Intelligence Report: What Works, What Doesn't and How to Fix It


Published on

Paper to be presented at the BCISS Forum, London, 12-13 July 2012

Published in: Business, Education
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Intelligence Report: What Works, What Doesn't and How to Fix It

  1. 1. INTELLIGENCE REPORTING: WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN’T AND HOW TO FIX IT Douglas C. Bernhardt Wits Business School Johannesburg, South Africa Prepared for the Brunel University Centre for Intelligence and SecurityStudies (BCISS) forum, RAF Club, London, 12 and 13 July, 2012. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -1-
  2. 2. It should come as no real surprise to ‘seasoned’ intelligence professionals that manyof the key factors necessary for success in competitive intelligence (CI) – a discipline whichexists almost exclusively within a commercial, or private sector context – are equallyimportant in the field of national security intelligence. In this paper we will focus on two ofthese factors in particular: (1) the so-called ‘intelligence-policy’ disconnect; and (2) the‘packaging’ of finished intelligence products, or deliverable. Our central proposition issimply stated: without effective working relationships, including mutual understanding,between the corporate CI function and its consumers – mainly senior decision-makers – thecollection, analysis and production of information for intelligence purposes becomeirrelevant, and therefore a waste of energy, time and money. Increasingly, large-scale enterprises, as well as leading business schools, in Europe,North America and parts of Asia recognise that Competitive Intelligence has come of age asit steadily expands “into mainstream business practices.”1 In the words of Kristan Wheaton,Associate Professor of Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pennsylvania, the“business and competitive intelligence communities”2 are up-and-coming. But what isCompetitive Intelligence? How does it differ, say, from the role and practice of intelligencewithin the national security context? We define CI as the application of the theory andpractice – with certain operational exceptions – of national security intelligence to thecorporate domain. Whereas national security intelligence is largely concerned with the widearray of issues which have, or may have, an impact on foreign policy related decisions andactions, CI concentrates on problems (including warning) regarding the driving forces andtrends in a firm’s competitive environment. These issues include social, technological,economic and political factors, in particular the capabilities, intentions, and future plans ofkey players (existing and emerging competitors, major customers, suppliers, etc.). As aresult, we would argue that many of the lessons learned in the respective experiences of CIand national security intelligence can be carried over into the other. Consumer-policy relations. This phenomenon has been explored at some length by a number of intelligencescholars3 (almost exclusively within the context of national security intelligence), who appearto share the view that the barriers to strong, interdependent relationships between intelligenceand its consumers are powerful impediments to the influence intelligence has (or shouldhave) on organisational policy and strategies. As Joshua Rovner puts it, “Intelligenceagencies need to cultivate good relations with policymakers, and not just because they riskbecoming irrelevant if policymakers doubt that they provide any special information orinsight.”4 This caution, we suggest, applies no less to companies in the private sector. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -2-
  3. 3. If corporate decision-making is not informed by intelligence, it ultimately risksbecoming a free-for-all of conflicting, emotionally-charged opinions between variousdepartments, functions and personal interests within a company’s bureaucracy. In practice,these relationships (or lack of them) between intelligence producers and consumers determinethe very effectiveness and value of the intelligence function; a dilemma which has long beenunderstood in government. While routine improvements in tradecraft (collection methods,analytical training, skill sets, processes, etc.) are important, they simply do not matter if CIisn’t embedded globally in a company’s decision-making culture, systems, and organisationalarchitecture. The random, often ad hoc reporting of raw information and news withincorporate settings does not, as is often assumed, constitute intelligence; at best it reinforcesthe dangerous ‘flying by the seat of the pants’ decision-making endemic in so many firms. So what gets in the way? What are the stumbling blocks? Here are just a few: • The de facto clash of the basic makeup, or personalities of analysts and their consumers (‘geeks versus ‘suits’?), or what Stephen Marrin refers to as “a personality self-selection bias between analysts and decisionmakers”5); • The very different perspectives CI staff and their internal customers have toward their respective missions. While CI analysts are tasked with collecting and interpreting often ambiguous information about the firm’s external environment, corporate executives are far more comfortable with certainty and a ‘let’s get it done’ action orientation; • Bureaucracy. As Gary Hamel, Visiting Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School