What I’m Reading: November 2018 — Analysis, Creativity, Innovation, Globalism, Cyber Security, Media Manipulation, and Mystery Science Theater

Here are the articles I found interesting in November 2018:

What Great Data Analysts Do — and Why Every Organization Needs Them — Harvard Business Review, 12/4/2018

Written by Google’s Chief Decision Scientist, this article discusses the importance of analysts over data scientists and machine learning experts. While the latter two are prized for the amount of information they can wield, it is the analyst that makes sense of their findings and asks questions outside of the deep data lane. For many businesses, it is often what they don’t know that affects them the most.

And this might be the best line on analysis I have read in a long time.

“Analysts are data storytellers. Their mandate is to summarize interesting facts and to use data for inspiration.”

These 5 questions kill creativity — Fast Company, 11/15/2018

Interesting article about how many people struggle with Creativity. The article addresses many people’s concerns about creativity, dissects them, and proves they are obstacles that can be overcome. I particularly enjoyed the section about becoming a “maker” instead of “manager”. Personally, I believe Creativity is a muscle similar to mathematics, speaking a language, or playing music. All of these require a type of thought where practice builds ability.

Why Are We Making Innovation So Complex? — Paul4Innovating.com, 10/29/2018

This article explores why companies struggle with innovation. Innovation’s risk and complexity are difficult for some companies to accept. It then laid out 10 types of corporate innovation programs, some of which are really good and used by many big successful corporations. While I like this article in concept, I don’t like how it speaks from high theoretical level. For example, who is the audience? How is that audience supposed to use this article to benefit a corporation?

Transforming to an Agile Mindset, Part Two — Solutions IQ.com, 11/21/2018

This article discusses the need for business thinkers and strategists to be Agile. Instead of stockpiling background data, businesses need to get in front of a problem, create fast solutions, and conduct trial and error. Especially in product creation markets. Unfortunately, bureaucracy stands in the way of Agile. People ask for permission to be creative. Of course, the author mentions Skunkworks and other small segmented creative ventures.

Strategic Design for the Complex Realm — Strategy Bridge.com, 11/28/2018

This article discusses how the US Department of Defense should rethink planning from a deliberate planning process that is based on end-states to a more flexible strategic design processes that evolves and adapts. While I am prone to agree with the article on the fact that the military bases too much of its planning on inflexible end states, the article is far-fetched and based on fantasy if it thinks the entire structure of US military planning will change. While integration, innovation, and adaption is a good model, the US defense planning complex has far too many entrenched processes to change to strategic design in the near future. It would take instruction and implementation from the top.

18 Cognitive Bias Examples Show Why Mental Mistakes Get Made — Visual Capitalist.com, 3/3/2018

An article from a several months ago, but still important. Too often humans take mental shortcuts. They are often made by biases that we often don’t know we have. This article lists those biases and puts them in financial, social, short-termism, and failure to estimate buckets. It is important to know not only the mistakes you might be making, but also how to appeal to others’ weaknesses. Being aware of cognitive biases is important.

Why We Need to Make Life Long Learning an National Imperative — Fast Company, 11/30/2018

Good article by a US Senator on how the US government should prioritize learning in its workforce. The US is becoming noncompetitive in the global market because training is focused on middle and upper levels of the workforce and not on the working class. This is the class that tends not to be able to afford training unless it is sponsored by willing companies. The solutions in this article provide ideas to fix that problem.

Business model of the intelligence community needs an upgrade — The Hill, 10/24/2018

Having experience in the Intelligence Community, I thought this article was good, but not great. It slightly misses the point. The article encourages an organization parallel with the classified Intelligence Community that focuses primarily on Unclassified or open source intelligence. While I agree that open source intelligence does need to be better integrated in the classified realm, that is not the biggest need for the Intelligence Community’s business model. And isn’t open source research what interns and college students interested in the IC can do?

Globalization 4.0 — what it means and how it could benefit us all — World Economic Forum, 11/5/2018

Interesting article by the founder of the World Economic Forum. He details many of the problems that globalism has created, such as inequality and nationalist pushback, and discusses how we still need global solutions because globalism is not going to slow down. This seemed like an introductory paper. I would like to see details on how global forums such as the World Economic Forum can better prepare the world for global issues such as inequality, climate change, and cyber threats. It means well, and speaks a good game, but is it irrelevant?

What is adversarial artificial intelligence and why does it matter? — World Economic Forum, 11/21/2018

Written by the Head of Operations of the Centre for Cybersecurity, this article discusses how Artificial Intelligence will change cyber attacks. Artificial Intelligence allows for rapid learning systems that can attack over a large platform at any time. Knowing every door can be knocked on loudly all the time means defense systems need to be well-trained, agile, and secure. This article gives advice how to defend against these evolving threats.

New Boom in Facial Recognition Tech Prompts Privacy Alarms — ThreatPost.com, 11/12/2018

Good article on the progression of facial recognition technology and how it’s use is now being watched by privacy watchgroups. While Americans and most of the world has become numb to the fact that they are almost always been watched, the concern is that these camera will be used to oppress societies. Any surveillance tech can be misused. It will be interesting to see how the US and other nations react to facial recognition technology. Will it be abused? Will be controlled?

Americans are fed up with being manipulated online — Fast Company, 11/16/2018

Quick but important read on how Americans feel about social media algorithms. They know they are misleading and controlling, yet as the article reminds us, that is the social media business model. I would like to see a deep dive into this — especially by age group. Are young people more likely to be affected by social media? Or are they more suspicious so more reserved in their emotions? If so, there is hope.

Facebook Groups are “the greatest short-term threat to election news and information integrity” — Nieman Labs, 11/12/2018

As misleading and disinformational sources are uncovered throughout social media, they are burrowing deeper into the Facebook privacy controls. Facebook private groups are rarely checkable and their audience becomes an insulated and isolated island of thought. Because Facebook is the uncontrollable Frankenstein monster of the internet, this could greatly impact how people think about the big issues of the day.

Also of note, the article discusses how politics is seeping in to LinkedIn. It is policed more and the users are more cautious, but its use as a political platform is growing.

A First Glimpse through the Data Window onto the Internet Research Agency’s Twitter Operations — Medium.com, 10/18/2018

Long but informative article on how Russia influence operations used Twitter from 2009 to 2018. At first they started with generic hashtags and then moved to more politically charged hashtags such as MAGA or BlackLivesMatter. From there, they retweeted and engaged in conversations with influencers, including themselves, in order to sow discord in US politics. From a marketing perspective, this is fascinating. From a democracy perspective, it is horrifying.

To Get to Zero Botnets, Don’t Wait for Governments to Lead — Council on Foreign Relations, 11/26/2018

This article advocates private companies take the lead in cleaning up the internet of botnets and other remotely controlled networks. According to the article, taking down botnets is only done sporadically by small organizations as part of a cybersecurity effort. The article advocates companies whose sole purpose would be to engage and remove botnets. This would be a very good initiative if there was profit to do so.

‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ at 30: How a Cult TV Show Changed Pop Culture — Rolling Stone, 11/24/2018

Fantastic article about the origin and impact of Mystery Science Theater 3000. What started as a small local cable show became the model for so many imitators discussing (or riffing) on pop culture. It made commentary into entertainment and through the years has grown in popularity, but not lost its do-it-yourself charm. They may always be underground, but their impact is no mystery.

Writer. Analyst. Instructor. Sometimes serious. Sometimes creative. Just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.