How to Collect Information

 

Collecting the information is a starting activity of analytical work. Quality of collected information determines the effectiveness of analysis. This is why collecting the information is so important stage of work.

Everything begins with Story describing the Situation of “Mission: Impossible.” This step seems redundant, just asking the appropriate questions might be enough. However, it is not redundant. The experts keep the entire Situation of “Mission: Impossible” in their minds in form of an integrated Story. Answering the questions is to them more difficult task than telling the Story.

Why? Answering the question means understanding which portion of Story is relevant to this answer, singling out this portion of Story by cutting the links with other portions, and formulating this portion as comprehensive independent story. Error in any of these steps results in erroneous answer.

So, why to complicate the experts’ work? If it is easier to them to tell the entire Story, so be it. The task of analyst is to write down this Story as accurately as possible. Then, both analyst and experts can easily answer the questions using this written Story.

The following Story could be taken from the movie synopsis (see Appendix 1):

Ethan Hunt is an agent and “point man” for an Impossible Missions Force (IMF) team, an unofficial branch of the CIA, led by Jim Phelps…

While in flight, Jim Phelps is given a tape containing a covert mission for his team. The team assembles in Prague to prevent an Eastern European diplomat, Golitsyn, from stealing a Non-official cover (NOC) list - a comprehensive list of all covert agents in Eastern Europe.

The mission runs smoothly, everyone achieves their mission goals and the team obtains video evidence of Golitsyn stealing the NOC list and exiting the building. Unfortunately, that’s when everything goes inextricably wrong. Over their radio frequency, Ethan hears his teammate Jack being killed by a spike after losing control of the elevator Golitsyn used to escape. Hannah Williams and Claire are killed near the Charles Bridge when their car is blown up with them inside. Jim himself is killed by an unseen assassin that he had reported was following him on the Charles Bridge. Sarah follows Ethan’s order to pursue Golitsyn but finds him being stabbed to death; the assassin grabs her and kills her as well. Ethan finds them both and realizes the disc Golitsyn had used is gone.

Fleeing the scene, Hunt stops at a pay phone to call his agency and alert them of the tragic outcome of their mission. Eugene Kittridge, the CIA-based director of the IMF, tells Ethan to meet him at a café. Ethan is surprised to find that Kittridge is in Prague too. Ethan, very much in shock, meets with Kittridge but soon realizes that they’re not alone; another IMF team is surrounding them, people Hunt recalls seeing at the embassy. When he questions Kittridge, Hunt is disturbed to learn that a mole has infiltrated the IMF with a cover name known only as “Job 3:14” and that the Prague operation was meant to ferret out the mole by allowing him to acquire the NOC list and attempt to sell it to Max, an illegal arms dealer known for corrupting IMF agents. The NOC list seen in Prague was a fake, the real list is being held at the CIA headquarters in Virginia. With Hunt being the sole survivor, Kittridge believes he is the mole they were looking for. Hunt realizes he’ll be taken into custody before he can clear his name.

Next step of analytical work is revealing the key components of model of “Mission: Impossible” situation. For this purpose, the following questions should be answered:

  1. What was the Intent?

    • The team assembles in Prague to prevent an Eastern European diplomat, Golitsyn, from stealing a Non-official cover (NOC) list - a comprehensive list of all covert agents in Eastern Europe.

  2. What Goal should be achieved?

    • Prevent Golitsyn from stealing a NOC list

  3. What Activity was conducted to achieve this Goal?

    • Carrying out IMF team operation

  4. What was the Circumstance hindering the Intent?

    • …a mole has infiltrated the IMF with a cover name known only as “Job 3:14”.

  5. Was this Circumstance beyond control of experts responsible for accomplishment of Mission?

    • Yes. Infiltration of a mole is beyond control of IMF team.

    • Comment: This question is a verification one. If Circumstance is within the experts’ control, it could be easily modified. If we deal with “Mission: Impossible” situation, this Circumstance cannot be modified by experts. If the answer to this question is “No,” we should reveal the Reason that causes occurrence of this Circumstance and is beyond the experts’ control.

  6. What bad things happened due to influence of this Circumstance?

    • …everything goes inextricably wrong. Over their radio frequency, Ethan hears his teammate Jack being killed by a spike after losing control of the elevator Golitsyn used to escape. Hannah Williams and Claire are killed near the Charles Bridge when their car is blown up with them inside. Jim himself is killed by an unseen assassin that he had reported was following him on the Charles Bridge. Sarah follows Ethan’s order to pursue Golitsyn but finds him being stabbed to death; the assassin grabs her and kills her as well. Ethan finds them both and realizes the disc Golitsyn had used is gone.