notes, almost every company “is being managed right now by a small coterie of long-departed theorists and practitioners who invented the rules and conventions of ‘modern’ management back in the early years of the 20th century”6. Many executives are more at ease planning their retirements rather following through on new information that may lead to igniting revolutionary change; • Deficiencies in clearly defining and agreeing upon front-end intelligence requirements (Key Intelligence Topics) in the ‘planning and direction’ phase of the intelligence cycle – what is needed? who needs it? why is it needed (what decisions is the intelligence meant to support?); • A wide array of deep seated cognitive biases (e.g. unchallenged assumptions, and obsolete mental models of the world)7, mainly on the part of company decision- makers. Indeed, it’s no secret that managers at all levels “tend to disregard intelligence when it clashes with their own expectations”8 and world views; • Endemic failures of imagination by analysts and decision-makers alike (it’s hard work thinking outside institutional templates); • Groupthink (or the quest for consensus); • The ever present spectre of politicisation, possibly the most significant pathology of intelligence – i.e., the attempt, whether direct or indirect, “to manipulate intelligence so that it reflects policy preferences.”9 © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -3-
  4. 4. Most of the firms we have studied or worked with would have little option but toplead guilty to all of the above charges. But perhaps the biggest – albeit least explored – contributing factor to the so-calledintelligence-policy disconnect is the fact that most corporate managers have no backgroundin, or with, intelligence in any capacity, whether in government or the military. We have, forexample, never seen in the business arena an explanatory handbook similar to NationalIntelligence: A Consumer’s Guide, published in 2009 by the office of the US Director ofNational Intelligence. Executives, in fact, typically tend to dismiss CI as a subset of marketresearch (which it isn’t)10, and in general view it with underlying suspicion. After all,intelligence produced by a team of 20- to 30-something MBAs which does not conform to theexpectations, plans and policy preferences of ‘seasoned’ 50+ year old executives is seldomembraced with open arms, and certainly doesn’t play well in boardrooms comprised of menand women who have already made up their minds about policy and strategy. In short,intelligence is not an easy sell. In the business world, it’s still open season on the ‘shootingthe messenger’. One of the first things we teach our MBA students and executive education clientsis that, to be of actionable value, the presentation of intelligence products must be fullyaligned with the needs and preferences of the decision-maker – i.e., how he or she prefers toreceive and digest information. Intelligence units must therefore develop a deepunderstanding of each of their company’s top decision-makers as individuals. Quite simply,what decision-makers care about at any given point in time is, to put it bluntly, all they reallycare about, even if they themselves are uncertain about, or possibly unaware of, the full arrayof issues that matter, or should matter, as they try to come to grips with the changingdynamics of environmental complexity. Some prefer the ‘short version’, while decision-makers who may be more contemplative routinely want the ‘whole story’. Some are happiestwith text. Others are more visually oriented. Thus Competitive Intelligence staffs must not“base [their] long-range planning primarily on high-level policy maker-defined requirementsbecause policy makers, by their very nature, tend to concentrate on immediate problems anddo not think long-term”.11 CI managers and analysts should, therefore, make every effortpossible to understand individual decision-makers’ abilities, agendas, biases, professionalobjectives and responsibilities, and much more. A finance director, for example, will have avery different set of concerns and perspectives than those of the marketing director. Quitesimply, there is seldom any similarity between the ways in which each views the world andthe challenges their companies face. One size does not fit all. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -4-
  5. 5. In order to strengthen the relationship, to reduce the inherent friction betweenexecutives and intelligence analysts, we have found that it is important to determine how theintelligence consumer can be most effectively involved in the overall process. This means,wherever possible, regular face-to-face dialogue, even if this takes the form of videoconferencing or the use of tools such as Skype™ video calling. ‘Fleshing out’ an intelligencerequirement can be hard work, takes time, and usually involves a number of iterations beforeproducers and consumers can realistically agree on the requirement. Ask any executive whathis or her intelligence requirements are, and you’re likely to be met with the sameincredulous look your teenage daughter or son might give you if you ask them why they likeFacebook (parents “just don’t understand”). If, on the other hand, intelligence analysts sitdown with executives to help them anticipate, formulate and develop a requirement or set ofrequirements that will ultimately make their decision-making