Squadron Leader Murray Simons

Squadron Leader Murray Simons

Visiting Military Fellow

BSc (Psychology) -Auckland University, NZ

Diploma of Teaching (Secondary School) - Christchurch College of Education, NZ

Master of Education (Adult Ed) - Canterbury University, NZ

Master of Management (Defence Studies) - Canberra University, Australia

Master of Arts (Strategy and Policy) - University of New South Wales. Australia

Post Grad Diploma in Defence Studies - Massey University, NZ

Doctor of Education - Massey University, NZ

Master of Philosophy (currently enrolled) - University of Queensland, Australia

UNSW Canberra
Admin - Rectors Office

Murray’s cognitive psychology pedigree began in the 1980s but evolved over the decades to include an eclectic mix of other military-related disciplines. After serving nearly 30 years in the New Zealand Defence Force, he transferred to the Royal Australian Navy, and is now an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. Regardless of uniform or posting, Murray remains passionate about helping others to realise their potential.

Seven years of teaching at staff colleges provided him with ample opportunity to observe mid-career officers struggle making the step-change from transactional thinking to transformational designing. For many students, this transmogrification from caterpillar to butterfly remains unnecessarily challenging, yet Murray is convinced they are victims of a system that over-enthusiastically conditions junior officers to remain predictable through templated linear thinking processes. Thus—although accepting cognitive agility might be genetically capped—there is no excuse for militaries artificially constraining their decision makers to levels below their potential.

At the heart of Murray’s philosophy is the deep belief that design thinking is a verb not a noun. For him, pushing past the sugar-rush of awareness activities into sustained employment of design thinking epistemologies (vice ontologies) has the potential to mitigate heuristically acquired cognitive biases.

Murray’s current research area, therefore, is not just championing wider employment of military design thinking but pushing it down to lower rank levels. With several related book chapters in play, his main effort is a research thesis on the cognitive affordance of epistemic devices.

One Day, or Day One? ...you decide.


+61-408 484 936
Building 28, Office 219


Learning and Development Award (2010) - New Zealand Association for Training and Development

Cognitive Psychology

Adult Education, Professional Military Development

Innovation, Cognitive Agility, Intellectual Edge, Design Thinking,

Air and Space Power,


Decision Making,