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News | July 10, 2017

Innovative Prototyping and Rigorous Experimentation (iP&rE): A One Week Course to Build Culture and a Cadre

By Albert Sciarretta, Steven Ramberg, Joseph Lawrence III, Andrew Gravatt, Paulette Robinson, and Mitchell Armbruster Defense & Technology Paper

Executive Summary

Defense & Technology Paper 108This DTP contains all of the course planning and curriculum content provided in the Final Report delivered to the sponsor of a pilot, one week course developed at NDU for the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Emerging Capability and Prototyping (DASD[EC&P]). The purpose for publishing this Defense and Technology Paper (DTP) is to make the material readily available to others who may benefit from our experience and wish to utilize the materials developed. 

The RRTO sponsored the Prototyping and Experimentation to Improve Acquisition (PEIA) course development as part of its efforts to model a more agile technology organization and meet the goals of the Defense Department’s Better Buying Power 3.0 (BBP 3.0) initiative. The pilot course focused on these ends: 

  1. Experimentation with a variety of prototypes as a means to explore new capabilities in a learning mode to inform future acquisition, but without necessarily leading to an acquisition program of record in all instances; 
  2. Achieve agile and affordable acquisition, based on the use of experimentation with prototypes, to define more robust requirements and to achieve greater technological maturity at the outset of formal procurement; 
  3. Develop a cadre of midgrade officers and civilians familiar with prototyping, experimentation, and critical thinking in these areas before arrival in positions of relevant responsibility within the Department; and 
  4. A growing and networked community of former students with online resources to support their future prototyping and experimentation efforts. 

This CTNSP DTP has been prepared primarily with the intent to enable future implementations of a short course on Innovative Prototyping and Rigorous Experimentation (iP&rE). The DTP provides an overview of the course, with a discussion of the educational approach, the outline for a one week presentation, an outline of each of the sessions in the course, and a discussion of student assessments. It also includes a proposed plan for the transition of the course and for its future offerings. The appendices include detailed information of the specific course materials as well as short biographies for the speakers.