to inform its strategic direction. Metrics and 
measures also support the alignment of employee goals with organizational goals and 
provide an incentive framework for employees. MindLab has a rigorous process for 
soliciting, analyzing, and prioritizing projects before they are executed. This project- 
based process serves to align MindLab’s success with its customer’s success. This 
process deserves a review by DHS S&T as both organizations are uniquely situated to 
serve multiple government sponsors. MindLab highlights the importance of 
communicating its brand. To market and communicate an identity and brand, a clear and 
consistent mission, goals, and values are important. DHS S&T may want to revisit how it 
communicates its mission, goals, objectives, and values and organizational attributes 
recognizing that both MindLab and DARPA rely heavily on their identity and brand to 


manage expectations and to recruit best-in-class individuals to support their programs. 


D. DARPA: DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES OVERVIEW 


DHS S&T, specifically HSARPA, is frequently compared to DARPA. After 
completing the literature review and analysis, it is noted that the DARPA and DHS S&T 
missions, end users, and timescales are quite different; however, by using Galbraith’s 
Star model, particular elements of DARPA’s organizational construct are identified that 
may inform S&T’s future direction. DARPA operates outside of the day-to-day R&D 
operations within the DOD. DHS S&T is responsible for informing DHS acquisitions, 
coordinating R&D, and pursuing incremental innovation through R&D. While DHS S&T 
is not precluded in pursuing disruptive innovation, its budget, other responsibilities, and 

62 


focus on near-term transition of technology to operators makes it a difficult focus area. 
With that said, DHS S&T could benefit from DARPA’s practices by incorporating them 
within a revamped project construct. In addition, S&T could leverage DARPA’s strength 
in building communities of practice by working more closely with DARPA and 
leveraging DARPA projects to address homeland security challenges. Through a renewed 
emphasis on external networking and collaboration, DHS S&T projects could 
significantly benefit from disruptive innovation in partnership with other organizations 


like DARPA, as well as industry. 


E. SUMMARY OF DESIGN THINKING PRACTICES ACROSS DHS S&T, 
MINDLAB, AND DARPA 


Table 8 summarizes how DHS S&T (Chapter II), MindLab (Chapter IV), and 
DARPA (Chapter V) incorporate design-thinking elements within their organizations, 
organized by the five elements of Galbraith’s Star Model. 


Table 8. . DHS S&T, MindLab, DARPA Design Thinking Practices 


Summary 


Strategy Homeland security mission is 
broad. S&T responsible for 
laboratories and acquisitions in 
addition to R&D. Emphasis on 
high-level visionary goals and 
detailed technical road maps and 
incremental innovation. Values 
communicated in recent Strategic 
Plan but supporting 
organizational elements not in 
place. 


Structure Hierarchical with a large number 
of compartmentalized programs, 
initiatives, and processes without 
defined relationships and 
outcomes. Centralized authority 
and frequent changes in priorities 
due to breadth of homeland 


security mission and emerging 


Focus on wicked societal 
problems that are complex 


and open to interpretation and 


multiple solutions. Projects 
aligned with sponsors and 
scoped with stakeholders. 
Recognizes importance of 
communicating an identity 
and brand. 


Small and flat organization 
with empowered program 
and project managers. 
Limited number of projects 
executed each year. Project 
managers support multiple 
projects. 


63 


Ambitious goals, 
temporary project teams, 
and independence; use- 
inspired basic research. 


Skunkworks construct 
focused on collaboration 
and empowered project 
managers. Autonomy to 
identify projects and 
reallocate resources 
based on performance. 


Processes 


People 


Conflicting engineering focused 
workflows; not designed for 


wicked problems and not 


centered on end user or agile 


development. Funding not 


consistently aligned to priorities. 
Difficult to rapidly reallocate due 
to government budgeting process. 


Predominantly career civil 


service employees. Majority with 
a STEM profile. No strategic 
workforce development plan to 


align human resources and 


development with DHS priorities 


and processes. 


Emphasis on horizontal 
workflows and collaboration 
outside of the organization. 
Clear process for identifying 
and executing projects. 


