Cognitive Readiness: The Future for Success?


Cognitive Readiness: The Future for Success?

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 - 9:58
As government moves forward into the 21st century, emerging cognitive technologies can spur better mission performance.

Most of us would likely agree that organizations today benefit from the digitization, sharing, and integration of data. But data without the application of analytics just leaves us with big unusable data. We all know this because we experience it regularly. But, what if we could apply traditional analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to create new insights for improved decision-making? Well, that would be great, but where should we focus this new technology? I would propose in the area of readiness. Although readiness is a term frequently associated with defense and national security, I would propose that readiness is something that can support all missions of government.

All organizations strive to build readiness in order to effectively and efficiently shape their ability to execute their mission. Success is often measured by various performance metrics and leaders are constantly in the search for the perfect strategy that can optimize outcomes. Unfortunately, much of the time, the information needed to make the best decisions simply isn’t available. What is needed is something I call, “Cognitive Readiness.”

Cognitive readiness is the application of cognitive analytics powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a situational understanding or common operating picture (COP) of the readiness of an organization (i.e., people, training, equipment). One way to look at AI is to think of it in terms of what questions do you want answered through the integration of digitized big data and through the iterative process of analytics enhanced by machine-learning.

An organization must be able to meet current and future requirements – this means being ready to execute mission requirements always. However, budgets do not often allow us to buy unlimited readiness in all areas. So how do we build and sustain readiness? I would propose by deploying and leveraging technology. Readiness in any agency or organization takes money and time to achieve. Senior leaders must make decisions on how and where to place emphasis (i.e., resources) to get the best return on readiness investment as measured by established metrics. To determine the factors and sub-factors associated with poor readiness, it requires significant effort on the part of staffs.

What is needed is the ability to track and assess readiness in real-time or near real time. Concurrently, it is essential to deep dive into readiness data that indicates substandard levels and tease out the specific cause and effect conditions. This information could then be presented to senior leadership so they can make quicker and better decisions to adjust the road to readiness. Minimizing the “hunt within the data” will allow the staff and other leaders to spend more of their time leading. This capability is available through big data integration with cognitive analytics. Furthermore, anticipating an event and/or predictive forecasting could be leveraged. This would give leaders valuable insights, a priori, as to what scenarios and decisions would provide the highest impact on readiness.

Is cognitive readiness the future for success? I believe so!