Warfare Innovation Workshops

The Naval Postgraduate School Warfare Innovation Workshop is an innovation engine leveraging our strength – our operationally experienced students and defense-expert faculty – to address complex fleet issues and discover opportunities available through emerging technologies. Primary activities in NWSI Concepts are workshops and field experimentation.

  • WARFARE INNOVATION CONTINUUM (WIC) WORKSHOP: This four day workshop addresses a complex military problem space through a near future scenario-based, facilitated human-centered design process. NPS students and faculty are joined by guests from allied nations, DoD commands, warfare centers, academia and industry.
  • WARFARE INNOVATION WORKSHOP: This three day workshop addresses a complex military problem space of interest to a key DoD stakeholder. NPS students and faculty may be joined by guests from allied nations, DoD commands, warfare centers, academia and industry.
  • EXPLORATION WORKSHOP: This two day workshop supports a specific request and is scheduled as needed. NPS students and faculty may be joined by guests from warfare centers, academia and industry.  
  • DESIGN SPRINT: This activity usually runs one to three days, usually supports an NPS course or curriculum, and only includes NPS students and faculty.

Beginning in 2009, these NPS rapid concept generation activities have emerged in several different forms and formats such as the annual Warfare Innovation Continuum (WIC) Workshop. In the annual WIC Workshop small teams of early career engineers from industry, Navy labs, and academia join junior officers from NPS and other commands with diverse perspectives and experience to respond to a design challenge. Teams brief their best three or four concepts to sponsors, industry executives, and senior officers on the final morning of the workshop. These workshops have addressed maritime topics of interest such as countering self-propelled semi-submersibles and other maritime irregular challenges, undersea warfare, hybrid warfare in littoral environments, electromagnetic maneuver warfare, distributed maritime operations, cross-domain operations, logistics, and national resilience.

NWSI Concept Branch Events: event pages for recent and upcoming workshops are hosted on the NPS Events Portal. Registration is accessible for all eligible pariticipants on the left navigation bar for each available event, and the Resource tab will store the workshop materials and final report for participant reference. The Program tab will display a schedule to give a sense of the event, and the Guide for Guests will share logistics details if the event is available to non-NPS participants.

Concept Generation

With a curated overview of a complex military problem space, facilitators guide the teams through a rapid concept generation process. From one overarching design challenge, each team frames their own way into a complex military problem space, generate concepts, and share their best ideas for further development. Selected concepts often seed NPS student theses, NPS faculty research, and partnerships with others in the warfare centers, academia and industry. Many concepts are further developed through prototyping and testing in field experimentation.  

Tools of Human-Centered Design

Workshops use tools of design to generate concepts rapidly.  This video describes our process.

NWSI Facilitator Corps

In response to the ever increasing demand signal for guided exploration of complex military problem spaces, the NWSI Concepts Branch needs to grow our "bench" of trained facilitators. We hope to offer a training opportunity every six months, and are gathering in person and on MS Teams once a month to formalize our community. If you have interest in adding to your human centered design toolkit please join us!
  • MARCH 2024: we held our first "Facilitation Garage" and hope to open the garage for regular tinkering sessions to brush up on facilitation skills. Watch this space!
  • NOVEMBER 2023: official launch of the NWSI Facilitator Corps. We have monthly "synch" meetings so reach out if you'd like be added to the Corps (wiw@nps.edu)!
  • FEBRUARY 2023: NWSI offered our first facilitator training with the NavalX Center for Adaptive Warfighting (CAW). Click here for more information - view recorded sessions and access materials!

Recent Workshops

Integrated Naval Campaigning

18-21 September 2023

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DESIGN CHALLENGE: How might the confluence of new technologies provide opportunities for new operational concepts in executing integrated naval campaigning across the full Spectrum of Conflict?

Future Hybrid Force

19-22 September 2022

DESIGN CHALLENGE: "How might the convergence of emerging technologies offer new operational concepts and force designs to create
a more effective and resilient naval, joint, and coalition force across the spectrum of conflict and in all domains?"

Teams engaged in the rapid concept generation process using tools of human-centered design, and these seeds of ideas will inform class projects, thesis work, and research across the NPS campus throughout FY23.

Workshop Outcomes

Read the WIC Executive Summary to learn about all the research and education activities produced over FY22-23.

Nimitz Research Group Warfare Innovation Workshop

Nimitz Research Group Workshop 

21-24 March 2022 


DESIGN CHALLENGE: “How might U.S. Pacific Fleet preserve the balance of power and, if necessary, defeat a near peer adversary in the Western Pacific?” 

Quick Look Report available here - full report will be linked once complete.

Small teams of junior officers explored this future problem space and generated concepts of operations and employment to benefit the future Fleet. This warfare innovation workshop explored four key focus areas:

  1. Present combat power – maintain a highly capable Fleet/FMF in a high state of readiness
    • How might activities such as exercises, tests, and demonstrations exhibit capability and capacity, actual and/or perceived?
  2. Strengthen alliances – deepen trust-based relationships and interoperability with partner nations
    • How might INDOPACOM improve cooperative efforts (bi-lateral and multi-lateral) with critical partner nation militaries in the western Pacific via policies, procedures, and technologies?
  3. Improve posture – provide an adversary an unpredictable, complex, and confusing operational view and targeting problem
    • How might commanders array their forces in a way that presents an adversary with a formidable but confusing view of U.S. and Partner capability, capacity, and intent?
  4. Integrate information operations – dominate the fight for information across the three dimensions of the information environment (physical, informational, and cognitive)
    • How might emerging technologies, activities, and new models of understanding “human system integration” enhance a combatant commander's ability to shape the Information environment in order to compete with adversaries below the threshold of armed conflict?

Workshop Outcomes

WIC Workshop 2021 "Hybrid Force 2045"

"Hybrid Force 2045" Workshop

20-23 September 2021


DESIGN CHALLENGE: How might emerging technologies, new operational concepts, and alternative fleet designs contribute to a more effective naval force across the spectrum from competition to conflict?  How do the alternative fleet designs enhance the effectiveness and resilience of joint, combined and coalition forces across all domains?

This workshop was held as a Naval Postgraduate School Thesis & Research Week activity to apply emerging technologies to shape the way we fight. Nearly 130 participants served on one of six Concept Generation Teams, offered their services as a Mentor, or participated as an Observer.

Workshop Outcomes


See the Warfare Innovation Workshop Report Archive currently available through the CRUSER website for access to available reports.