Brief Discourse on Information vs. Intelligence #data-science


TRflanagan@...
 

Thank you, Robert. 
 
 
You make some points that resonate for me.  If I might hazard a guess ... the problem with BI is not the data but rather the question.
 
 
I am building on your comment "Russell Ackoff would say, bureaucracies are optimized to do the wrong thing righter (one reason why Sigma Six is passe), not the right thing in the first place." 
 
 
The science and art of inquiry is imperfect, of course.  Answers may be smart, yet questions need to be wise.  Where have you seen the greatest promise in an enhanced vehicle for framing the appropriate questions in your voyages?
 
 
Tom

 
><((((º>·..¸¸·´¯`·.><(((º>`·.¸¸.·´¯`·..¸¸><((((º> .·´¯`·..><(((º>.·´¯`·..><(((º>
"Discussions as usual can lead to no more than business as usual"

 

 

In a message dated 10/18/2010 11:12:27 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, robert.david.steele.vivas@... writes:
 

"Top managers' information is invariably either biased, subjective, filtered or late. .... "  (attributed to Ben Gilad)
This generic statement is true for all information which is transferred through human sources.  The relevant comment is the extent to which this situation differs from alternative possible situations.  When you optimize speed, you compromise other dimensions of information.  When you minimize bias, you -- once again -- compromise other dimensions of information.  If the priority is to have a balance in information quality, each of the dimensions of that information "yield" a bit so that the balance is optimized.  Can there be any other way?
Rich graphics, Robert.  It seems like there is a seminar embedded in each one.

Ah, a good conversation begins.  I respond.

First, to give Ben his due, here is a link to the book that contains the sentence, fortunately in the sample chapter offered at the bottom, fourth or fifth sentence down produced here in full.

http://www.infonortics.com/publications/giladbb.html

One of the facts that amazed me the most over the past eight years while helping American and European firms improve their ability to read their markets, was how insulated top executives were from competitive reality. This is because they secure their competitive intelligence (market signals regarding change) at best through a close circle of 'trusted' personal sources, or at worst through those one-page news summary clippings. Top managers' information is invariably either biased, subjective, filtered or late.

DuckDuckGo on Ben:  http://duckduckgo.com/?q=Ben+Gilad

PhiBetaIota on Ben's books:

Who’s Who in Public Intelligence: Ben Gilad

Review: Business Blindspots–Replacing Your Company’s Entrenched and Outdated Myths, Beliefs and Assumptions With the Realities of Today’s Markets

Review: The Art and Science of Business Intelligence Analysis

Review: Early Warning–Using Competitive Intelligence to Anticipate Market Shifts, Control Risk, and Create Powerful Strategies

1993 Herring (US) The Role of Intelligence in Formulating Strategy

I throw in one piece from Jan Herring, the father of US competitive intelligence (called business intelligence back then), and below, the Herring Triangle which is very helpful in addressing why Quadrant I Knowledge Management will simply "not do" for any enterprise that wants to thrive and be sustainable.

Graphic: Herring Triangle of Four Levels Need & Cost

Now, addressing your statement with brevity and clarity:

This generic statement is true for all information which is transferred through human sources.  The relevant comment is the extent to which this situation differs from alternative possible situations.  When you optimize speed, you compromise other dimensions of information.  When you minimize bias, you -- once again -- compromise other dimensions of information.  If the priority is to have a balance in information quality, each of the dimensions of that information "yield" a bit so that the balance is optimized.  Can there be any other way?

First, the statement is true of both human and technical sources, the latter because of human miscalculation compounded over time and space.  Machine speed garbage is still garbage.  In 1988 I tried to swing the community toward geospatial attributes for all data, and it went in one ear and out the other (General Defense Intelligence Program meeting of 1988).

Second, optimizing speed for what?  So the manager can have a dashboard on their desk and "feel" like they have a pulse on the business?  All that tells them is what someone has, a great expense, worked very hard to channel, never mind that it is leaving out all of the externalities as well as the true cost of each product and service.  In my experience too much emphasize is placed on speed over richness and diversity, and strategy suffers.

The information cube was one early attempt to address the diversity of information elements, as well as the data pathologies and information asymmetries.  I plowed some of the same ground that Buckminster Fuller did, and then discovered his deeper work on integrity--if you don't have the whole picture, reliably, you cannot get it right.  Here is the Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi on this point:

When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it.


The recent economic meltdown external to the individual businesses is one example of an externality.  China running out of water and power just when all the businesses that invested are ready to launch is another.

