NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Innovation Challenge Competition Showcases Ground-Breaking Innovations

November 14, 2023

The NATO Innovation Challenge competition emphasized this year’s theme on military mobility. The competitive event is an opportunity for industry and intellectuals from all Allied Nations to pitch their modern initiatives and innovations to effectively contest Alliance-wide challenges.

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – The NATO Innovation Challenge, co-organized by NATO Allied Command Transformation and the Ministry of Defence of Slovenia, featured its pitch day where visionaries presented their concepts on stage and competed for their solution-based innovations with goals to support NATO’s future operational needs, Nov. 13-14.

Launched in 2017, the Innovation Hub from the Capability Development Branch initiated the Innovation Challenge in response to the growing need for academia, industries, start-ups, and individuals to provide innovative solutions to various NATO challenges.

The Innovation Challenge aims to provide solutions to drive future capability development; innovate in solution development; assist NATO and nations in maintaining a competitive edge; engage with non-defence and non-traditional actors; and expand NATO networks and collaborations.

The focus of this year’s Challenge was on military mobility. NATO was seeking innovative ideas, concepts, and solutions for military transportation planning, interoperable monitoring, and efficient planning applied throughout the Trans-European Transport Network.

During the pitch day, a panel of judges evaluated the submitted proposals and pitches based on the degree of innovation, impact potential, and implementation feasibility. Eleven finalists presented their solutions live or via audio-video connection, including companies from Poland, the United States, France, Germany, Estonia, and Canada.

Emerging victorious, the first-place position was secured by Yarded from Germany. Their ground-breaking approach showcased unparalleled ingenuity and a remarkable vision that surpassed all expectations. Yarded’s innovative solution stood out, capturing the essence of the challenge and offering a pioneering perspective.

Taking the prestigious second-place position was BAH Tech Infusion from the USA. Their remarkable achievement highlighted a solution that exhibited exceptional promise and technological finesse, earning widespread acclaim from the jury.

Completing the podium in a well-deserved third place is Deloitte from Canada. Their innovative contributions brought forth commendable advancements, marking their commitment to excellence and creativity in addressing the challenge.

The top winners of the NATO Innovation Challenge will receive monetary awards, as well as potential support in the development and implementation of relevant solutions.

The journey of this Innovation Challenge has been a testament to the power of innovation, fostering collaboration, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Participants from around the globe showcased their talent, dedication, and resourcefulness; the impact of these innovative solutions will continue to resonate, inspiring future endeavors and pushing the frontiers of innovation across diverse domains.

The closing event was addressed by the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Robert Glavaš, and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne. Lieutenant General Glavaš emphasized the importance of innovation and developing new digital solutions for better preparedness in a constantly changing security environment, as well as the importance of cooperation between civilian and military actors in providing them. General Lavigne spoke about the importance of the competition for maintaining advantages in all domains, with effective logistics support being an important link. He also summarized the solutions to innovation challenges that are already being used in the Alliance.

The NATO Innovation Challenge features two iterations per year, and serves as a brainstorming process and platform to address Alliance-wide challenges. Congratulations to all participants for their exceptional efforts, and a heartfelt applause to the winners for their outstanding contributions, shaping the future through their innovative endeavors.