I just finished an intel course where only 1 of the group had analytical background. The rest were made up of operational and a few HR people - jip, doesn't make sense. At first I thought :"Oh boy, this is going to be soo tedious..". On request of the client, there was quite a few things to cover , so I had to pressure them from day one. Prepare a research proposal, this is how you do research, write a paper, this is where intel comes from and this is the role that the analyst play in this business...I could sense serious cognitive dissonance by the end of day 1 and thought it was time to bring along my puzzles. Now I know that many of you out there cringe by the mere thought of using puzzles in intel analysis training. Our world just does not work that way, you might say.
I know that, but the lessons learnt in terms of categorising, sifting, frameworking, logical steps, collaboration is so powerful - because there are 4 puzzles of different difficulty all thrown together and people have to talk to each other to make sense of the mess!For Europeans, puzzles are old hat. But for many Africans, puzzles were not a part of their education and upbringing. Everytime I'm thrilled about the enthusiasm and understanding that this "simple" playing provide in a class where most people should have at least a bachelors degree, but many don't. So after 2 weeks of an intensive intel analysis course, with a nice complex case study, I was yet again pleasantly suprised by the comments from the non-analysts: "a real eye opener", "fantastic to see it from the analyst's viewpoint", "going to change the way I look at any information" to "things are never as they seem".