Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

The Intelligence Challenge: Lessons from the Private Sector

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on November 18, 2010

by Jake Cusack, Matt McKnight, and Renny McPherson for Harvard Business Review, November 18th, 2010.

This post is part of an HBR Spotlight examining leadership lessons from the military.

Since 9/11, the need for increased collaboration and information sharing within the military and intelligence communities has become a constant requirement. As Marine intelligence officers in Iraq and then as analysts at national-level security organizations, each of us has directly witnessed failures caused by weak communication and poor information sharing practices. These experiences have pushed us to look to the private sector to understand how the military can most effectively leverage innovation in information collection, management, and analysis to support the national security mission. Many of the recent HBR blogs on the subject of military leadership show what the armed forces can teach the private sector. We fully agree with many of these arguments, but — in line with Tim Kane’s earlier contribution — we also contend that there is much to learn from knowledge transfer in the opposite direction.

We have begun to identify a few key problems facing the defense and intelligence community that we believe should be prime areas for private contribution to the public mission. The list below highlights our experiences, but is by no means an exhaustive catalog of the current challenges being encountered by defense and intelligence officials. Further, we recognize that the many excellent technology transfer efforts run by government organizations such as In-Q-TelArmy OnPoint, the Small Business Innovation Research grant program, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have had much success both fighting these challenges and in increasing the number of technology firms (Palantir TechnologiesEndecaKeyhole, and others) who focus on these issues. Nonetheless, we hope that this comment might help reinvigorate and expand a dialogue around how the private sector can better work with our national security community. (continue reading… )


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