Recruits competencies not 
common within the civil 
service. Understanding of the 
political process and how the 
public sector operates. 
Provide mix of skills 
necessary for a human- 
centered approach. 





Goal driven with pre- 
defined quantifiable 
metrics. Flexibility to 
change course based on 
project results. Rely on 
communities of practices 
developed by DARPA 
project managers. 





Developed a brand to 
entice goal-oriented 
individuals. Clear 
expectations. Term 
employees create a sense 
of urgency. DARPA’s 
longevity and brand 
allows for a large 
network to recruit 
appropriate candidates. 


The Chapter VI summary of design-thinking practices across DHS S&T, 
MindLab, and DARPA informs the proposed adoption framework for DHS S&T in 
Chapter VII. 


Vil. DHS S&T ADOPTION FRAMEWORK 


Informed by the case study summary in Chapter VI, Chapter VII proposes a 
framework to adopt a design-thinking process within DHS. The framework provides a 
holistic approach by using Galbraith’s Star Model to identify key organizational 
attributes for DHS S&T to consider. 


A. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: STRATEGY 


The design-thinking process is generally organized around the following steps: 
empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. The research and analysis shows success is 
most likely if the design-thinking process is used as a framework and customized to align 
with an organization’s strategy and culture. Hewing too closely to a formal or specific 
design-thinking process may squelch the very aspirations that cause an organization to 
seek a design-thinking approach to solution development. Based on the organizational 
assessment of S&T, broad change is needed to shift the culture toward a multidisciplinary 
collaborative user-centered approach to problem solving. With that said, DHS S&T 
released a new strategic plan in 2015.!!5 The plan specifically cites the importance of 
engaging with homeland security operators and industry to address challenges. The plan 
also speaks to building the next generation of homeland security professionals. A design- 
thinking approach could address and support the execution of the majority of priorities 
and goals within the strategic plan. Due to the amount of change necessary based on 
S&T’s current construct, it is recommended that design thinking be introduced 
incrementally within a select set of projects to demonstrate a proof of concept and inform 
its further adoption by the organization. This approach would affect the change necessary 
at an individual level to realize a shift in the broader organization referenced in the 


macro/micro universal law of change. !!6 


115 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Strategic Plan 2015-2019. 


116 Moghaddam, From the Terrorists’ Point of View: What They Experience and Why They Come to 
Destroy. 


65 


B. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: STRUCTURE 


A design-thinking principle is building multidisciplinary teams to engage with 
end users and partners to ideate around wicked problems. Based on a review of MindLab 
and DARPA, and the design-thinking literature, team building seems to occur more 
commonly in flat organizations with empowered PMs and leadership support, access to 
end users, and resources to execute a project and build a network. Innovation initiatives, 
such as design thinking, seem to flourish when they are applied in a “skunkworks” 
environment somewhat separated from normal business processes.!!7 DHS S&T may 
want to consider these lessons if it is interested in applying a design-thinking approach to 
projects. As noted in Chapter III, DHS S&T is not structured to embrace readily a design- 
thinking approach to problem solving; however, a series of recent initiatives designed to 
connect S&T staff with homeland security practitioners better may provide an 


opportunity to apply a design-thinking methodology. 


DHS S&T is establishing integrated product teams (IPTs) to provide a mechanism 
for the DHS operational components to organize around common functions. In addition, 
DHS S&T is exploring the concept of innovation centers to build stronger relationships 
with DHS components to support the transition of R&D projects and to pursue near-term 
solution identification (12-18 months) for emerging requirements.!!8 The IPTs, coupled 
with the innovation centers, may provide an opportunity to review emerging challenges 
and address them with newly formed teams that may be well positioned to apply a 
design-thinking approach. Use of newly established IPTs and innovation centers could 
provide for a proof of concept to confirm support for a design-thinking approach to solve 


problems within S&T and the DHS operational components. 


Alternatively, or in conjunction with the IPTs and innovation centers, DHS S&T 
could consider applying design thinking to “pop-up” initiatives built on emerging threats. 
These “pop-up” initiatives typically necessitate collaboration across disciplines and 


organizations to address complex issues quickly. Due to the urgent nature of these 


117 Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations. 
118 DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Strategic Plan 2015-2019. 
66 


requests, the solution approach is often architected by a select few individuals and 
managed by leadership, which Bason observes can be counterproductive.!!9 Design- 
thinking methods could change the approach to “pop-ups” and perhaps, improve the 


quality and support of solutions. 


C. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: PROCESS 


DHS S&T has introduced a series of new projects, initiatives, and processes to 
improve the quality, speed, and transition likelihood of its programs. While speed is 
important, and the organization is anxious to demonstrate delivery of impactful solutions 
into homeland security operations, it may want to consider the deliberation and trial and 
error often necessary to improve outcomes truly over the long-term and prepare to invest 
the time, attention, and resources. Another lesson from the design-thinking approach and 
the organizations reviewed is the need to develop and track metrics to gauge the impact 


of an effort. !2° 


MindLab and DARPA have created processes and workflows centered on 
collaboration and a flat organizational structure. Both organizations maintain a clear, 
transparent, and consistent process for identifying projects. Another key tenet of both 
organizations and the design-thinking literature is developing pre-defined metrics during 
the project formulation stage. Project management processes empower project leaders to 
adjust course and reallocate resources as necessary to meet project goals. The design- 
thinking process relies on failure to identify the best solution to a problem. MindLab and 
DARPA both embrace failure as part of the project process. These process observations 
could warrant a significant shift in how DHS S&T identifies and executes projects, and 
incentivizes the workforce if it desires to emulate practices of organizations designed 


around innovation-driven approaches to solution development. 


119 Carstensen and Bason, “Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?” 


120 Walters, “‘Design Thinking’ Isn’t a Miracle Cure, but Here’s How It Helps.” 
67 


D. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: REWARD 


DHS S&T performance plans tend to be centered on individual accomplishments. 
Without a clear set of priority projects, defined measures and metrics, and traceability to 
resources, it is difficult to align employee goals meaningfully to organizational goals. A 
renewed focus on strategy, structure, and processes could improve the incentive structure 
for employees. Collaboration, and an end user centric approach, could be incentivized 
rather than individual performance within performance plans. In addition to 
collaboration, MindLab and DARPA accept failure as part of the innovation process. To 
shift the culture, innovation-specific measures could be introduced to encourage 
employees to try new ideas and approaches to problem solving. As both MindLab and 
DARPA have established processes, both organizations are able to align employee 
success to organizational success. The case studies demonstrate that employee 
performance and incentives are entwined with other organizational elements, such as 
strategy, structure, and process. DHS S&T could consider a holistic approach in how it 
designs processes and incentivizes employees to build an evolving, creative, user- 


centered culture to solve problems. 


E. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: PEOPLE 


DHS S&T is predominately comprised of career civil service employees. This 
model is in contrast to MindLab and DARPA’s reliance on individuals from outside of 
the civil service. With over a third of federal employees expected to be eligible for 
collecting retirement benefits in 2017, DHS S&T has an opportunity to revisit its 
workforce development strategy to include its recruitment approach.!2! The majority of 
S&T’s project manager positions are centered on STEM expertise. Professional 
development planning is typically accomplished by the individual and focused on 
maintaining credentials in the current area of expertise rather than pursuing skills to 
improve collaboration with others outside their area of expertise to develop solutions. As 
a relatively new organization with a broad mission, DHS S&T does not have the strong 

121 Josh Hicks, “Fed-Worker Retirement Eligibility to Skyrocket by 2017, Report Says,” The 


Washington Post, January 30, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/01/30/fed- 
worker-retirement-eligibility-to-skyrocket-by-20 1 7-report-says/. 


68 


brand and identity enjoyed by MindLab and DARPA. This lack of identity may inhibit its 
ability to recruit the next generation of homeland security practitioners it seeks. Without a 
clear sense of strategy and transparent alignment of organizational factors, such as 
structure, processes, and rewards to the organization’s strategy, it can be challenging to 


manage expectations and recruit new employees, and fully utilize existing expertise. 


