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Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Safe is Risky

Seth Godin markets the slogan Safe is Risky. Presumably the converse slogan also applies: Risky is Safe.

Seth's latest example is of a book launched on Amazon before the US election, which predicted the result. Of course, a clever but cautious journalist could write two different books before the election, with two different titles. If one of the books was a best-seller, it wouldn't matter that the other was a flop. If this is risk, it looks like a pretty safe kind of risk.

Meanwhile military thinkers such as David Alberts are adopting new modes of decision-making in relation to risk. Here is a brief summary of one aspect of this, posted by USN LDO (Ret).

The old way (conventional way) of decision-making… waiting to gather the maximum amount of information (intelligence) possible, minimizing (or what you think is minimizing) risk, and focusing on (more like worrying about) the unknowns (instead of focusing on what you do know). Instead, we should make decisions rapidly (with “relative” speed) focusing on what is known in order to cease the initiative and disrupt (get into) the enemy’s decision cycle.

Several brilliant and thought-provoking works by Alberts are available free from the DODCCP website.

Update: I have removed the link to the Military Transformation blog, formerly maintained by USN LDO (Ret), because the domain appears to have been captured by someone else. I remain grateful to USN LDO (Ret) for introducing me to Alberts, but I am now a little embarrassed that I reproduced his rather clumsy and mis-spelled summary, rather than taking the trouble to write one myself. My apologies to racingsnake, and to Alberts himself.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... It strikes me that I might have more faith in Alberts' arguments if he knew the difference between "ceasing" [sic] the initiative and seizing it. But perhaps I'm very old-fashioned. ;^)