This is where intelligence professionals with integrity come into play.  I have fought for bringing the eight tribes of intelligence together for the past 20 years, and the fact that none of you have ever heard my name (I assume) is a testament to my failure, a failure that has been assured by our own government's lack of integrity--the secret world is designed to keep giving $75 billion a year gong on $90 billion a year to vaporware, providing, "at best" 4% of what the President needs and nothing for everyone else.  That is why I have started blogging a Virtual Cabinet at Huffington Post and have created a Vice President for Education, Intelligence, and Research.  Here is one look at the eight tribes and the information commons:

Graphic: Information Commons & Eight Tribes

The big problem I have with IT and "BI" based on IT, and Peter Drucker had the same problem in 1998, is that it is biased against what the T can compute and tends to denigrate the I.  My briefing to NSA on this point a decade ago is at 2002 The New Craft of Intelligence–What Should the T Be Doing to the I in IT? with words in notes format.

However, the most critical point that is not addressed by most is "who decides" what, when, where, and how of intelligence (decision-support) presentation.  Most organizations do not actually create intelligence--the channel information.  Long ago I pointed out that information costs money and intelligence makes money--that's my trademark: information arbitrage.  Business schools do not teach commercial intelligence, the process of intelligence, most do not teach ecologicial economics, none that I know of teach the strategic value of the enterprise-nation in co-evolution (when you screw over communities by exporting jobs, you are actually screwing over your own clients and consumers), etc.

We have dumb voters besieged by dumb businesses (including the industrialization of agriculture and food which we are now learning is killing family, health, water, etcetera) in the context of a dumb nation.  All of this is a strategic failure of such proportions that if I were a successful businessman today, which I am not, I would be planning a five year exit strategy and investing in Quebec or Scotland the last two places on earth likely to have reliable water in 20 years if we don't get our act together.

I read Beer on the heart and brain of enterprise long ago, a lot of great books have been written, the bottom line is the weberian concept of bureaucracy is the anti-thesis of holistic integrated analytics.  As Russell Ackoff would say, bureaucracies are optimized to do the wrong thing righter (one reason why Sigma Six is passe), not the right thing in the first place.

I find that in situations like this it helps to be titillated by the graphics first, and I finally made a directory.  A kaleidoscope of my mind, as it were.  I welcome further discussion in the most constructive sense possible.

Graphics Directory A-Z as of 28 September 2010

We're in a closed system.  Government has failed--corruption prevails at every level on every topic.  It's time for the eight tribes to agree on a strategic analytic model, on getting all the facts on the table, and on governing ourselves back to sustainability....or so I believe.  That's also the point of my latest book, free online as well as at Amazon.

2010 INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

The two books, both of which started on monographs, all free online, most relevant to Quadrant I Knowledge Management, are below.  I have no doubt my ignorance of what all of you actually do shows there and here, but that is not the point--the point is, to what extent does what I have sought to explore bear on your doing your own jobs better?  I am not here to be you; I am here to make you better.

2006 INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time

2002 THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political

Semper Fidelis,
Robert



Robert Steele <robert.david.steele.vivas@...>
 

"Top managers' information is invariably either biased, subjective, filtered or late. .... "  (attributed to Ben Gilad)
This generic statement is true for all information which is transferred through human sources.  The relevant comment is the extent to which this situation differs from alternative possible situations.  When you optimize speed, you compromise other dimensions of information.  When you minimize bias, you -- once again -- compromise other dimensions of information.  If the priority is to have a balance in information quality, each of the dimensions of that information "yield" a bit so that the balance is optimized.  Can there be any other way?
Rich graphics, Robert.  It seems like there is a seminar embedded in each one.

Ah, a good conversation begins.  I respond.

First, to give Ben his due, here is a link to the book that contains the sentence, fortunately in the sample chapter offered at the bottom, fourth or fifth sentence down produced here in full.

http://www.infonortics.com/publications/giladbb.html

One of the facts that amazed me the most over the past eight years while helping American and European firms improve their ability to read their markets, was how insulated top executives were from competitive reality. This is because they secure their competitive intelligence (market signals regarding change) at best through a close circle of 'trusted' personal sources, or at worst through those one-page news summary clippings. Top managers' information is invariably either biased, subjective, filtered or late.

