Monday, February 19, 2007

Inside the OODA Loop ...

BB NOTE: From Wiki: The accompanying diagram shows a decision cycle known as the Boyd cycle, or the OODA loop. It has become an important concept in both business and military strategy. According to John Boyd, decision-making occurs in a cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (either an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby "get inside" the opponent's decision cycle and gain a military or business advantage.

John Boyd developed the concept to explain how to direct one's energies to defeat an enemy and survive. Boyd emphasised that "the loop" is actually a set of interacting loops that are to be kept in continuous operation during combat. He also indicated that the phase of the battle has an important bearing on the ideal allocation of one's energies.

"In order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries--or, better yet, get inside [the] adversary's Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action time cycle or loop. ... Such activity will make us appear ambiguous (unpredictable) thereby generate confusion and disorder among our adversaries--since our adversaries will be unable to generate mental images or pictures that agree with the menacing as well as faster transient rhythm or patterns they are competing against." (John Boyd, "Patterns of Conflict" presentation)

The OODA loop that focuses on strategic military requirements, was adapted for business and public sector operational continuity planning. Compare it with the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle or Shewhart cycle, which focuses on the operational or tactical level of projects.

As one of Boyd's colleagues, Harry Hillaker, put it in his article "John Boyd, USAF Retired, Father of the F16": The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.

Read more here.

BB NOTE: My Brother the Methodist told me about this military concept. It has proved helpful to consider as we await the final word from the Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Robert Greene has a sick post about this too.