Saturday, December 10, 2005

I am going to give a presentation - "Building Sustainable Knowledge Management Programs" to the KM Group at Parsons Brinkerhoff in Denver.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I will be chairing a panel discussion during the International Conference of Information Systems (Las Vegas) on Information Systems Research that Really Matters: Moving Beyond the Rigor and Relevance Debate. Panel members are: Rick Watson (University of Georgia), Bob Galliers (Bentley College and London School of Economics), Omar El Sawy (University of Southern California), and Claudia Loebbecke (University of Cologne). We will document the findings of the panel in an article to be published in the Communications of the AIS.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I will be spending the next few days writing a research report along with my colleagues from the American Productivity and Quality Center, in Houston, Texas. We just finished our data collection and data analysis phases of our research project, "Leveraging Knowledge Across the Value Chain".

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I passed the defense! Now, I move on to the next phase - life as a professor.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I will be attending the Edge Project Research Workshop at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, CA (Dec 9, 2005)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I am going to defend my thesis on the 21st of November!
Hopefully, there will be good news to report after that.

Friday, November 04, 2005

An interesting quote on the business of intelligence:

Consider the following statement from a classic Spy movie and novel by John Le Carre, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, this was the statement made by Control (the handler) to Leamas (his agent) in the context of the cold war operations, “Our work is based on a single assumption that the West is not going to be aggressor. Thus we do disagreeable things, but we are defensive. Our policies are peaceful but are methods cannot be less ruthless than the opposition…Our methods, our techniques, are become very must the same (when compared to the Soviet’s). Occasionally we have to do wicked things, very wicked things indeed. But, you can’t be less wicked then your enemies because your government’s policies are benevolent, can you?” This quote is apt at capturing an important point, regardless of whether an organization wants to be the aggressor or pacifier in its industry its methods needs to be sharp, agile, and up-to-date in the context of intelligence management if it expects to survive.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Managing Sources of Intelligence (Information)
Many sources used by organizations lack credibility, are never verified, or are outdated and yet are nevertheless used. Under such circumstances, other problems will inevitably ensue. In the case of the efforts leading up to the War in Iraq, members of the US government (one organization) had different opinions on the credibility of sources such as Ahmed Chalabi, the satellite images representing potential weapons, and also the significance of weapons capability. These were not appropriately synthesized by senior officials, worse yet, they were not adequately checked in the most basic sense. For example, one of the documents used by the British government was flawed in the most basic sense - it was not an intelligence report instead it was a high-school student’s term paper.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Some thoughts on a book that I am working (ok. thinking about working on)

Unless an organization is able to effectively understand and manage intelligence, it flirts with the condition of predictive extinction, i.e., the deliberate inattention to conditions of vital importance which invariably destroys, in part or whole, the form and function of an organization. The concept of acting intelligently is not an isolated interest for logical organizations only. Physical organisms such as humans and animals must also act intelligently if they would like to thrive in their environments. Failure to represent even the most basic intelligent behavior will result in feelings of discomfort and stress. For example, if an animal does not act intelligently to capture its prey, it will have to experience the discomfort of hunger, and similarly, if a stock broker does not know how to act intelligently and conduct effective trades he will experience consequences associated with loss of income. In the context of organizations, the challenge of managing intelligence becomes more complicated than when dealing with individuals, as we are now concerned with “organizational intelligence”. Organizational intelligence, is not the sum of individual intelligence capacities, rather it emerges from the integration and assimilation of individual know-how, organizational memories, and routines in the organization. We argue that no organization can act without lack of intelligence. However, there are some organizations that exhibit greater intelligence behavior than their peers. Some organizations exhibit greater intelligence on an on-going basis, while some others have “intelligent flashes”. We can also have sectors within an organization that exhibit high levels of intelligent behavior only to be averaged out other sectors who act foolishly and with less care.

Constructing the intelligent organization is the focus of this book. Unless an organization is able to exhibit high degrees of intelligent behavior it will become extinct and face harsh consequences from its environments. By example, the Securities and Exchange Commission along with several other financial regulatory bodies failed to exhibit intelligent behavior in the case of the Enron debacle. As a result, these organizations including the culprit (Enron) were subject to harsh criticism from lawmakers and also from the public-at-large who had lost their faith in their value offered by these regulatory bodies. The United States failed, in almost every aspect to defend its homeland resulting in the successful execution of the 9/11 assault. The reason is simple yet salient dimwitted behavior on part of domestic intelligence agencies. In this book, we will show unequivocally how to construct an intelligent organization that is cognizant of its environment and can act with agility.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Constructing Intelligent Actions:

