A social group’s ability to innovate is limited by its GRIN diversity, and the GRIN Model (Gadfly-Relational-Institutional-Negotiator) helps us to measure and manage that diversity. Thus, if you think the goal of the military is to dominate others, then you might expect the primary military application of the GRIN model would be to reduce enemies’ capacities to innovate, while defending one’s own.
However, the goal of the military should not be to conquer everyone else, nor merely to defend oneself; the goal of the military should be to mitigate the motives for war. In other words, the military and state departments share the same ultimate goal—the military is just more inclined to pursue it through technology. This is the greater application of the GRIN Model: It allows us to understand the causes of war, and to end them. That turns out to involve protecting and growing innovative capacity, especially among one’s enemies.
New concepts facilitate new science. This post will demonstrate how new science, which thus far confirms the GRIN model, corrects misconceptions which previously led to inferior strategies for resolving conventional warfare and terrorism. The post will then discuss how the GRIN model enables exploration and implementation of a potentially superior strategy for achieving the military endgame.
Conventional warfare and terrorism have different causes. The motive for conventional warfare resides in those of us who are natural negotiators (the ‘N’ of the GRIN model). The essence of a natural negotiator—his/her moral imperative—is to grow wealth and power. In business, we say we “grow market share,” and we represent that share as a slice on a pie chart. There are only two ways to grow a slice of the pie:
- Grow the entire pie through innovation, or
- Steal market share from competitors.
Conventional warfare is the process of engaging in this second strategy: stealing other’s share and preventing others from stealing your own.
It is unfortunate that people label this “greed” because the same motive—the growth motive—could instead grow the pie for everyone by advancing innovation; conventional warfare stems from a fundamentally good motive that is twisted by dysfunction in our innovation systems such that investment in competition becomes more rational than investment in innovation. If the dysfunction were repaired and investment in innovation were proven to be the more promising path towards growth, then conventional warfare would no longer be motivated. This is the ideal solution: All countries of the world innovating such amazing products and services that we all want to trade, rather than fight, with each other.
However, that is not the typical military response to conventional warfare today. Instead, the successful response has been to make investment in competition less attractive by raising its cost. This is a game of threats: Enemies do not expect to profit by attacking because they expect attacks to be met with retribution. This response doesn’t actually allow others to profit through innovation, but it works because it makes competition unprofitable.
Most people are not natural negotiators, so they are less inclined to base decisions on profit, and they underestimate this cause of conventional warfare. The naturally institutional, for example, allow institutions to guide their decisions. Assuming that their enemy thinks likewise, they blame war on institutions. By revealing that most people do not evaluate institutionally, scientific confirmation of the GRIN model reveals that any institution would be twisted to war. It shows us that blaming Islam or Communism or Capitalism merely distracts us from the real causes of war.
People who are naturally relational do not think in terms of profit either. They allow emotional bonds to guide their decisions. Assuming their enemy does the same, they expect to end warfare by building emotional bonds across borders. By revealing that most people do not evaluate relationally, the science confirming the GRIN Model shows that such bonds are not sufficient to prevent war.
Emotional bonding or destruction of contrary institutions could prevent war if everyone were forced to evaluate institutionally or relationally, but forcing everyone to think in the same ways would limit GRIN diversity. We may instinctively believe everyone should think like ourselves, but the GRIN Model demonstrates that all four types are interdependent, such that society benefits from GRIN diversity. Thus, the confirmation of this model helps us counteract that misleading instinct.
The motive behind terrorism is different from the motive behind conventional warfare. Terrorism is sustainable only because people are willing to suffer personal loss for the sake of an ideal. This motive resides in natural gadflies, rather than in natural negotiators. The moral imperative of gadflies is to rebel against misapplied power, against injustice, hypocrisy, ineptitude, and imperfection. Rather than aim for wealth and power, or the preservation of an institution, or love, they aim for the possibility of social progress. Most, if not all, institutions originated through some revolution built on this motive.
Recently, we have called such revolutions “terrorism” because we realize (with terror) that the typical military response to conventional warfare does not mitigate gadflies’ motive to war. In fact, the game of threats fuels terrorism. Gadflies are enraged when market leaders use threats to secure their disproportionate shares of the pie. Then terrorism allows negotiators to compete against market leaders indirectly—when a market leader is taken down by a terrorist, everyone else divvies the spoils—so disadvantaged negotiators compete (without retribution) by fostering an environment which promotes terrorism
Apple (when it was not the market leader) launched an advertising campaign appealing to natural gadflies: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
It actually is possible for market leaders to prevent natural gadflies from changing the world. However, not all natural gadflies will give up without a fight, so preventing world change ultimately requires waging a war against terrorism. Steve Jobs didn’t have to resort to terrorism, but not all gadflies are so fortunate—especially not gadflies in third-world countries dominated by first-world countries.
As with conventional warfare, the naturally institutional and relational misunderstand the motives behind terrorism, and the GRIN model can correct this misconception. Change is not central to the moral imperatives of non-gadflies, so they see no sense in the claim, “Terrorism is better than no change at all.” Non-gadflies assume this claim is insincere, uneducated, or insane, so they do not expect to be able to end terrorism by opening alternate avenues for gadflies to explore change. Scientific confirmation of the GRIN model reveals the fallacy of this assumption
Finally, the End of War!
The most significant application of the GRIN Model is to eliminate the motives for both kinds of war by making successful innovation easier. Successful innovation requires four activities:
- Generation of novelty,
- Discerning better innovations from worse,
- Sustenance of proven innovations, and
- Network localization.
Each GRIN-type specializes in one of these activities. Thus, innovation will be most successful where GRIN diversity is maintained. Thus far, the results of experiments which manipulate the composition of design teams have been consistent with this theory.
Societies need all four kinds of people. A society without gadfly evaluators would be dramatically less able to make paradigm-shifting innovations—it would get stuck in a rut. A society without relational evaluators would tend to consolidate its power, thus dramatically decreasing the number of potential innovations it could entertain at once. A society without institutional evaluators would be dramatically less able to retain successful innovations—it would have to keep reinventing the wheel. A society without negotiator evaluators would be dramatically less able to distinguish good innovations from bad—its facility for innovation would wander aimlessly.
The secret to achieving higher rates of useful innovation is to protect GRIN diversity as one would protect biodiversity in an ecosystem. At the most basic level, this involves measuring changes in diversity, and counteracting whichever conditions diminish it. Inevitably, protection of endangered types involves conditions less-favorable for other types, so types naturally conflict, and societies which do not value their diversity tend to become dominated by people of one type who force others “into the closet”.
When facing an enemy which suppresses is own GRIN diversity, the first step may be to educate that enemy about the benefits of GRIN diversity. Not only does protection of GRIN diversity lead to prosperity, but it is also compassionate and endorsed by enduring institutions. The second step is to demonstrate ways one can protect GRIN diversity—show how successful techniques of GRIN diversity management have been implemented in your own nation, companies, families, and in those of allies.
The military endgame will have been achieved once we all know that we are (and always will be) interdependent. That knowledge will lead those in power to empower others. Competition will be replaced with innovation. Thus, the ultimate military strategy is to accelerate the rate at which the GRIN model is encountered and tested. Tactically, that includes research, building consensus among researchers, curriculum development, translation, and distribution. Militaries already have competence with all of these tactics—it is just a matter of applying those competencies to general understanding of the motives behind war.
This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network