Technology, Innovation, and Modern War – Class 17 – Organizational Design – Safi Bahcall


This post is by steve blank from Steve Blank


We just held our seventeenth session of our new national security class Technology, Innovation and Modern WarJoe FelterRaj Shah and I designed a class to examine the new military systems, operational concepts and doctrines that will emerge from 21st century technologies – Space, Cyber, AI & Machine Learning and Autonomy.

Today’s topic was Organizational Design and Modern War. And Finals Prep.

Catch up with the class by reading our summaries of the previous sixteen classes here.


This was our next -to-last class. While this class focused on the impact new technology and operational concepts and modern war, we thought it was important to have our students understand the organizational and cognitive barriers that make adopting new technologies difficult. Our guest speaker was Safi Bahcall,author of Loonshots.

The pre-class assignment was to watch Safi’s video about Loonshots.

In addition to our speaker, today was presentation prep day for our students’ final papers. We met with all the teams and reviewed their final summaries. (A description of their final assignment follows the summary of Safi’s presentation.)

I’ve extracted and paraphrased a few of Safi’s key insights and urge you to read the entire transcript here and watch his video.

Invention versus Innovation
As I’ve been sitting in the back of the class for the last couple of months, I’ve seen great speakers on strategy, on technology, on invention. I’m using the word invention deliberately — not innovation — because invention and (Read more…)