Calibrating of actions based on incomplete and ambiguous information is never an easy proposition, in the context of intelligence management we also need to add the time pressure element. Intelligence operations are understandably secretive, for a private organization such work is secretive from one’s competitors for national governments it is against their adversaries. Actions based on secretive undertakings can be varied in range. For example, if we discover that our competitor has been receiving internal research and developments from a disgruntled employee, a case of competitive intelligence, what do we do? Three options are present. One, we can terminate the employee and cut off the channel, two we can feed the competitor misinformation, and three we can begin to use the established channel to request information from the competitor by luring our employee with incentives to work as a “double agent”. Each of these courses of action will have serious ramifications that need careful consideration. Most intelligence operations fail because anticipated actions are calibrated but not executed in a manner consistent with how they were gauged; using a hammer to kill a mosquito that has landed on your hand may be effective but will likely be considered less efficient at a later date when compared to other available alternatives.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

More thoughts on intelligence:

Organizations must focus on managing a viable intelligence process, rather than stay focused on churning out intelligence products. The intelligence process, reflected as behavior, requires the active, on-going, and cogent participation from a variety of sources in order to assimilate products related to data, information, and knowledge in order to determine the existence of potential threats. Like Einstein’s notion of time as a flowing river which may be observed through a hollowed tube so as to be able to witness only the fleeting presence of ‘now,’ so too intelligence agents of organizations must focus on the moving information stream through a fixed lens; what is critical is the observer retain as much of what has been observed to in order to make sense of what will be observed. Based on what is observed, the intelligence agencies must be capable of making real-time assessments, which are intended to impact future events. Too often information from the external environment is pigeon-holed and used to generate unimaginative responses. Consider an example from the private sector, Shawn Fanning, an 18 year old, in 1999 created an application that enabled to share audio and video files with their peers – Napster. Napster allowed users to download music of their choosing and create their own unique libraries. The best response from the Recording Companies was to file a legal lawsuit, a weak and unimaginative response. All the lawsuit could achieve was to slow down Napster’s development and fuel the development of several legalized clones of Napster. The Recording Companies are still trying to play catch-up to capture their lost market share.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Intelligence Management and Agile Operations:
Lack of coordinated organization among those charged with insuring the domestic tranquility of the United States contributed to the devastation of September 11th. When Castro entered Havana on New Year’s Day of 1960 there were no U.S. diplomats in Cuba because of the holiday and when India tested two nuclear weapons in 1998 no analysts were working, despite satellite evidence of nuclear test preparation six hours before detonation, because it was a Sunday. These circumstances greatly affected any possibility for an agile response to the events. In most instances, the information available to the organization was more than sufficient. However, because the agencies failed in the intelligence process, electing instead to use information selectively in an effort to provide and intelligence product, they were unsuccessful at the act of intelligence. Using a historical perspective for our criteria, we have observed that unless each of the described elements is present in the intelligence process, value and usefulness from intelligence products is diminished.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Some more thoughts on intelligence

Intelligence as a construct is multi-faceted and often convoluted. There literatures of psychology, biology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, competitive and government intelligence, and others are rich in studies that examine the construct of intelligence. I draw from these disparate literatures to present the view of intelligence as a process signifying ‘intelligent behavior’ rather than as a product of some intelligence activity. The accepted practice of regarding intelligence as a ‘product’ is not merely erroneous, it is dangerous when it accompanies an implied acceptance that the task has been completed and interrelated intelligence mechanisms either shut down or are relegated on to other matters. The Trojan decision to ‘accept’ the gift that had apparently been left behind by a dejected Greek adversary led to an action based on a product of intelligence, i.e., there was little consideration as to what that ‘gift’ might actually represent. The subsequent activity by the men of Ulysses, however, was predicated on an intelligence process. The error begins when information is misrepresented as the intelligence product, especially while the information, and the further intelligence that may become available, is evolving. This was the case in the decisions that led up to the Iraq War, if we were to assume that there were no hidden agendas. Members of the government were presented with, as many have called, “intelligence reports” on Iraq’s weapons capability. This line of thinking favors the product view of intelligence, and is flawed. What was presented to members of the government were “information reports” that needed to be evaluated intelligently! As we now know, this did not happen, instead government officials assumed the reports to be intelligent and did not feel the urge to apply their intelligence on them to draw their own conclusions regarding the information presented.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thoughts on Language:

Limit to language also limits thought and to limit thought is to limit the possibility of alternatives. Language is the most common medium through which information is transferred. But communication can be restricted depending on what type of language is used. The use of ‘restrictive’ language such as mathematical expressions, while capable of transferring highly structured pieces of intelligence also restricts the audience to those capable of translating the expressions. Alternately, when a high variety in language is present, as in interpretive communications, e.g., art or propaganda, meaning looses the preciseness because of the use of symbols and the ‘possibilities’ of meanings. Not surprising then, terrorist groups, use art and photos to transmit ‘emotive’ messages between stations while technically advanced groups employ more complex languages that can confound simple phenomena. To contemplate the confusion that language can cause consider the following, the word Al-Qaeda literally means ‘base’, ‘home’, or ‘foundation.’ The term was originally used to signify the place from which the Taliban attacked Soviet adversaries. Though the word has become synonymous with Bin-Laden’s organization for most westerners, captured or alleged terrorists disavow allegiance to Al-Qaeda because to them, the word has no substantive meaning. This notion provides an example of a problem that develops when an intelligence agency has little or no experience with the culture or language of their indigenous contacts.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sorry for the long absence. I have been busy writing my thesis. I have now submitted it for review to my committee. Let us wait and see. I have my fingers crossed. Cheers!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

