Case study

Developing an emerging and disruptive technology assessment methodology

Our innovative approach, using MBSE, helped develop and validate an ‘engineered’ solution for performing assessments of emerging and disruptive technology.

Emerging and disruptive technologies present both significant opportunities and threats to the Australian Defence Force. The Emerging Threats and Technology Directorate (ETTD) was established in December 2020 to assess the maturity of defence’s understanding of and response to emerging and disruptive technologies, and to develop response options that mitigate threats and exploit opportunities. For this, the ETTD needed a documented methodology that comprised a thorough and repeatable process, as well as templated reporting products and assessment tools.

Frazer-Nash was selected to support ETTD with the development of the methodology due to our proposed novel approach using Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE). This process elicited ETTD’s needs, designed a process that satisfied the needs, and validated the methodology against the needs, while maintaining traceability between the needs, design, and validation within a model. Using an agile approach to develop the methodology, iterations were subjected to validation in the form of real-world assessments. The outcomes from the validations informed the following iterations.

The methodology was designed to efficiently capture and understand the impact potential of the assessed technology by gathering and collating the best available information with the least amount of effort in a timely manner. This enables the analysis of gaps, risks, and opportunities allowing the formulation and evaluation of potential response options. The methodology is based on the two pillars:

  • Timely and reliable analysis based on trusted and verifiable information; and
  • Purposeful response option development supporting risk-based decision making.

The templated reporting products enables ETTD to communicate assessments and their response options to key decision makers within defence. That enables informed decisions to direct defence to implement an enhanced response to emerging and disruptive technologies.

The methodology was delivered as an initial release that can be matured and adapted using the methodology’s process improvement framework. Combined with the ‘engineered’ model, this framework enables ETTD to evolve the methodology over time.

Graph of assessment pillars and phases