more effective and efficient – inother words, smarter! – they’re off to a good start. In addition, to help accomplish improved consumer-producer interaction, werecommend that CI directors assume a role that most executives are already familiar with;that of an internal consultant. Ideally, formal intelligence dissemination should be augmentedwith on-going informal communication between CI and its internal customers. This can leadto greater openness and mutual respect between analysts and their internal customers, therebyreinforcing credibility of the product and the very function itself. In short, “The hard truth is that despite the presumably common goal of advancing thefirm’s interests, relations between consumers and producers of intelligence are not naturallyharmonious”, and can lead “to counterproductive arguments about ‘what’s right’ or ‘who’sright’ as the lines between evidence, facts, and opinions become even more blurred.”12 Goodactionable intelligence and the policy guidance which should result are based on evidenceand rigorous analysis, not bullying predicated on rank or who shouts the loudest. The ‘packaging’ of intelligence. In today’s hyper-competitive businessenvironment, regardless of the depth of findings and critical thinking that underpins a first-class intelligence deliverable, it will, nevertheless, often fail to achieve its principle objective;that is, to support decision-makers with product that they find both compelling and relevantto their individual and collective concerns. Unfortunately, many CI departments are knownto distribute finished intelligence products that take the form of dry, colourless epistles oflargely regurgitated facts and news; or, put differently, cocktails of tasteless stirred (notshaken), mostly open source based, information. Is it any wonder that intelligence is oftenignored or otherwise disregarded by management? © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -5-
  6. 6. Consider the case of Hewlett-Packard (H-P), the once innovative company that manynow claim has ‘lost its way’. The company today cannot boast a single hit consumer product;there are no iPhones or iPads in HPs bland array of products despite the growing uptake inconsumer markets globally for ‘smartphones’ and tablet computing devices. Where, onemight ask, have H-P’s CI teams been looking for the past five years or so? The trends cannothave been clearer, especially since the launch of Apple’s iPhone and iPad products, orSamsung’s relentless drive to grow and sustain their position as the world’s largestsmartphone maker. So, wherever HP’s CI department were focusing their attention, either itwasn’t in the right direction, or possibly they didn’t understand the ‘so what’ of what theywere looking at (did their CI reports focus on the impact of the expanding smartphone andtablet businesses on H-P’s competitive landscape?). Or, perhaps, they simply failed to maketheir intelligence deliverables sufficiently compelling. Of course, H-P’s leadership may haveregarded themselves as irrevocably ‘married’ to their ‘tried and tested’ business model whichdictated that strategic success was mainly a matter of ratcheting up competition in thelaptops, desktops, printers and monitors markets. Or, alternatively, were H-P simply too busyconcentrating on their current restructuring plans (in which approximately 27’000 employees– 8% of their workforce – will “exit” the company by the end of fiscal year 2014)? Similar toKodak’s once stubborn insistence on remaining the world leader in film as it ignored the shiftto digital photography, H-P’s intelligence was insufficiently persuasive, or the company’smanagement were simply not prepared to listen to the ‘drumbeats’ of a changing globalmarketplace. Another problem which plagues many CI deliverables: future-oriented analysis (e.g.alternative futures analysis or analysis of competing hypotheses) that spring from company-wide coordination by a CI department is seldom on offer. The result is that analysing “whathappened” – standard fare in CI reporting – just doesn’t resonate with, and as a consequenceis not useful to, corporate decision-makers. What they need are judgments focusing on whatcould, or is likely to, happen (including discussions of competitor intent) with explanations ofwhy analysts think so. Otherwise, senior executives may just as well search for the insightthey require from the volumes of mind-numbing analysts’ reports published by majorinvestment banks, from their trusted personal advisors and friends (who usually have theirown agendas), or, for a ‘quick news fix’, from CNN or Bloomberg. The question we urge CIprofessionals to ask themselves is: when was the last time that the intelligence you deliveredcaused your company’s management to modify their behaviour, their strategy, or their plans? So what can intelligence learn from other professional disciplines that might help usimprove its effectiveness? Consider advertising. Commercial advertising aims to persuadecustomers and potential customers to buy, or buy into the offering. To be effective good adswill therefore have: © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -6-
