How we discovered the formula for innovation

Head of Futures, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence Read time: 3 mins
From the recent launch of SOC.OS as an independent company, to boosting efficiency with serverless technology, Matt Boyd, Head of Futures at Applied Intelligence, tells us how the Futures Team is disrupting the concept of innovation
How we discovered the formula for innovation blog Many of history’s ‘innovation defining’ moments have involved a slice of drama – from apples falling from trees, to the chocolate bar that melted next to a radar systems device (leading to the development of the microwave). 
These stories of inspired and sometimes accidental discovery have led many of us to associate innovation with creative or unexpected moments – a belief that has perhaps played a role in the development of beanbag breakout rooms from Silicon Valley to Shoreditch. 

Hunting problems, pushing boundaries

But the Futures Team has developed an innovation methodology that takes concepts from ideation through to market testing, to deliver business value at speed. And it’s an approach that works – our latest venture, SOC.OS, has just been spun-out as an independent company with £2million in funding from two top-tier cyber and deep tech venture capital partners.
While a lot of the solutions we build as an organisation are, naturally, developed with a specific customer issue in mind, in Futures the problem is never pre-supposed. We came out of an early ideation week having explored over 100 real and persistent problems in the cyber security operations space. These led to a set of new concept ideas which were then market tested and refined, then tested and refined again, weeding out those that gained less interest until we had just a small number of high potential concept ideas left.  It is from here that the early prototype of SOC.OS was first developed.
Like all of our ventures, it was put through its paces with rigorous piloting and market validation, winning early adopting customers such as the UK Atomic Energy Authority and The University of Sussex.  We’re so excited to watch it grow and flourish as an independent business.

Delivering benefits to BAE Systems customers

Our entrepreneurial attitude means that as soon as we establish there’s no longer a demand or market need for a concept, we’ll fail it fast and move our concentration to testing and developing the next. It’s all about reducing venture risk and increasing speed to market so that BAE Systems customers can quickly benefit from our work.  We’re really exploring a new way to create business value for our customers and for BAE Systems.
We’re currently investigating a number of exciting and important problem spaces. One area is the issue of analysis efficiency within entity and network search and risking. We are experimenting with secure serverless technology here to see how data analysis tasks can be vastly accelerated by taking them out of traditional environments.
Meanwhile, we are also honing in on the issues financial institutions face in effectively identifying specific types of financial crime in their transaction data, arguably the next step in the anti-money laundering challenge. This has led to the development of our Fincrime Testing Service, which simulates criminal behaviours – such as those synonymous with human trafficking – in synthetic data, allowing financial institutions to put their abilities to the test when it comes to spotting criminal typologies. It is currently being piloted by three banks in the UK and Europe.
Like many if not all Applied Intelligence employees, we are proud to say that our work has the potential to make a real difference to society, acting at the heart of the BAE Systems Applied Intelligence mission to protect nations and citizens from crime, terrorism and state conflict.
What’s more, all that we do, from helping to protect victims of human trafficking, to improving police forces’ abilities to process extreme layers of data, has been borne out of the Futures Team’s entrepreneurial approach to innovation.
About the author
Matt Boyd
Head of Futures at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

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Matt Boyd Head of Futures, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence 1 September 2020