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By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs
Ottawa, Ontario — The Canadian Army (CA)’s Chief of Staff for Operations, Brigadier-General M.A.J. (Jennie) Carignan, says senior officers must always be open to ideas from the ranks in order to ensure the organization is as innovative as it can be.
BGen Carignan offered this and other insights during her opening address at a conference on the subject of Innovation Methodologies for Defence Challenges, held in Ottawa from January 30 to February 1.
Featuring a wide range of speakers from both military and academic circles, the event was organized by the Centre for National Security Studies (part of the Canadian Forces College), Royal Military College Saint-Jean, and the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies.
Soldiers, BGen Carignan said, are naturally less inclined to question or criticize their orders in the interest of completing assigned tasks in a timely manner, but this approach “limits our knowledge and the more we act the less we know.”
The higher ranks are often viewed as the main source of knowledge and new ideas may get shut down when they come from lower ranks, she added.
“I would like to remind you that Charles Darwin was 22 years old when he developed the theory of evolution. Let’s remember ideas don’t necessarily come from age and experience. We need to allow a certain level of dissent and questioning of…