From Art of Design by the School of Advanced Military Studies:
Our Nation continues to be engaged across a complex, dynamic, and ambiguous world in which situations are poorly understood and ready solutions are neither available nor anticipated. Moreover, what we see as apparent problems are often merely symptoms of deeper issues with their own dynamics and relationships. This is not a new phenomenon. The world has always been and will continue to be complex. The sources of novelty and complexity that we experience everyday are derivatives of technological revolutions and ideological influences that have driven adaptation for millennia.
These evolving dynamic factors affect existing cognitive processes and leadership approaches, which at times are proving to be inappropriate for contemporary complex problem solving. These continually emerging realities require adaptive leadership techniques, new strategic and tactical cognitive approaches, and organizational learning methodologies to keep pace with the multiple adversaries who are confronting our country. These lethal assemblages have a strategic perspective and are using asymmetric approaches to leverage the seam between traditional warfare and law enforcement activities of the United States and her allies. When faced with these challenges, commanders and leaders at all levels need to answer four fundamental questions to compete decisively in the future:
- What is the appropriate cognitive approach for 21st century warfare?
- How should one structure and lead adaptive organizational work?
- How should one structure and lead organizational learning?
- How can one communicate effectively in the 21st century?
Answering these questions requires reflection on alternative approaches to leadership; on constructing a cognitive framework for how to reason through complexity; on how to create an organizational learning system to decisively compete in the contemporary operating environment; and how to communicate the resulting understanding with others. Design is a strategic cognitive construct that directly confronts these challenges.