Tuesday, June 10, 2008

From the Bottom-Up: Building the 21st Century Intelligence Community

Overview: The speakers will brief the technical and cultural changes underway at the CIA and across the Intelligence Community involving the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools including Intellipedia, blogs, and social tagging. These tools are being used to improve information sharing by moving information out of traditional channels and onto platforms.

  • Don Burke, Intellipedia Doyen, CIA
  • Sean Dennehy, Intellipedia Evangelist, CIA
My Notes:

is built on Media wiki (like wikipedia). It actually consists of three networks: (1) Sensitive, but non-secret, (2) Top Secret Network and (3) Secret. They have video system like Youtube (but for spies.) They have tagging, blogs. a document management system, RSS and photo gallery (like Flickr).

They pulled up Intellipedia from the non-classified site. They showed the Simple Sabotage Manual from the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA) with ways to infiltrate an organization. One question from the manual was whether a decision lies in your purview or with someone else. People are looking for someone else to say it is okay.

The intelligence community debate started with a paper from Dr. Calvin Andrus: The Wiki and the Blog: Toward a Complex Adaptive Intelligence Community.

"Wikis do not work in theory only in practice."

The history feature of the wiki is great tool for the CIA. It can answer the question of what they knew and when.

Unlike wikipedia, they require a logon to edit content (you do not need to logon to see content.) This authorship gives credit to the author and helps build the community.

They do not want to be an encyclopedia. They do not have the "deletionists" of wikipedia.

They have conflicting reporting. They do not always have all the facts. They have bits and pieces that need to be assembled. The do not believe in the neutral point of view. They take the attributable point of view. It is important to associate content with authorship to show interest in the community.

They are still in the early adoption phase. There is a big cultural change. This is a group that is used to keeping information to themselves. These evangelists were told that their tool would "get people killed."

Their three core principles:
  • Work at broadest audience possible - stop keeping everything in safes (sure some things need to stay in safes)
  • Think topically, not organizationally
  • Replace existing business processes - Blog instead of email. Open platform instead of channel. Do not treat it as a separate tasks. Replace the task.

They do not think it is an age thing. Their biggest contributor is 69 with over 40 years of service. Younger workers need to be told to use the tools this way to engage in this new process.

If you want to encourage the use of tools. Look in the mirror. You should use your tools. (I say eat what you cook.)

They no longer use powerpoint. They use intellepedia pages. (Not sure if this is CIA wide or just these two evangelists.)

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