  7. What specific Requirement-1 was not met due to influence of this Circumstance?

    • IMF team suffers no losses during the operation

  8. Was this Requirement-1 imposed on achievement of Goal?

    • Yes. Operation should be planned so that no IMF team member dies or is injured.

    • Comment: This question is a verification one. If answer is “No,” we should reveal the Requirement that is imposed on achievement of Goal and is affected by Circumstance.

  9. What Corrective Action was made in order to comply with this Requirement-1?

    • Hunt reveals the mole

  10. What Obstacle hinders use of Corrective Action?

    • With Hunt being the sole survivor, Kittridge believes he is the mole they were looking for.

  11. What bad things happens due to influence of Obstacle?

    • The real mole remains at large and continues his harmful activities.

    • …mole… acquire the NOC list and attempt to sell it to Max, an illegal arms dealer known for corrupting IMF agents.

  12. What specific Requirement-2 was hindered by Obstacle?

    • IMF activities remain secret

  13. Was this Requirement-2 imposed on achievement of Goal?

    • Yes. Any operation of IMF team should remain secret.

    • Comment: This question is a verification one. If answer is “No,” we should reveal the Requirement that is imposed on achievement of Goal and is affected by Obstacle.

  14. Should this Requirement-2 be met by Corrective Action?

    • Yes. The purpose of revealing and capturing the mole is to prevent further leak.

    • Comment: This question is a verification one. If answer is “No,” we should reveal the Requirement that should be met by Corrective Action, but is affected by Obstacle.

  15. Was the Corrective Action the condition under which Obstacle could hinder the Requirement-2?

    • Yes. Only if Ethan Hunt was going to reveal the mole, Kittridge’s suspicion could hinder secrecy of IMF operations.

    • Comment: This question is a verification one. If answer is “No,” the Obstacle hinders Requirement-2 even when nobody takes the Corrective Action. Such Obstacle could be removed regardless of Corrective Action. We should reveal the Obstacle related to both Corrective Action and Requirement-2. Only in this case the situation is “Mission: Impossible” one.

 

Answers to these questions should be found within the Story of “Mission: Impossible.” If some answers are not mentioned in the Story, the appropriate questions should be put to the experts.

Then, these answers should be introduced to the model of “Mission: Impossible” situation. Here, in the model we show the numbers of appropriate questions / answers:

 

Fig. 6. Filling the model of “Mission: Impossible” situation

Case Study: Ethical Dilemma #3

 

The following story happens in vast majority of companies, again and again:

Company needs to evolve and grow its business. For this purpose, it needs many innovations.

However, some ideas are not good for implementation. If company tries to implement them, it will incur substantial losses.

In order to prevent such losses, company implemented the Stage-Gate process. Seasoned experts check “whether the ideas are good or not.” They serve as “gatekeepers” in this process.

In their daily duties, these experts are responsible for running the business smoothly. It means that they consider substantial changes as danger to business. As a result, they rather resist than accept implementation of efficient ideas.

 

What could be done to resolve this dilemma?

Let’s analyze this story.

We should start with Contradiction. It could be described as follows:

The fact that some ideas are not good for implementation hinders attempts to modify the business with innovations. In order to correct this hindrance, company appoints seasoned experts to check the new ideas. However, these experts are responsible for keeping business running properly, and this fact hinders their decisions on new ideas.

 

Now, we can define the Mission:

 

Company should accomplish evolution and growth of its business, while complying with requirements of incurring the minimum losses in implementation of ideas and implementing the efficient ideas.

Based on this understanding, we can formulate the Intent:

Accomplish evolution and growth of company business by modifying the business.

Also, we can formulate the other Links in the Model of “Mission: Impossible” situation:

The fact that some ideas are not good for implementation hinders compliance with requirement of incurring the minimum losses in implementation of ideas.

Modifying the business should enforce compliance with requirement of incurring the minimum losses in implementation of ideas.

Appointment of seasoned experts to check the new ideas should correct noncompliance with requirement of incurring the minimum losses in implementation of ideas.

Appointment of seasoned experts to check the new ideas should enforce compliance with requirement of implementing the efficient ideas.

The fact that experts are responsible for keeping business running properly hinders compliance with requirement of implementing the efficient ideas.

The model of “Mission: Impossible” situation looks like this:

 

Fig. 7. Experts become an insurmountable obstacle to innovations

CHAPTER II | "Mission: Impossible": How to Successfully Accomplish ItCase Study

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Len Kaplan

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Phone:

+1-904-329-0604

 

Email:

kapraz55@gmail.com

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