30 November 2008

Link of the Day

Not a military link per se, but it does apply to the current War on Terror.

The US has adapted from a large Cold War-era force prepared to fight conventional battles to a much leaner, expeditionary counter-insurgency force. This didn't happen overnight. Retired LT. Col. John Nagl, author of a book on counter-insurgency called "Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife" noted that successful counter-insurgent forces were "learning organizations", adapting to the enemy's tactics. They did this largely by accepting "bottom-up" suggestions in revising their tactics--taking the input of sergeants and junior officers, many of whom are not constrained by conventional thinking on the ways of war.

Today's link of the day is entitled "Does Experience Kill the Creative Mind". A quote:

"This so-called curse of knowledge, a phrase used in a 1989 paper in The Journal of Political Economy, means that once you've become an expert in a particular subject, it's hard to imagine not knowing what you do," noted a New York Times feature about a year ago. "When it's time to accomplish a task ... those in the know get it done the way it has always been done, stifling innovation as they barrel along the well-worn path."

The New York Times cites the 2006 book The Innovation Killer, in which author Cynthia Barton Rabe suggests introducing outsiders — those she calls zero-gravity thinkers — for a fresh perspective. Bringing in fresh eyes can foster new solutions to old problems and, Rabe proposes, will keep creativity and innovation on track.

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