  7. 7. • The ability to capture the buyer’s attention. The German car maker Audi build their promotional campaigns around the tag line "Vorsprung durch Technik" (roughly, "advancement through technology"). This apparently strikes a chord with buyers interested mainly with the engineering and technical attributes of a motorcar. Cosmetics companies, on the other hand, have traditionally directed their campaigns at women (and now men) wishing to improve (resurrect?) their appearance. While the extent to which advertisers impart “the truth” about their products and services may at times be questionable, the impact advertising has on consumers is not in any doubt. Ultimately, an effective ad must stand out from the competition and grab the attention of the target market or segment. Within the context of CI, this means moving to the head of the queue of competing information streams and conflicting demands on users’ time and attention. The difference between an intelligence product and an advertising message should essentially be one of form rather than content. Intelligence is concerned with the truth, not the ‘sale’ per se.• The ability to sustain buyers’ (i.e. users’) attention. An effective ad involves the consumer in the details of the ad and carries his or her attention through the ad. When trying to persuade, logic and reason are not enough; they appeal to the intellect, not the spirit or passion. This is exactly what the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) of 6 August 2001 (five weeks before 9/11) – with the headline “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US” – did not do for President George Bush or National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Dr Rice later insisted, in April 2004 at her appearance before the commission investigating the September 11th terrorist attacks, that the Brief “did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information.” In essence, she discounted the PDB as a valid current warning. Clearly it, as well as earlier warnings to the Clinton and Bush administrations of the Al Qaeda threat of terrorist action on US soil, did not grab her attention; nor, apparently, did it capture the attention of President George Bush. At the time of the 9/11 attacks both Bush and Rice had other priorities. His, it seems, was reading a children’s book with second graders at an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida.• The ability to transmit the message. Clarity is important if the consumer is to understand the message, given the limited attention span usually available. Again, this involves a deep understanding of the internal consumer of intelligence on the part of analysts and the CI director or manager. Ad agencies and their clients customarily carry out extensive, systematic research on who their customers are before promoting their products or services. Because many analysts suffer as much from inflated – albeit intellectually based – egos as do senior corporate managers, this type of research is often overlooked, or given rather short shrift. Experts tend to assume that conveying their expertise is enough; it isn’t. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -7-
  8. 8. • The ability to convince the potential consumer to accept the message of the ad and the ad brand. In other words, the ability of the ad to persuade the consumer to accept the ‘product’ and to buy. If the decision-maker fails to buy into the intelligence product, even if he or she may have otherwise been persuaded by its conclusions, its production will have been pointless, a waste of money and time. This is what one freelance ‘creative’ in the London ad industry told us: “What creativity [the essence of a good story] is, is the ability to connect the dots, draw connections between two existing things you never saw connected. But what the [agency] creatives manage to do is make them come together seamlessly. People don’t need a [big] budget to tell a compelling story. There is one more key ingredient to effective communication: simplicity. People’s attention spans are short, especially in today’s world. Things need to be short, succinct, in as simple a language as possible. If we can’t tell you what the idea is in a sentence, it’s not going to work, period. Another fundamental aspect of effective communication is originality. Never say the same thing in the same way twice. We’ve all been exposed to PowerPoint slides, graphs, tables since childhood. Our minds switch off to them because we’ve seen them millions of times before. I suggest you look into infographics13– a set of techniques that encourage creativity in the way we talk about numbers and statistics.”14 Companies typically devote many millions (Dollars, Euros, Pounds, etc.) to above-the-line advertising and public relations. Your company is probably one of them. If a centralaim of intelligence is to support smarter strategic choices, doesn’t it make sense to do what isnecessary to ensure that its presentation, or packaging matches the quality, and reinforces theurgency, of the analysis? In a paper first published 15 years ago, Dr Ronald Garst and DrMax Gross, each veterans of America’s Joint Military Intelligence College, remind us of foursets of skills that serve as the hallmark of a capable analyst; one of which is competence andexperience “in presenting analysis, both orally and in writing.”15 Sculpting the product isonly the first step; ensuring that it is ‘well received’ by the consumer is the second. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -8-
