ArchiveOODA Original

OODA On Corporate Intelligence In The New Age

We strongly encourage every company, large or small, to set aside dedicated time to focus on ways to improve your ability to understand the nature of the significantly changed risk environment we are all operating in today, and then assess how your organizational thinking should change.

As an aid to assessing your corporate sensemaking abilities, this post summarizes OODA’s research and analysis into optimizing corporate intelligence for the modern age. The content below is informed by decades of experience in intelligence and is also informed by interviews of world class experts and corporate leaders. We arranged this list in rough order of recommended review:

  • A Practitioner’s View of Corporate Intelligence: Organizations in competitive environments should continually look for ways to gain advantage over their competitors. The ability of a business to learn and translate that learning into action, at speeds faster than others, is one of the most important competitive advantages you can have. This fact of business life is why the model of success in Air to Air combat articulated by former Air Force fighter pilot John Boyd, the Observe – Orient – Decide – Act (OODA) decision loop, is so relevant in business decision-making today.
  • Useful Standards For Corporate Intelligence: Discusses standards in intelligence, a topic that can improve the quality of all corporate intelligence efforts and do so while reducing ambiguity in the information used to drive decisions and enhancing the ability of corporations to defend their most critical information.
  • Optimizing Corporate Intelligence: Actionable recommendation on ways to optimize a corporate intelligence effort. It is based on a career serving large scale analytical efforts in the US Intelligence Community and in applying principles of intelligence in corporate America.
  • An Executive’s Guide To Cognitive Bias in Decision Making: Cognitive Bias and the errors in judgement they produce are seen in every aspect of human decision-making, including in the business world. Companies that have a better understanding of these cognitive biases can optimize decision making at all levels of the organization, leading to better performance in the market. Companies that ignore the impact these biases have on corporate decision-making put themselves at unnecessary risk.
  • A Conversation With Expert Practitioner of Analysis Carmen Medina: Carmen Medina served 32 years in senior positions at the Central Intelligence Agency, most of which focused on one of the hardest tasks in the community, that of analysis. Carmen rose to lead the strategic assessments group for the agency, then was deputy director of intelligence, the most senior leadership position for analysis at the agency and one of the most senior positions in the entire intelligence community. She also spent time as the director of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, where she oversaw ways to teach, mentor and improve analysis for the community.
  • Identifying and Confronting the Obvious Risks of Gray Rhinos: Michele Wucker is specialist in risk management and crisis anticipation and is author of the book “The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore”. While we’ve all become familiar with Taleb’s concept of Black Swans, we must equally become intimately aquatinted with Wucker’s Gray Rhinos as they provide more obvious opportunities for actually anticipating and managing risk. During this interview, Michele takes us through the concept of Gray Rhinos with real-world historical examples, discussion of future Gray Rhinos, and strategies for engaging in real actions to identify, respond to, and mitigate future Gray Rhinos in business, society, and global affairs. The concept of a Gray Rhino is hugely important and has become embedded in how we evaluate risks at OODA with our customers.
  • Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence: Kathy and Randy Pherson are authors of the book Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence. Both had successful careers in the US Intelligence Community. While they were at the CIA they pioneered new methods of risk analysis and analytical methods, and helped bring those methods to widespread adoption in the community. Both are also successful business leaders who created companies that build value for others. Their focus in business is on helping others improve their analytical methods. They write about and teach best practices in analysis.
  • Operational Intelligence for Strategic Decision-making: In this OODAcast, OODA Network Expert Jen Hoar interviews noted cybersecurity and intelligence professional Bob Gourley, CTO of OODA LLC, diving deep into what makes him tick. Jen asks Bob about his career, including the constants and dynamics in his professional life, starting with a deep background in operational intelligence as a naval intelligence officer. She explores his strengths and weaknesses and how he makes decisions in domains of overwhelming information. Jen asks Bob for advice for others on ways to keep learning.

Recommended Actions:

  • Many of the posts above were created for members of the OODA Network. For more information on this network C-Suite leaders can see our Subscription Page.
  • The insights in the material referenced above will need to be contextualized for your particular organization. Let us know if we can be assistance in that (a good way reach us on this topic is to join us in our member only discussion room on Wickr).
  • No matter what your strategy for corporate sensemaking, one thing is certain, it will only be optimized once. Your organization will need to continually review processes, data sources and analytical methodologies to ensure your organization is being well served. So build in agility and review what you are doing on a periodic basis
  • Stay up to speed on the nature of the geopolitical threat situation, the cyber threat and global technology developments and encourage your staff to do the same. All can sign up for the free OODA Daily Pulse which can help keep your extended team informed on key issues.
  • We also encourage all C-Suite leaders to stay informed of the rapidly changing dynamic in nation state threats since these are now posing significant risk to supply chains and business opportunities (see:C-Suite Considerations Regarding Current Geopolitical Tensions and OODA Loop Special Section on Global Risk and Geopolitical Sensemaking).

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of OODA LLC, the technology research and advisory firm with a focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity which publishes OODALoop.com and CTOvision.com. Bob is the author of the book The Cyber Threat. Bob has been an advisor to dozens of successful high tech startups and has conducted enterprise cybersecurity assessments for businesses in multiple sectors of the economy. He was a career Naval Intelligence Officer and is the former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency.