Frontier trained Green Berets on design thinking and systems analysis techniques before a recent deployment to Sub-Saharan Africa. The four-day course was co-taught with Motive International and conducted May 8-11th, 2017 at Fort Bragg, NC. Frontier’s CEO Alexa Courtney introduced the training audience to the mindsets of design and systems. She facilitated a systems mapping sprint to frame the complex dynamics and patterns of conflict driving instability in an African country. Using the tools of design thinking such as empathy interviews and persona development, participants then interviewed foreign nationals from that country to elicit their perspectives on drivers of instability. At the conclusion of the course, teams had completed a rapid conflict assessment, applied design thinking tools to partner interviews, practiced building personas of critical stakeholders in the conflict, and developed a provisional systems map visualizing key patterns of conflict and resilience in the country.

Ninety four percent of students rated the course “Excellent” or “Good” overall. And, nearly all students indicated in their final evaluations that the course considerably enhanced their strategic thinking ability and was highly relevant to their mission set. One participant noted “this course provided serious improvements in paradigm shift and planning efficiencies. It should be instituted in the PME [Professional Military Education] pipeline for SOF Operators mid career.”