New editions of Strategic Game and Organic Design

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These two briefings are elaborations of themes that Boyd introduced in “Destruction and Creation” and Patterns of Conflict:

  • Strategic Game includes a long section on how operating at a faster tempo than an opponent can cause him to collapse. Frankly, I think Boyd made a mistake by devoting so much space to this topic (six pages) because it has fixed the notion of rapid tempo in people’s minds as the essence of Boyd’s strategy. Worse, some people confuse “rapid tempo” with “rapid OODA loop” (which appears in none of Boyd’s briefings).  It’s worth pointing out that he entitled this section “Illuminating Example,” not “essence of my theory” or some such. In fact, the very next chart explains the purpose of the “illuminating example,” which is the justification for building snowmobiles (and which is the essence of his theory as made clear in his “Revelation”):

We can’t just look at our own personal experiences or use the same mental recipes over and over again; we’ve got to look at other disciplines and activities and relate or connect them to what we know from our experiences and the strategic world we live in. If we can do this, we will be able to surface new repertoires and (hopefully) develop Fingerspitzengefühl for folding our adversaries back inside themselves, morally-mentally-physically—so that they can neither appreciate nor cope with what’s happening—without suffering the same fate ourselves.

This is, incidentally, the only mention of the German word Fingerspitzengefühl in any of Boyd’s material.

  • Organic Design is an ode to implicitness, continuing a theme he began back in charts 78 and 79 of Patterns. The word “implicit” occurs some 20 times in this short presentation, including in his definition of “orientation” (chart 15) and in discussions of the inherently implicit nature of human beings (charts 2, 19, 21, 22, etc.). It’s worth pointing out that Boyd did not draw a clear distinction between the concepts of “intuitive” and “implicit.” The briefing concludes with his re-conceptualization of command & control.

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