Thursday, March 15, 2012

Summary of Findings (White Team): Multi-Criteria Intelligence Matrix (3 out of 5 Stars)

Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst College on 15 March 2012 regarding MCIM specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.

Description: What is Multi-Criteria Intelligence Matrices?
Multi-Criteria Intelligence Matrices (MCIM) is a family of analytical intelligence methods adapted from Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) that is used to identify likely courses of action to screen against various criteria. MCIM is used to reduce uncertainty regarding likely outcomes and decisions of non-self actors. It uses an MCDM table matrix to convert primarily qualitative information into quantitative data.

  • Helps to reduce uncertainty
  • Relevant to many different types of decisions
  • Assists in converting qualitative data into quantitative data
  • Assists in defining key issues in a group setting
  • Helps in analyzing the decision making process of non-self actors  
  • Improper weighting of criteria can result in a single contentious data point completely changing the output of a decision matrix.
  • Difficult-to-quantify indicators/criteria can cost time and confuse discussion.
  • Due to limits on time and effort, relevancy is a key factor in determining whether COAs/criteria should be included.
  • Assumes there is a finite number of COAs
  • Highly subjective evaluation in some cases
  • Easily manipulated or skewed.
  • Identify question/objective
  • Identify possible courses of action (COAs)
  • Screen COA's 
  • Identify criteria by which to rate the COAs
  • Weight criteria by importance (weight serves as a score multiplier)
  • Identify 
  • Identify a scoring scale (1 to 3 and 1 to 5 are common)
  • Evaluate each COA according to each criteria, entering the appropriate score on the scoring scale
  • If in a group situation, there is likely to be discussion/dissension while scoring some criteria.
  • Multiply the score in each cell of the matrix by the weighting of its criteria.
  • Enter the sum of each COA's scores in the far-right Totals column.
  • The highest Total score is the most likely/optimal COA for the question or objective under consideration.
Personal Application of Technique:
For the activity, the class was divided into two teams and given a question, along with a blank MCDM table matrix. The teams were given 15 minutes to complete the matrices.
Q1 - What actions will the Iranian government take in the next 60 days regarding its production of enriched uranium, and protecting its nuclear program?
Q2 -  What is the timeline for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan?

Each group was tasked with preliminary discussion/research of the question, and then asked to fill in the matrix as a team. Q2 Team (White Team) completed the matrix using only general knowledge of the topic.The criteria were weighted relatively, based on group agreement. Through this exercise, the class discovered practical strengths and weaknesses (included above) of trying to apply this method in a team setting.

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