Security Jam

Published Apr-15-10

Solving international security issues via open innovation. A huge online jamming session results in a number of key recommendations for EU and NATO leaderships.

Security and Defence Agenda, Belgium

The Story:

Security Jam Open innovation brokers accelerate the innovation process by linking solution seekers with providers, offering technical know-how, and organising open innovation contests and online jams that bring different levels of expertise to bear on long-standing problems.

Security Jam

In February 2010 the Security Defence Agenda, a Brussels-based security and defence think tank organised an open innovation jam to discuss, debate and come up with ideas and action plans to deal with threats and potential threats to global peace and security.

The threats facing the planet at the end of the first decade of the 21st century are different from those at the end of the 20th century. This prompted defence experts and stakeholders to venture beyond the conventional means of soliciting input to discuss the issues with a broader knowledge base. The aim was to provide fresh input into strategy reviews that were being undertaken by major security players.


The online international brainstorming session was held over five days, and was open to defence and security experts as well as non-specialists from all over the world. It received high-powered support from NATO and the European Commission. “This is an excellent opportunity for NATO to get fresh new ideas,” said Jean-François Bureau, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy. “We will be online taking an active part in this debate, and we are looking forward to discussing ideas with experts and citizens alike.”

Global Challenges Require Global Solutions

Over 100,000 logins were made from 124 countries across seven continents. Many VIPs also took part including military commanders, admirals, ambassadors, and a former NATO Secretary General.

The jams took place in ten on-line discussion forums that were moderated in real-time by experts in their field. Each forum homed in on a key security issue.

A number of key issues and problem areas were talked about including Afghanistan, climate change, human rights, relations with Russia and China, and piracy security.

Significant Turning Point

That security chiefs decided to turn to open innovation as a way of solving such important global security issues is a significant turning point. It could provide a model for future problem solving in this arena as the Security Defence Agenda acknowledges:

“If there's one question that it {the Security Jam} raises amongst all others, it is what can civilians contribute to shaping global security in the 21st century? More importantly, it asks what will be the role of civilian groups and individuals in defining, influencing and helping carry out the security policies we need to make the world safer, and to ensure all our futures."

Solutions can Come from Anywhere

Even top military brass and world leaders don’t have all the answers and the culmination of the ambitious and innovative debate was a set of 10 recommendations that were presented to EU and NATO leaderships.

One of the strongest recommendations is that NATO and the EU should nurture a civilian approach to security policy by consulting civilian actors such as NGOs before and during military operations. Another proposal is for the establishment of a UN-managed International Crisis Preparedness Fund that would set aside five per cent of all donations to crises for future disaster preparedness.

Other ideas include the creation of a European Security Academy where civilian and military staff can train and work together for global and regional security and the establishment of an inventory of scarce natural resources, with a mandate to protect them for future generations.

Share on      
Next Story »

What Can we Solve for You?