  9. 9. Robert McKee, a widely known screenwriting lecturer16, offers another importantlesson. He argues that although “Persuasion is the centrepiece of business activity … despitethe critical importance of persuasion, most executives [and, we would add, analysts] struggleto communicate, let alone inspire.”17 He believes that listeners can be engaged “on a wholenew level if [we] toss [our] PowerPoint slides and learn to tell good stories instead.”18 Whatcan a story do? Again according to McKee, “Essentially, a story expresses how and why lifechanges.”19 A good story will incite interest, excitement and emotions on the part of thelistener in a way that static graphs, spreadsheets and lists of data simply can’t. Think: whenwas the last time you promised yourself a good ‘bedtime read’ of a Credit Suisse, GoldmanSachs or RBS research report? Last month? Last week? Never? Karen Rothwell, a director of the CI consultancy Outward Insights, agrees that “Tocapture the attention of senior management, CI practitioners must effectively distributeintelligence deliverables that contain compelling analysis and unique judgments.”20 She addsthat “Some options for capturing the attention of your audience can include inventing new: • Language • Terminologies • Images • Icons • Acronyms”21 Are these some of the options you incorporate in your intelligence reporting? © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM -9-
  10. 10. Now consider this fictional case from the corporate environment: A fast growing, overseas competitor of the giant biotechnology company Amgen tasks its CI unit to prepare an updated assessment of Amgen’s strategic intent, i.e. their long-term ambition for market dominance. A typical competitor profile might list Amgen’s key strengths (e.g. revenues of approximately $16- billion; a worldwide workforce of some 17’000 in the US and 39 other countries; leading market positions in therapeutic areas such as cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease, and other serious illnesses; the declared aim of building the best R&D organisation in the industry; and so on). But what of the company’s culture and leadership? The US government, for example, has long “recognised the importance of monitoring the physical and mental fitness of world leaders and other key foreign actors.”22 While cultural and psychological analyses may often seem far removed from the quantitative measures that business executives are most comfortable with, personality assessments can add convincing value to an otherwise unremarkable CI product. Qualitative assessments of Amgen’s corporate culture, combined with personality profiles of the firm’s top management team (in particular its chairman and CEO for over 10 years, Kevin Sharer), especially when bolstered by a strong and indispensable element of human source intelligence (HUMINT), would contribute significantly to developing a much more powerful, and indeed much more captivating story regarding Amgen’s likely future moves. In a recent interview with a member of McKinsey Publishing, Mr Sharer revealed the following about himself: “For most of my career, I was an awful listener in almost every possible way. I was arrogant throughout my 30s for sure — maybe into my early 40s. My conversations were all about some concept of intellectual winning and “I’m going to prove I’m smarter than you.” It wasn’t an evil, megalomania-driven thing; it was mostly because I was a striver, I wanted to get ahead, and getting ahead meant convincing people of my point of view. So I shifted, by necessity…. As a senior executive — particularly if you’re responsible for a big function or division — you operate in a very complicated ecosystem with many sources of information that matter. In your mind, you need a picture of what reality is right now, with the knowledge that the picture is dynamic and ambiguous. That’s why it’s important to focus on what I call strategic listening: a purposeful, multifaceted, time-sensitive listening system that helps you get the signals you need from your ecosystem.”23© COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM - 10 -
  11. 11. Sharer’s self-appraisal would easily fit as a key strand in the fabric of an intelligence‘story’ about Amgen, and would serve as a strong indicator of what a competitor initiatingstrategic moves against Amgen might expect in response. It also points to the manycompeting “sources of information” that senior decision-makers must sift through as theydetermine what is important and what isn’t. A good story can also leverage film to considerable advantage. We show our MBAstudents clips from documentaries and Hollywood productions to support specific lessons. Inone such clip from the 2001 Touchstone Pictures film Pearl Harbour, we show students ascene set at the Pentagon in November 1941, just days before the attack, where a CaptainThurman of Naval Intelligence is explaining his theory to an admiral and vice admiral aboutwhere and why the missing Japanese fleet might attack the US. This is a transcript of thedialogue: Thurman: Sir [to the Admiral], I believe theyll try to hit us where itll hurt us the most–Pearl Harbour. Admiral: Its over 4’000 nautical miles from Japan to Pearl. Thats a long distance to steam a navy, Captain. Your theory is based on what? Thurman: Well, it’s what I would do. Admiral: That’s not exactly hard evidence, Captain Thurman Thurman: Well, Admiral, if I had hard evidence wed already be at war… Sir, we can read their diplomatic codes faster than they can type them. Vice Admiral: But