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Published by Flavio Bernardotti
Stimulating Innovation in Naval Special Warfare by Utilizing Small Working Groups
Stimulating Innovation in Naval Special Warfare by Utilizing Small Working Groups

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Published by: Flavio Bernardotti on Aug 06, 2013
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11/03/2013

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Innovation within the military can take many forms -

doctrinal, strategic, tactical, technological, and

material. The definition of innovation for the purposes of

this thesis is the introduction of something new or

different that improves the operational capabilities of

SEAL platoons or Special Boat detachments to conduct

successful Naval Special Warfare missions.

Small working groups, as defined by this thesis, are a

small group of people (normally less than ten) who come

together to stimulate innovation within a larger,

bureaucratic organization. The small working group may be

a permanent group or it may disband after meeting its

objectives.

Why would a military bureaucracy need to utilize small

working groups to stimulate innovation? Lipman-Blumen and

Leavitt, co-authors of Hot Groups, believe that successful,

long-lived organizations are fast becoming very rare. They

state, "To cope with environmental turbulence,

organizations are trying to become much more nimble,

innovative and continuously self-modifying. They are also

much more willing to combine, subdivide, form alliances,

absorb pieces of one another and spin off pieces of

themselves. [Small working groups,] temporary and deft,

are a perfect fit for such volatile conditions." (Lipman-

Blumen and Leavitt, 1999, p. 74) In today's fast-paced

environments, small working groups help organizations cut

through red tape and excessive barriers to produce

innovation.

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