Innovation Day 2023

Innovation Day 2023

Innovation in defense industries in a context of geopolitical tensions

Date : 7th June 2023
Location : ENSTA Institut polytechnique de Paris | (Paris)

➡  Link to the event’s website

➡  Link to the program

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  • Research Network on Innovation
  • Research Center of the Ecole de l’Air et de l’Espace
  • Interdisciplinary Center for Defense and Security Studies – Polytechnic Institute of Paris
  • Chair of Defense Economics – Institute of Higher National Defense Studies
  • Institute of Strategic Research of the Military School
  • Economic Observatory of Defense – Ministry of the Armed Forces
  • Applied Economics Unit – ENSTA Paris


The traditional approach to innovation in mass consumer product industries does not lend itself easily to the study of innovation dynamics at work in complex systems industries. These systems are indeed produced in small series for specific customers who initiate production by formulating an order or expressing a need. In practice, complex product systems are comparable to infrastructure and/or high-tech goods with a high life cycle and unit acquisition cost. The development, production, commissioning and maintenance of these systems require specialized skills, often at a high level and distributed between different categories of actors integrated within extended value chains.

Defense industries are major contributors to the production of complex product systems for civilian and military users. Because they contribute significantly to the production of innovative goods, services, technologies, processes, standards and organizations, they are a privileged object of study for economists, managers, sociologists, political scientists, historians, lawyers, engineers and human factors specialists.

While the management of innovation in these industries remains deeply rooted in the collaboration between academic, industrial, institutional and military actors, this community is now facing new challenges. On the one hand, the economic models and strategies of private and public actors supporting this innovation have evolved in response to changes in defense and security policies and military doctrines. On the other hand, increasing competition between nations and between companies, as well as transformations in the cognitive and technological landscape, have redefined the way actors organize themselves to develop new capabilities.

More fundamentally, recent research has shown that the cognitive foundations, sources and user needs of these innovations have changed profoundly over the last two decades. These innovations are indeed dual-use, science-intensive, and often developed outside the traditional boundaries of Defense Industrial and Technological Bases (DITBs). Moreover, the recent invasion of Ukraine by the military forces of the Russian Federation has brought to the forefront the importance for the political decision-maker to have credible military capabilities in order to establish his autonomy of decision and the sovereignty of his country. However, to achieve this objective of sovereignty, innovation must be considered in all its forms and in many sectors related to defense (energy, telecommunications, electronics and IT, transportation, etc.).

The Innovation Day 2023 aims to provide a space for interdisciplinary dialogue between researchers and practitioners to present these different challenges and transformations. It is organized around three key moments:

A key speaker to put these issues into perspective;
A round table discussion on current geopolitical tensions and the consequences they may have for innovation in defense;
Workshops presenting the work of young researchers in social sciences in the field, innovation projects carried out by the DTIB, and historical perspective on the links between conflicts and innovations.

All these moments will be open to debate with the participants of the Day.

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