DuckDuckGo on Ben:  http://duckduckgo.com/?q=Ben+Gilad

PhiBetaIota on Ben's books:

Who’s Who in Public Intelligence: Ben Gilad

Review: Business Blindspots–Replacing Your Company’s Entrenched and Outdated Myths, Beliefs and Assumptions With the Realities of Today’s Markets

Review: The Art and Science of Business Intelligence Analysis

Review: Early Warning–Using Competitive Intelligence to Anticipate Market Shifts, Control Risk, and Create Powerful Strategies

1993 Herring (US) The Role of Intelligence in Formulating Strategy

I throw in one piece from Jan Herring, the father of US competitive intelligence (called business intelligence back then), and below, the Herring Triangle which is very helpful in addressing why Quadrant I Knowledge Management will simply "not do" for any enterprise that wants to thrive and be sustainable.

Graphic: Herring Triangle of Four Levels Need & Cost

Now, addressing your statement with brevity and clarity:

This generic statement is true for all information which is transferred through human sources.  The relevant comment is the extent to which this situation differs from alternative possible situations.  When you optimize speed, you compromise other dimensions of information.  When you minimize bias, you -- once again -- compromise other dimensions of information.  If the priority is to have a balance in information quality, each of the dimensions of that information "yield" a bit so that the balance is optimized.  Can there be any other way?

First, the statement is true of both human and technical sources, the latter because of human miscalculation compounded over time and space.  Machine speed garbage is still garbage.  In 1988 I tried to swing the community toward geospatial attributes for all data, and it went in one ear and out the other (General Defense Intelligence Program meeting of 1988).

Second, optimizing speed for what?  So the manager can have a dashboard on their desk and "feel" like they have a pulse on the business?  All that tells them is what someone has, a great expense, worked very hard to channel, never mind that it is leaving out all of the externalities as well as the true cost of each product and service.  In my experience too much emphasize is placed on speed over richness and diversity, and strategy suffers.

The information cube was one early attempt to address the diversity of information elements, as well as the data pathologies and information asymmetries.  I plowed some of the same ground that Buckminster Fuller did, and then discovered his deeper work on integrity--if you don't have the whole picture, reliably, you cannot get it right.  Here is the Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi on this point:

When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it.


The recent economic meltdown external to the individual businesses is one example of an externality.  China running out of water and power just when all the businesses that invested are ready to launch is another.

This is where intelligence professionals with integrity come into play.  I have fought for bringing the eight tribes of intelligence together for the past 20 years, and the fact that none of you have ever heard my name (I assume) is a testament to my failure, a failure that has been assured by our own government's lack of integrity--the secret world is designed to keep giving $75 billion a year gong on $90 billion a year to vaporware, providing, "at best" 4% of what the President needs and nothing for everyone else.  That is why I have started blogging a Virtual Cabinet at Huffington Post and have created a Vice President for Education, Intelligence, and Research.  Here is one look at the eight tribes and the information commons:

Graphic: Information Commons & Eight Tribes

The big problem I have with IT and "BI" based on IT, and Peter Drucker had the same problem in 1998, is that it is biased against what the T can compute and tends to denigrate the I.  My briefing to NSA on this point a decade ago is at 2002 The New Craft of Intelligence–What Should the T Be Doing to the I in IT? with words in notes format.

However, the most critical point that is not addressed by most is "who decides" what, when, where, and how of intelligence (decision-support) presentation.  Most organizations do not actually create intelligence--the channel information.  Long ago I pointed out that information costs money and intelligence makes money--that's my trademark: information arbitrage.  Business schools do not teach commercial intelligence, the process of intelligence, most do not teach ecologicial economics, none that I know of teach the strategic value of the enterprise-nation in co-evolution (when you screw over communities by exporting jobs, you are actually screwing over your own clients and consumers), etc.

We have dumb voters besieged by dumb businesses (including the industrialization of agriculture and food which we are now learning is killing family, health, water, etcetera) in the context of a dumb nation.  All of this is a strategic failure of such proportions that if I were a successful businessman today, which I am not, I would be planning a five year exit strategy and investing in Quebec or Scotland the last two places on earth likely to have reliable water in 20 years if we don't get our act together.

I read Beer on the heart and brain of enterprise long ago, a lot of great books have been written, the bottom line is the weberian concept of bureaucracy is the anti-thesis of holistic integrated analytics.  As Russell Ackoff would say, bureaucracies are optimized to do the wrong thing righter (one reason why Sigma Six is passe), not the right thing in the first place.

I find that in situations like this it helps to be titillated by the graphics first, and I finally made a directory.  A kaleidoscope of my mind, as it were.  I welcome further discussion in the most constructive sense possible.

