Insights

Intelligence Analysts – every manager’s worst nightmare?

There was a very interesting article in the New Scientist recently called “just following orders – why good people do bad things” which seeks to re-evaluate the notion the ‘banality of evil’ – the idea that evil acts are not necessarily perpetrated by evil people, but by ordinary people who blindly follow orders. There was…

Quote Daniel Boorstin Unquote

I’m currently reading this excellent book ” Seeing What Other People Don’t” by Gary Klein. The book explores how humans gain “insight” from looking at data and the world in which it sits. Therefore it has direct application to intelligence analysts, who are mostly human. (Take that any way you want…) The book is provoking…

OSINT: What is that again?

Twenty years ago, OSINT meant reading the newspaper. Ten years ago, OSINT meant browsing the web. What does OSINT mean today? Using commercially available tools I can do the following things: Task an individual on the ground to answer a specific question or provide imagery. (See this article for further details – Sites such as MoboQ, or a combination…

Open Source Intelligence: What is that again?

Twenty years ago, OSINT meant reading the newspaper. Ten years ago, OSINT meant browsing the web. What does OSINT mean today? Using commercially available tools I can do the following things: Task an individual on the ground to answer a specific question or provide imagery. (See this article for further details – Sites such as MoboQ, or…

Spin Cycles: Intelligence and Operations

Both the volume of information available to us, and the speed at which it can be processed into useful intelligence are increasing rapidly. Unfortunately human beings are appallingly ill equipped to cope with multiple tasks, thoughts or information streams concurrently. If you don’t believe me, and you have a spare ten minutes, try one of these…

Underground Intelligence Part II, or How Not To Do It.

There is a comedy show on BBC Radio 4 called ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’. I think it’s brilliant, but it’s probably not to everyone’s taste. Try it for yourself and see. One of the games which the panelists play on ISIHAC is called Mornington Crescent. The game involves navigating ones way to Mornington…

Underground Intelligence

The London Underground during rush hour can be a horrible place – particularly if you’re not entirely sure of where you’re trying to get to, or the best way of getting there. But it would be a lot worse without the input of Harry Beck. In 1931, Harry was an engineering draftsman working for the…

Presenting Data – Fighting the Russians

IMSL is currently spending a lot of effort developing the mechanisms by which we present analysis of data to our clients.   I think everyone agrees that the same-old-same-old Powerpoint is too crude, too boring and too limited in its presentation tools.  Over the next few weeks we are going to show you some of…

Smarter than you think

New technological tools are changing the way that fundamental intelligence analysis is done – it’s more than an efficiency improvement – it’s radical.

The Death of the RFI (and why that’s a good thing)

My last post on the problems inherent with delivering written, linear intelligence reports has got me thinking.  As I discussed there, the speed of modern analytical tools allows huge data crunching to be done almost instantaneously. This really causes a problem for those whose broader operational systems are wedded to an intelligence cycle that operates at…