Collecting the Dots: Problem Formulation and Solution Elements

Collecting the Dots: Problem Formulation and Solution Elements

Collecting the Dots: Problem Formulation and Solution Elements

Collecting the Dots: Problem Formulation and Solution Elements

Excerpt

Across a wide variety of endeavors ‘from homeland security to foreign intelligence,criminal investigation,public health,and system safety’ failure to anticipate disaster has been ascribed to the inability to connect the dots. This paper argues that to connect the dots, one must first collect the dots. All too often,,the inability to foresee trouble has come about because pieces of information sit in this or that head.Were they combined,trouble would be easier to foresee, but when each stands alone,no compelling conclusions suggest themselves.This paper investigates some of the barriers to circulating telltale information and describes some approaches –institutional,social, and technological –that would begin to bring information together in a meaningful way.

This paper results from the RAND Corporation 's continuing program of self-sponsored independent research.Support for such research is provided,in part,by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND 's contracts for the operation of its U.S.Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers.It is expected to be of interest to the broad policy making community,particularly those who are concerned about how to recognize and thereby avert disastrous events.

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