Captain Thurmans cryptology team is still trying to crack the naval codes. Thurman: The intercepts have missing words and garbled lines, so to explain the decrypts we have to try to interpret what we think theyre trying to do. Admiral: Interpret? You mean guess Vice Admiral: They use their informed intuition, sir. Thurman: We guess. Its like playing chess in the dark. Any rumour, troop movement, ship movement... spine-tingle, goose bump, we pay attention to it. When I was in the Asiatic Fleet the locals used to try to get outside of a problem, to try to see the inside. Well, I see a strike on Pearl. Its the worst thing that could happen. A blow to Pearl would devastate the Pacific Fleets ability to make war. Admiral: So, sir, you would have us mobilize the entire fleet at the cost of millions of dollars based on this spine-tingling feeling of yours? Thurman: No, sir. My job is to gather and interpret material. Making difficult decisions based on incomplete information from my limited decoding ability is your job, sir. Admiral: Then break the damn naval code, Captain, so I can make a better decision. Thurman: Aye, sir. We are trying… In less than two minutes the scene deals with questions of intelligence analysis(specifically probabilities, rather than the certainties associated with 100% predictions), aswell as the respective roles of, and relationships between, analysts and decision-makers.Because it does so within the context of cinema, it becomes an almost irresistible story. Afterwatching this short clip, our students are left in no doubt about the role that intelligence –particularly warning intelligence – might well have played in the build-up to the Japaneseattack on |Pearl Harbour and what the responsibility of US Naval commanders was, orshould have been, in integrating intelligence findings and analysis into their thinking andplanning. We wonder how many CI reports have a similar impact on management. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM - 11 -
  12. 12. In a 1971 speech to the Intelligence Forum, Lt. Colonel James Murphy and Dr K.Wayne Smith, both former members of the US National Security Council staff, outlined sixprinciples which they argue have a direct bearing on decision-makers’ responses tointelligence:24 1. Creativity. In a world characterised by complex change “we cannot be content with familiar ideas, or assume that the future will be merely a projection of the present and the past.” Business managers tend to expect that the future will unfold as an extrapolation of the past. Not only does this reflect lazy thinking, it just isn’t true. 2. The quest for accurate, complete, and relevant factual information. Analysts are duty bound “to elicit, assess and present to [decision- makers] all the pertinent knowledge available and necessary to make policy that is thoroughly grounded in, and relevant to, the facts.” The aim is to focus on what is right “rather than who is right.” 3. The provision of a full range of feasible options. Intelligence systems must be “designed to ensure that clear policy choices reach the top so that various positions and alternatives can be debated fully.” 4. Crisis anticipation. “The better prepared we are in terms of foreknowledge and options, the more we can be the master rather than the slave of events once a crisis [or ‘predictable surprise’] breaks.” Consider how Johnson & Johnson, the giant healthcare company, responded so quickly and positively to the 1982 scandal which involved an unknown suspect(s) contaminating Tylenol® capsules with 65 milligrams of cyanide, resulting in seven deaths. Contrast this with TWA’s very different response to the 19th July 1996 crash of Flight 800 to Paris and Rome from New York, where all 230 people on-board perished. TWA was accused of incompetence and insensitivity in the way it responded to the needs of the victims’ families. The company was not prepared. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM - 12 -
  13. 13. 5. Systematic analysis. “Policy cannot be allowed to be merely the result of ad hoc piecemeal tactical decisions forced as kneejerk reactions to the immediate pressures of events.” Although “capability analysis is essential to policy making … someone has to make an educated guess as to intentions.” 6. The intelligence system must provide a means by which policy implementation can be reviewed, coordinated, and supervised. Put another way, “the intelligence function carries through the entire policy process from inception to conclusion, which includes monitoring implementation.” As might be expected, there is a counter argument to finding more creative ways topackage and distribute intelligence. In today’s budget-conscious companies it runs somethinglike this: “we trust you’re not suggesting that we support all our intelligence reporting withfilm or other types of multimedia and other ‘creative’ stuff; the money just isn’t there forthat.” Although we propose nothing of the kind, we do insist that if an intelligence product isworth preparing in the first place, and as long as it meets the generally accepted (andexpected) standards of objectivity and rigour that our craft demands, it should bedisseminated in the most powerful, most convincing way possible. This isn’t necessarilyeasy, but CI practitioners do not ‘sign up’ for “easy.” If in the shaping of an intelligenceproduct a story helps truly capture the interest of the decision-maker, use