Graphics Directory A-Z as of 28 September 2010

We're in a closed system.  Government has failed--corruption prevails at every level on every topic.  It's time for the eight tribes to agree on a strategic analytic model, on getting all the facts on the table, and on governing ourselves back to sustainability....or so I believe.  That's also the point of my latest book, free online as well as at Amazon.

2010 INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

The two books, both of which started on monographs, all free online, most relevant to Quadrant I Knowledge Management, are below.  I have no doubt my ignorance of what all of you actually do shows there and here, but that is not the point--the point is, to what extent does what I have sought to explore bear on your doing your own jobs better?  I am not here to be you; I am here to make you better.

2006 INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time

2002 THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political

Semper Fidelis,
Robert



Robert Steele <robert.david.steele.vivas@...>
 

Tom, something in your message is freezing the email.  Not sure what.  Working around it.

You said: 

You make some points that resonate for me.  If I might hazard a guess ... the problem with BI is not the data but rather the question.
 
 
I am building on your comment "Russell Ackoff would say, bureaucracies are optimized to do the wrong thing righter (one reason why Sigma Six is passe), not the right thing in the first place." 
 
 
The science and art of inquiry is imperfect, of course.  Answers may be smart, yet questions need to be wise.  Where have you seen the greatest promise in an enhanced vehicle for framing the appropriate questions in your voyages?
 
Tom

- - - - - - - -

My response is the old line about amatuers talk about data, journeyment talk about models, and experts talk about the underlying assumptions in the model.

I am getting as close as anyone with my 23 colleagues in Earth Intelligence Network (501c3).  Below is the link to the flyer and the sketch for the EarthGame that I got
Medard Gabel (#2 to Buckminster Fuller) to do.  We only need $3M now a year, was $2M a year) to create the EarthGame in which everyone plays themselves.  Open
Money is coming along, I think there will be compelling changes in the entire economic structure that will clamp down on phantom wealth and upgrade local wealth
rooted in face to face services and local production.

http://www.earth-intelligence.net/extra/page/?action=page_show&id=49&module_instance=12

What it boils down to is what the indigenous knew centuries ago: it is all connected and you cannot loot the system (different from profit) without the system biting back.

The literature on ecological economics started by Herman Daly, whom I am pleased to know, then Paul Hawkins and company on Natural Capitalism, Ecology of Commerce,
then the me-toos with Cradle to Cradle, Green to Gold, etcetera, are all homing in on the key point for business:  do not shit where you eat.....and that means long-term
Seventh Generation thinking.

There are a few companies that are getting it right--scrubbing all toxins out of their chemical processes, returning water cleaner than when it came in etcetera.
Most trying to do it right are still focuses on the tangible materials point of view, and not getting the social and cultural points of view.

360 analysis is one of my pet rocks.  Buckminster Fuller said it first--to understand your system understand the system it is a part of.

At the meto-strategic level, any business not focusing on the needs of the five billion poor is destined to be left behind.  CK Prahalad makes the point brilliantly,
capitalism is built to serve the one billion rich with one trillion a year in income--the five billion poor have FOUR trillion a year in income.

Then there is the whole issue of cognitive surplus, wealth of networks, infinite wealth, revolutionary wealth, wealth of knowlege (all book titles, I sooth my fevered
brain with reading and quite by accident became the #1 Amazon reviewer for non fiction, let me end with two lists of lists:

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive)

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative)

Businesses have completely missed the social dimension of productivity, Business Week did a very fine job of capturing this on 21 June 2005 in its cover story--
examples such as Lego getting 1,600 engineering hours out of customers volunteering ideas and participating in workshops.

Co-creation of business-social environments is starting to take off, business ecosystems, etcetera, and what all of that means for KM, in my view, is that it is
time to dump the non-scalable structured systems for data management, and all work together to create something that scales infinitely, has granularity down
to the individual person and individual raw element, can reflect "true cost" across all boundaries, is transparent, and allows participatory budgeting.  I may not
live to see it, but it is definitely coming to us in the future.

I hope the above does not ramble too much.  We are at a tipping point, I think of modern capitalism as the BP Oil Spill and Enron and Goldman Sachs writ large,
my friend Howard Bloom and my acquaintance John Bogle have written excellent books that capture much of what I think needs to be done in the business world,
links below.

Review: The Genius of the Beast--A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism

Review: The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism

Best wishes,
Robert