The Weekly Profile: with the goal of helping to find common ground and innovative solutions by learning from people and perspectives in the military, business, technology, security and more.
Here are five articles, podcasts or videos we read, watched and listened to this week and wanted to pass along.
1. “ The Red Queen Problem: Innovation In the Defense Department and Intelligence Community.” This War on the Rocks article is written by author and entrepreneur Steve Blank to highlight solutions to many of the problems the government faces when trying to innovate. Beginning with a comparison between the approach to innovation we could use during the Cold War with the threats we face today (and how that impacts innovation), he moves into six problems and solutions that can help move organizations past simply putting the word innovation into their mission statement and then continuing with business as usual.
If you are familiar with lean manufacturing concepts or how it relates to product development, you might notice that his check for “solution/mission fit” is the same as companies searching for “product/market fit” and while at first I thought the author was just trying to relate it to the website’s military audience, after thinking about it, it really does translate the lean concepts from a business setting and into a military/government focus. As one of the major goals for The Weekly Profile is to help our subscribers find common ground between the problem they face in their field and how people have faced similar challenges in other professions, this article was one that had to be included and shared this week. You can read it here.
Follow On Reading: If you enjoyed this article, we recommend that you take a look at the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, which expands on the innovation cycle that Steve Blank discussed. While there are some aspects of the approach to product development that should be thought through by people working with the government or with first responders – specifically knowing where the consequences for undeveloped ideas lands and whether you will be putting someone’s life at risk – for those looking to bring innovation to the DoD or Intelligence Community, it could prove to be a great resource. You can learn more or pick the book up on Amazon by clicking here.
2. “These 13 Exercises Will Prepare You For Work’s Toughest Situations.” In what she calls “dynamic empathy,” the VP of Content for Nerdwallet (a finance focused website) explains how you can quickly gain an understanding of how a colleague feels so that you can figure out how to act on it in a swiftly changing environment. Using 13 different scenarios that she used to learn the skill, she has created lists of questions that you ask yourself (this is an internal exercise) that can be prepared and thought through ahead of time to ensure you are prepared to consider other people’s motivations in tough situations.
If you are getting ready to give a performance review, take a look at Scenario #1 in the list. When managing conflict and attempting to de-escalate a situation take a look at Scenario #8. If you are building and instituting new processes, consider Scenario #4. Having issues managing up and working with your boss? Consider Scenario #2. If you are an instructor or trainer, look through Scenario #5. Negotiating? Scenario #6. Regardless of your role, there is a high likelihood that one of the 13 scenarios in this article can help you and that is why we recommend you take a look at this article, which you can find here.
3. “Podcast: A Counterintelligence Expert’s Five Rules To Lead and Succeed.” Robin Dreeke, a former Marine Corps Officer and an FBI agent who had a career in doing counter-intelligence work with their behavioral analysis program, talks with Brett McKay about his new book The Code of Trust. We found his interview to be very interesting as he takes a look at some of the techniques that go into validating others and actually building trusting relationships. While mistrust of people, companies, governments and products seems to be pretty rampant today, Dreeke’s approach isn’t about doing anything that gives people a reason to walk all over you, simply trying to be nice to others or dishing out flattery. It is about thinking about situations from the other person’s perspective and being able to address their needs, their concerns and allow them to accomplish their goals, which in turn, also works out for you as well. You can listen to the podcast here.
4. “Crime as Jihad: Developments in the Crime-Terror Nexus In Europe.” This article from The Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point looks at the connections between criminals becoming involved in jihadism using data from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, England and France and the striking percentage of people who had criminal records before traveling to fight in Iraq or Syria. As the authors to the article point out, it isn’t just the fact that they are criminals that is important, but the reality that their criminality is relevant to their extremism, how they radicalize into violence and how they operate once radicalized.
For those of you who are students of terror and the threat that these individuals and organizations pose, this article takes a look at how the Islamic State has been encouraging “regular” crime. It highlights a few cases of criminals-turned-jihadists and looks at where future research needs to be focused as we consider the fact that of the 580 people sentenced in Europe in 2016 who had ties to terrorism, the average sentence was only five years, which connects the risk level of terrorist attacker with our calendar. You can read the article here.
5. “Wag, The ‘Uber for Dog-Walking,’ Is Drawing Uber-Like Scrutiny.” Here is a bit of a lighter article to end this week on. This Bloomberg Technology article takes a look at Wag, the on-demand dog walking company that is reported to be raising around $100 million dollars in it’s third round of financing. The problem however, is that “every time a pet dies or goes missing, Wag and Rover (a similar company) take a public relations hit,” which is starting to cause concerns for investors. Yes, you read that correctly. A problem that the company is facing is that there is an actual risk of a dog going missing or dying during their walk. Apparently, this has become a big enough problem where the company has stood up “a dedicated team to handle dog rescues.” It has gotten to the point where one former customer (who allegedly turned down $2,500 and a trip to Disney World in compensation for her dog going missing on a walk) received a threatening cease and desist letter from the company after she turned to social media to voice her concerns about the company. You can learn more about the story and read the article here.
Until next week – get left of bang and stay there.
Patrick and Jonathan
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About The Author: Patrick Van Horne
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