For design thinking to be successful, meaning and value should be created based 
on an understanding of the DHS S&T workforce. Moghaddam introduces the concept of 
interobjectivity defined as “understandings that are shared within and between cultures 
about social reality.”!22 By determining how the DHS S&T workforce applies meaning 
and value, mechanisms can be identified to promote the individual acceptance necessary 


to embrace a design-thinking approach. 


In summary, DHS S&T should consider the following factors, presented in Table 
9, to apply design thinking and initiate a new culture of innovation with DHS S&T. 


Table 9. DHS S&T Design Thinking Adoption Framework 


Strategy Revisit prioritization and project selection process. Emphasize value of 
collaboration and how design thinking can help with its execution. Set clear 
goals and objectives for the organization. Set-up skunkworks for “pop ups.” 
Emphasize design process rather than programs or organization to best align 
capabilities and expertise. Emphasize tech scanning and forecasting to 
understand where research and tech is going and help inform. 


Structure Consider a skunkworks approach to introduce design thinking. Wicked 
problems addressed through skunkworks and design thinking; more 
traditional and day-to-day operations can continue to run in parallel. 


Processes __ Establish a consistent and transparent processes to include priority setting 
and project selection and execution. Revisit the key tenets of design thinking 
and how they can be incorporated and emphasized within processes to 
support the DHS S&T Strategic Plan. 


Rewards Performance Plans should be designed around group or team goals focused 
on the impact of projects and programs on users (outcomes). Rethink project 


122 Fathali M. Moghaddam, “Interobjectivity and Culture,” Culture & Psychology 9, no. 3 (September 
1, 2003): 221-32. doi:10.1177/1354067X030093004. 


69 


and individual performance metrics to address innovation-related metrics, 
collaboration and acceptance of failure. 


People Leverage hiring authorities and establish workforce strategy, priorities, and 
recruitment methods to attract complementary skill sets. Look for a mix of 
individuals with the right personalities to bridge research domains. Have 
skunkworks opportunities be a perceived reward. Temporary rotations. 


F. DHS S&T DESIGN THINKING APPROACH: CONCLUSION 


Rather than a passing trend, an in-depth review of design thinking, coupled with a 
series of case studies, confirms the promise the approach could bring to DHS S&T. While 
DHS could purchase services from a few of the profile design-thinking practitioners, such 
as IDEO or Stanford, the promise of design thinking is its application to a particular 
problem, and how it could be integrated within an organizational culture to spur creativity 
in general. The DHS mission and stakeholder community is immense, and the threats and 
problems are innumerable. The makeup of the homeland security enterprise, and the 
complex nature of its problems, lends it to the methods and tools of design thinking. To 
support the homeland security enterprise, DHS S&T must be able to refine and improve 
tools and processes continually, think outside of traditional solutions, adapt quickly, and 
work across disciplines and geographic areas. A design-thinking model could impact 


projects immediately and positively shape the organization’s culture over time. 


DHS has an opportunity to use design thinking to synchronize initiatives and 
position it as a leader within the innovation space. Simons, Gupta, and Buchanan note 
that by adapting design-thinking insights and methodologies, an R&D organization 
stands to increase the speed, inventiveness, and vitality of their outputs and promote 
growth.!23 DHS S&T is building a series of programs to support its mission and this 
thesis proposes that a consistent process to link and leverage programs and expertise is 
available within the design-thinking approach. A strong and consistent relationship with 
end users and partners internally and externally has remained elusive for DHS S&T. A 


123 Simons, Gupta, and Buchanan, “Innovation in R & D: Using Design Thinking to Develop New 
Models of Inventiveness, Productivity and Collaboration,” 301-7. 


70 


design-thinking approach emphasizes innovation and ensures the end user is fully 
engaged throughout the process to inform an end result. By emphasizing the end use of a 
product or service, design thinking also holds the promise of improving DHS’s rate of 
technology transition and impact on the homeland security and resilience. While the 
research question focused on DHS S&T, it is hoped other organizations may be able to 
apply the practices captured within their own organizations. 


Our work is not the eradication of wicked problems but rather the hope 
and belief that we can do better. !24 


124 Allyson Hewitt, “Report on MindLab,” Canada: Social Innovation Generation, March 2012, 
http://sigeneration.ca/documents/MindLabReportMarch2012.pdf. 


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