One of the problems talking about intelligence is that people may use the word to refer to a number of different concepts.
- Signals and their content - intelligence as raw material for sense-making and decision making
- Expertise - intelligence as the individual and collective ability to reason efficiently about significant questions - Wilensky discusses several different types of expertise, which may be mobilized in an intelligent organization
- Function - a set of processes for acquiring and deploying intelligence as required across the organization, typically operated by a specialist organization unit
- Strategic capability - intelligence as a property of an organization, enabling it to operate effectively in volatile environments
Value of intelligenceIn Chapter Two, Wilensky argues that an intelligence function has particular value and relevance for large organizations in complex environments. He identifies three key specialist roles, contributing to his notion of organizational intelligence, and identifies three factors creating particular need for these three roles.
|Contact men, responsible for liaison and communication with the external environment, This role is similar to the "Resource Investigator" team role identified by Belbin.||Especially needed when an organization is in conflict with its social environment or depends on it for the achievement of its central goals (p10).|
|Internal communications specialist, responsible for liaison and coordination inside the organization.||Especially needed when an organization depends on the unity and support of persons, groups, factions or parties within its membership for the achievement of its central goals (p13).|
|Facts and figures men. These are responsible for building and deploying analytic models and methods. More recently known as quants or wonks.||Especially needed when an organization sees its external environment and internal operations as rationalized - that is, as subject to discernible, predictable uniformities in relationships among significant objects (p14).|
Wilensky's argument now looks dated, not only because of his assumption that these roles would be filled by men, but also because of his trust in rational and predictable analytical models, which would now be seen as unrealistic and simplistic. However, it seems like a good historical starting point for starting to think about a division of labour / expertise within the intelligence function and beyond.
... to be continued