- How to Make Sense of Weak Signals
- LISTEN TO WEAK SIGNALS
- CIA INSIDER TIP: AVERT FAILURES BY READING ‘WEAK SIGNALS’
- Selecting weak signals and building in diversity and equity
First, we have to actually pay attention to them. Our default is to ignore them as unimportant. That means we have to have a way of making them stand out. Most importantly, we have to conserve the meaning in the story of any weak signal instead of homogenizing that meaning or averaging it or abstracting it through ordinary statistical analysis. That is one of the strength’s of SenseMaker. It’s function is first of all to make raw weak signals stand out in a number of ways. We need to do the same.
Then, we have to ask ourselves about the value of the narratives we have acquired to support or undermine positive change. This isn’t simple to do. But our first order goal with these signals is to increase the ones that support positive change and decrease the ones that undermine it. Because these are weak signals, it is feasible for us to try out ways to do both of these in time frames that let us change our approach as we learn which weak signals we can effectively increase and decrease, and when we need to look at different initiatives to produce these outcomes.
The reason why this works at all in trying to change a CAS is that the cycle of experiment and evaluation is short. Such an approach respects the dispositional nature of CAS and doesn’t require us to use prediction and mechanical outcomes as the signs of progress.