it. If an internally-produced or Hollywood film clip helps, use it. If raw HUMINT (within the protocolsgoverning intelligence source protection) helps, use it. We, in fact, created and built aconsultancy practice in Europe in the 1990s that provided, almost exclusively, HUMINTcollected by our research analysts on behalf of client firms – all major multinationals – inindustries as diverse as passenger aviation, phamaceuticals, telecommunications and tobacco.The HUMINT dimension to our product was, of course, in each instance unique, andsometimes explosive in terms of its impact. It never failed to intrigue and significantlyimprove our clients’ understanding of our findings and analysis. A strong HUMINTcomponent in an intelligence report can dramatically improve its overall credibility andvalue. Conclusion Decision-makers must be provided with product that they find bothcompelling and relevant to their needs and direct concerns. If intelligence does not meetthese tests it will, at best, be ignored. Our obligation is to sharpen up our act, to ensure thatwe forge more meaningful, more effective, and generally more robust relationships with ourconsumers, and that, in part, we do so by consistently disseminating intelligence in formatsand in a manner that arouses both their minds and their emotions. Finally, where possible,intelligence should be delivered in person, offering the advantage of almost immediatereview and feedback. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM - 13 -
  14. 14. 1 Michael S. Hawley and Bradley C. Marden, “FIM: A Business Information System for Intelligence”,International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2006, p. 443. 2 Kristan J. Wheaton, “The Revolution Begins on Page Five: The Changing Nature of NIEs”,International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2012, pp. 330-331. 3 See, e.g., L. Keith Gardiner, “Dealing with Intelligence-Policy Disconnects”, Studies in Intelligence,Vol. 33, No. 2, 1989, pp., 1-9; Douglas C. Bernhardt, “Consumer versus Producer: Overcoming the Disconnectbetween Management and Competitive Intelligence”, Competitive Intelligence Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1999,pp. 19-26; Centre for the Study of Intelligence, Intelligence and Policy: The Evolving Relationship, RoundtableReport, June 2004; Jack Davis, “Intelligence Analysts and Policymakers: Benefits and Dangers of Tensions inthe Relationship”, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 21, No. 6, 2006, pp. 999-1021; Christopher A. Ford,Relations between Intelligence Analysts and Policymakers: Lessons from Iraq (Washington, DC: HudsonInstitute, 2009). 4 Joshua Rovner, “Fixing the Facts or Missing the Mark: Intelligence, Policy and the War in Iraq”,Foreign Policy Research Institute E-note, October 2011. See 5 Stephen Marrin, Improving Intelligence Analysis: Bridging the gap between scholarship and practice(London: Routledge, 2011), p. 18. 6 Gary Hamel, The Future of Management (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2007). 7 See, for example: Richards J. Heuer, Jr., Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (Washington, DC: Centrefor the Study of Intelligence, 1999). 8 Joshua Rovner, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Ithaca, NY: CornellUniversity Press, 2011). 9 Ibid. 10 Market research tends to concern itself almost exclusively with the profitable marketing of a firm’sproducts or services. 11 See “IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century”, Intelligence Requirements Process,Staff Study Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives One Hundred FourthCongress, 1996, at 12 Douglas Bernhardt, “Intelligence versus Policy: Healthy Tension or Lost Cause?”, CompetitiveIntelligence Magazine, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2009, pp. 24-28. 13 “Graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge … [which] present complexinformation quickly and clearly.” See “Information graphics,” Wikipedia, (accessed 2 May 2012). 14 William G.A. Bernhardt, personal interview with the author, 2 May, 2012. 15 Ronald D. Garst and Max L. Gross, “On Becoming an Intelligence Analyst”, Defense IntelligenceJournal, Vol. 6. No. 2, 1997, pp. 47-59 16 Robert McKee claims to have educated and mentored over 55’000 screenwriters, novelists,playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers, and directors internationally. 17 Robert McKee, “Storytelling That Moves People”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 81, No. 6, 2003, pp.5-8. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid. 20 Karen Rothwell, “Three Words: Communication, Communication, Communication”, CompetitiveIntelligence Magazine, Vol. 11, No. 4, 2008, pp. 45-47. 21 Ibid. 22 Jon D. Clemente, “CIA’s Medical and Psychological Analysis Centre (MPAC) and the Health ofForeign Leaders”, International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2006, pp. 385-423. 23 Thomas Fleming, “Why I’m a listener: Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer”, McKinseyQuarterly, April 2012, available at n_Sharer_2956. © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM - 14 -
  15. 15. 24 James Murphy and K. Wayne Smith, “Making Intelligence Analysis Responsive to Policy Concerns”,Studies in Intelligence, No. 17, No. 2., released in full 22 September 1993. Available at © COPYRIGHT 2012 DOUGLAS BERNHARDT BCISS FORUM - 15 -