Innovation grows exponentially when members of community come together and apply their collective thoughts and experiences to problems in new and unconventional ways.

This process is best facilitated by a mix of divergent thinking and open discussions. Successful conversations are devoid of judgment and leverage “Yes, and…” thinking. Great innovations gain steam in coffee houses, bars, and conference rooms over pizza.

That’s why we created local DEF groups, which follow the Greek Agora model: “a gathering place or assembly” and “the center of city life”. Ideas need nurturing and cultivating. In a similar vein, DEF offers a place for our members to gather in person to discuss emergent issues. It is an open forum for conversation, thought and action.

DEF is where innovators meet to discuss new ideas and develop the networks to carry them out. Local events take the momentum and relationships developed at the national DEF conference or regional DEFx events, giving structure to local innovation, as well as access to a national network of like-minded individuals.

Events range from just a few individuals to a great many more and generally last for at least a couple of hours over dinner or drinks. One of the most popular formats is the eponymous Drink & Think, where freeform discussion and choice beverages are enjoyed in tandem. Topics and format are left at the discretion of local leadership, but the purpose is always one of mutual support in a community passionate about DEF’s mission of promoting a culture of innovation in the national security community.

Ideas for an event include:

  • Conversation about a recently-published or influential book
  • Formal debate over the future of unmanned and autonomous warfare
  • Discussion about a controversial article on talent management in the government
  • A whiskey tasting with commentary on organizational change management

Each local group has a team of leaders who coordinate and plan events. For more information about any of the local DEF communities or how to start a new one, please contact us. See below for upcoming event details, click here for past events and feel free to share with friends!