Information ≠ Intelligence

Information ≠ Intelligence.

Information + Context + Sense-Making = Intelligence

Our mental models, implicit biases, intuition, schemata, & abstractions live in the Orient phase of Boyd’s OODA. They are etched through our lifetime of experiences & exposures. They’re the patterns, baselines, & frames of reference for how we make sense of new Observations.

Intelligence, aside from being a noun of sorts, can also be a process.

It’s the cycle of taking new information, comparing it to previous understandings & wisdom, breaking it apart (analyzing), combining it, & forming or synthesizing new mental models. We tend to call this process learning.

Formal intelligence (as a noun) is a more explicitly shared insight for group or team sense-making. It accelerates the process of refining our existing baselines into something more accurate & in greater harmony with reality.

Intelligence comes in many forms. Confidential reports to corporate decision-makers. Analytical reports for police or military. Stories we tell children. Church sermons.

With access to so much data, facts, & knowledge, consider how we can dress it up to be much more useful.

Better intelligence (better Orientation) ultimately leads to faster, more precise cycles through OODA.

This is important in a fast-paced, complex world.


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a detective supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. He's focused on multi-jurisdictional crime patterns & intelligence, through organic working groups compromised of investigators & analysts from a variety of agencies. With a passion for training, he studies human performance, decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, & adaptability. In 2021, he went back to college (remotely!), in hopes to finally finish his undergrad degree from the University of Illinois - Gies College of Business. Follow Lou on LinkedIn, & also the LinkedIn page for The Illinois Model***


  1. Andrew Casavant1/14/23, 10:39 AM

    As usual great information; you do an excellent job of putting what could be very complex information into layperson's terms and making it sound.

    1. Thanks, Andy. Academic gobbledygook helps nobody.


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