Monday, 16 July 2012

Scholarship as part of Agility

I found another John Boyd fan; increasingly relevant in this age of information overload:

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/07/act_fast_not_first.html

What this article fails to get across, however, is the emphasis that the OODA methodology places on understanding one's opponent, of getting inside his head so that you can, by your actions, disrupt his thinking.

It is unusual, in civilian life, to have an opponent that you are trying to outmaneuver, so Boyd's model does not apply directly to most of the situations that we encounter in our professional lives, but some lessons can still be drawn:
  • We live in an unpredictable world.
  • Sometimes we need to change direction because the world changes around us.
  • When this happens, we need to do it quickly.
  • To react quickly, we need to be prepared.
  • Part of being prepared is having a deep understanding and insight into the problem domain.
To be effective, warriors must also be scholars; and this applies equally to those of us in less violent occupations. To deal with a confusing, ever changing world, we must be scholars; to try to understand the factors that drive those changes.