Feedback on Useful fiction events


“…One of the best development programs I’ve experienced in over 18 years in both SOF and Army Strategist career fields.”
– Attendee of workshop for SOCOM

“A method to introducing highly engaging change methodologies….The Useful Fiction workshop sought to describe capability options within a compelling conceptual narrative, by blending narrative and non-fiction elements in a persuasive, tangible, practical, and accessible manner….The workshop was extremely engaging, with very positive feedback received from all participants. As hosts and moderators, Singer and Cole, were highly effective in drawing out contemporary lessons, observations, insights and in linking discussions.  The workshop helped participants to build narrative outlines, tear apart the central idea, and bring it together through engaging prose. It changed the way participants might pitch ideas for decision makers…. Participants gained skills not just in narrative, but also in research, analysis forecasting, foresight, and communication.”
– Major General Andrew Roe CB, Chief Executive and Commandant of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom

“…The content was thoroughly engaging, whether it was discussions with the authors themselves, engagements with Hollywood executives, or hands-on assignments meant to teach the skills of creative writing and FICINT. Highly recommend to any program seeking top notch instruction that boosts the creativity and passion of their students.”
– Drew Wagstaff, Director of US Air Force “Blue Horizons” Center for Strategy and Technology

“It was great, exactly what I was looking for. It really captured their attention and created a great energy.”
– Commandant of the  RAF Tedder Academy of Leadership 


Feedback on Useful fiction ViSUALizations

“Useful Fiction makes facts compelling.”
– Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC), United Kingdom

“I am sure you will find their stories enthralling and inspirational.”
Professor Dame Angela McLean – Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence

“The work, in my view, is exceptional.”
President, Joint Special Operations University

“To drive home the importance of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s recommendations, we wanted to make sure the reader fully understood the potential consequences of inaction. Singer and Cole built a compelling scenario that set the tone for the Commission’s report, making the stakes clear to every reader.”
– Rep. Mike Gallagher, Co-Chairman of Cyberspace Solarium Commission

“…Helps us put ourselves in very different situations and think practically about how to win when ‘There is no spoon’!”
– Air Marshal Ian Gale, Royal Air Force

“What an amazing story you create for the future operational scenario. After reading just the first two paragraphs, I immediately jumped up to go show it to my co-workers. They were equally excited and asked to get a copy of their own to read!”
– Director, Strategy Policy and Planning Division, Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation


Coming out of the world of policy and journalism, Useful Fiction™ started with its co-founder’s collaborative novel, Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. Bringing together narrative and nonfiction, it explored topics that ranged from realistically assessing the risks of great power conflict to supply-chain security issues. It became a best-selling book, that was also placed on the official reading lists of nearly every military and intelligence agency for its real world insights.

Yet, the project also drove real world change in a way that traditional formats were not usually able, leading to the concept of FICINT. The team was asked to brief its lessons at locations that included the White House Situation Room, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Fortune 500 C-suites and investment leader retreats, and multiple testimonies to Congress, as well as engagements in support of over 75 different Department of Defense and Intelligence Community offices and units like the 82nd Airborne, the Naval Submarine Forces, and Joint Special Operations Command.  The book’s insights were subsequently woven into everything from the Marine Corps “Ghost Fleet” wargames and the establishment of the “Marine Information Group” concept to the Navy’s $3.6 billion “Ghost Fleet” autonomous warship program. 

The team followed this up with the “AI Visualized” project, which used the novel format and extensive research to explore how new technologies like AI, automation, and the Internet of Things will be applied in reality and the security, political economic, social, legal, and moral dilemmas they will cause. Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution (2020, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) received endorsements from the current or former heads of NATO, U.S. Navy, US Marines Corps, Special Operations Command, CIA, NSA/Cyber Command, Canadian Army, etc. (Full list at:

Here again, the form proved well suited to surfacing new insights, reaching new readers, and informing leaders in manner beyond the typical white paper or powerpoint. The authors were invited to share the project’s lessons with leaders who ranged from multiple heads of state, including the US president, as well as Cabinet members, 4-star generals, US Senators, Fortune 100 C-suites and leading venture capitalists. The locations spanned three continents and ranged from aircraft carriers to the Nobel Institute in Oslo. 

Consulting and Subject Matter Expertise

Executive Education Short Courses

FICINT: Bespoke Creation of Audience Targeted Narratives

Creating dynamic narrative vignettes