Information is all around us, constantly bombarding us in every direction.
News media, social media, friends and family – each one competing for your time, energy and attention.
Intelligence professionals know that without verification, information is useless.
Think about the last time a parent or trusted friend sent you an article, or a headline even, then followed with comments because they made a decision based solely on a headline.
Agencies and private firms around the globe use this process to get the answers their clients needs.
The process can be broken up into four steps.
Collection – gathering information from appropriate sources and methods.
Processing – sorting, reviewing and analyzing all collected information.
Exploitation – using the analyzed information to inform your next move.
Feedback – take what was helpful, throw out what was not; repeat.
In short, intelligence is about action.
The intelligence cycle is a closed loop that has you collecting information, synthesizing that information into intelligence, acting on that intelligence, then observing the results and finally adjusting as necessary; wash – rinse – observe – repeat.
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