Skills of CI analysts and collectorsPosted: May 25, 2016
May 25, 2016
When talking about the different skills of CI analysts and data collectors, I often use the example of two fictional detectives: Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. For those who are not familiar with these two, let me give a brief summary:
Nero Wolfe was a large (1/7th of a ton) man who rarely left his New York residence. He usually sent a detective, Archie Goodwin, to collect evidence for him to analyze at his home, where he always solved the mystery.
So I point to Nero as the ultimate analyst and Archie as the ultimate collector. (BTW, my brief description does not do justice to a series of over 3 dozen wonderful detective novels.)
However, when assigning tasks, hiring staff, or evaluating your own skills, you need a little more guidance. Let me provide a working list of some key skills for analysts and for data collectors. For you DIYers, use this to see where you are strong, and, more importantly, where you are not:
|For CI Collectors||For CI Analysts|
|Quickly identify and master relevant primary and secondary sources, their reliability, and validity||Analyze creatively – be able to put yourself in someone else’s place|
|Know how to access and manage both internal (i.e., networks) and external resources||Use both inductive and deductive reasoning|
|Recognize anomalies in data and work around them||Have overview of basic analytical models and ability to apply them|
|Continuously develop and refine research skills||Know when to use advanced analytical tools such as psychological profiling, patent mapping, etc.|
|Understand when and how to apply elicitation interviewing techniques||Recognize and deal with inevitable existence of intelligence gaps and blind spots, both personal and of data sources|
|Know when to stop collecting data||Know when to stop analyzing data|
|Adhere to ethics and policies associated with data gathering||Develop and deliver actionable analyses and recommendations|
 This list is heavily adapted from a working list I developed in conjunction with Dr. Ben Gilad several years ago.