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Solving Homeland Security's Wicked Problems: A Design Thinking Approach

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The Department of Homeland Securitys Science and Technology Directorate DHS S and T requires a consistent yet flexible approach to address wicked problems. A design-thinking methodology holds promise, as its tenets align with the diversity and complexity inherent within the homeland security environment. Design thinking emphasizes a human-centered and multidisciplinary approach to solution development. The research examined how design thinking is used to solve problems, S and Ts current approach to solving problems, and how other public organizations are using a design-thinking methodology. Denmarks MindLab and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA informed a framework for how DHS S and T could adopt a design-thinking approach. The analysis and framework were organized around Galbraiths Star Model. The conclusion is that a design-thinking approach requires a significant shift in how S and T executes research and development R and D. This shift can strengthen the dialogue necessary between S and T, homeland security practitioners, and nontraditional DHS partners to spur solutions. This thesis provides a framework for how S and T can incorporate design-thinking principles that are working well in other domains to tackle homeland securitys complex problems.

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