I’ve been known to disagree with Harvard eggheads before :-)
I’m interested in the debate mostly because of the interest in the Long Tail way of thinking in some circles of the intelligence community. I’ve written about the approach and its relevance to some intelligence issues (see “Tradecraft in the Long Tail” and “IARPA and the Virtual Long Tail“).
I’m just not certain that even a total debunking of the retail-oriented paradigm would undercut its value as applied to intelligence analysis.
For intelligence analysts, obscure “facts” and patterns hidden snugly within the low-scale noise are all important – whether or not they gain numerative bulk in any accumulative way. The paradoxical “unknown unknowns” are what’s being sought by dogged collection and analysis, and I’m not sure that’s analogous to Elberse’s acknowledged findings.
Your thoughts welcome, here or by email back to me.
Filed under: Government, Intelligence, Society, Technology Tagged: | analysis, analysts, Anita Elberse, Chris Anderson, Harvard, Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business School, HBR, HBS, IARPA, Intelligence, Intelligence Community, long tail, research, social science, social sciences