N Square brings new energy and a fresh approach to tackling one of the world’s wickedest problems: The deepening threat posed by nuclear weapons. The nuclear landscape is a jumble of many overlapping challenges, from political dilemmas to technological puzzles to conflicts between belief systems. We recognize the complexities without being daunted by them, employing a range of tactics to create conditions that enable new solutions, ideas, and partnerships.

We map opportunity and cultivate partnerships. N Square and our partners are pioneering the use of systems mapping to gain a top view of the entire nuclear problem space. We identify leverage points and opportunities for innovation, mapping connections so nuclear experts can see how their work relates to other issue spaces, and we sponsor projects that strengthen the field and advance creative problem-solving. We act as strategic matchmakers, facilitating opportunity-rich connections, often among organizations and individuals that would never otherwise connect.

We build capacity and foster esprit de corps. We introduce nuclear experts and cross-sector partners to new ways of working—including design thinking, rapid prototyping, and more—in order to shake loose new ideas and encourage bold thinking. Keen on improving field effectiveness, we offer both an in-depth Innovation Fellowship and a range of shorter skill-building courses on design, systems thinking, storytelling, and problem-solving. Much like a public square, we create accessible, inviting spaces where shared community is fostered and diverse groups converge. From brown bag lunches to “nuclear mixers,” and other interactive conversations and events, we create opportunities for like-minded experts inside and outside the nuclear space to connect, learn from one another, and form relationships, inspiring a new level of cooperation and esprit de corps.

We advance strategic foresight. Because we believe that futures thinking is a core competency for anyone looking to tackle wicked problems, we train our network members in horizon scanning, scenario planning, and other essential tools of strategic foresight. We connect the nuclear field with a diverse community of futurists highly practiced in imagining and evoking narratives about the far side of major structural change. We actively use these tools ourselves to articulate a more compelling, ambitious, and optimistic vision for a future beyond nuclear weapons while specifying the types of innovation and engagement it will require.