An article I wrote - 'Mind Your Language' will be published in the: IEE Engineering Management Magazine. Here is an excerpt, enjoy!

Mind Your Language was a comedy series that used to appear on the BBC channel in the late 1970s. The comedy depicted issues faced by immigrants when attempting to learn the English language. On immigrating to the UK, individuals from different countries (Italy, Japan, China, Pakistan, India, Sweden, Spain, and France) were asked to learn English from a British instructor. The comedy vividly displayed how issues of communication, coordination, and organization got disrupted due to lack of common language, context, and expressions. While some of the plots may have been exaggerated for the sake of humor, most of scenes were realistic of issues faced when individuals who speak different languages attempt to communicate and engage in joint work. In organizations, the concept of language is central to the occurrence of organizing, language is what connects the various entities and enables for the flow of information and knowledge.

Language is what differentiates human species from others in our environment. Language is a medium of signification, i.e. language helps us use signs for expressing thoughts. Today, with the omnipresence of global and multinational corporations, I am always surprised by how little care is taken by senior executives in their use of languages. Most organizations commit blunders when communicating with their constituents who are in foreign locations. One example comes to mind, a senior and seasoned executive in the Middle East was giving a presentation in Chicago, Illinois. The Executive opened up his remarks with, “Good morning gentlemen” and then proceeded into his presentation. He obviously forgot to take a good look at the audience to realize that half of them were ladies. Obviously, he had turned off half of his audience and his message fell on deaf hears. Other common errors that occur when language is not properly accounted for have to do with faulty advertisements. Chevrolet naming its car “Chevy Nova” and trying to sell it in Latin America, where “no va” means “it doesn’t go”. Bacardi attempted to introduce a new fruity drink in the German market called "Pavian" to suggest French chic, however "Pavian" means "baboon" in German. Parker Pens translated the slogan for its ink, “Avoid Embarrassment- Use Quink" into Spanish as "Evite Embarazos-Use Quink" which means "Avoid Pregnancy-Use Quink". In today’s world, where conducting business globally across borders is the norm, we must be cognizant on how we communicate with people from different cultures. Failure to do so will result in poor work practices, project failures, employee hostility, and poor sense of “organizing”.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I read an interesting article - Rethinking the Midmarket, by Aaron Ricadella, in InformationWeek (September 12, 2005, p. 53-58) [Available at InformationWeek], outlines Microsoft’s proposed strategy to target midsize companies. As noted by Ricadella, “Microsoft is making a big strategic shift in its 5- year-old business-applications division toward a simple but so-far elusive idea: Different kinds of workers use computers differently, and software should be designed for an employee's role in the company. After two years of research, Microsoft managers have identified more than 50 everyday job roles at midsize companies they believe will benefit from desktop environments created just for them--everyone from a president or CFO to account managers in a sales department to workers on a manufacturing floor. Receptionists, too, get a unique data view on their PCs…” Workers will benefit from getting access to information they care about, rather than being inundated with all organizational information. Microsoft also plans to simplify its ERP software and make it more accessible to midsize companies. And finally, software may actually be designed to meet the challenges of current work environments. As noted in Ricadella’s article, “To understand the jobs people do at midsize companies, Microsoft's engineers and managers spent two years studying their workdays in excruciating detail, recording their conversations, snapping photos of people at their desks, and generating 15,000 pages of transcripts. The conclusion: Most workers don't like their software, because it forces them to work with business automation and personal-productivity apps that are often incompatible. In other words, today's business software doesn't look like today's business…”

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dissertation Update - I have now completed the data collection and data recording phases of my dissertation. I have also completed the first round of preliminary analysis of the data. Next steps – deeper analysis, write-up, and then defend the research.

Friday, September 09, 2005

In the next few months, I will step away from the Engaged Enterprise. I will join the Information School, of the University of Washington as an assistant professor. I will begin there in December, and will be making the move to Seattle in the next few months.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Innovation! Innovation! Innovation! I am going to be attending the Seattle Innovation Symposium (Sept 13-14), hosted by the University of Washington. The goals of the symposium are (1) to come up ideas of new billion dollar industries, and (2) to find ways to shrink the innovation cycle, i.e. from ideas to market. Here is my two cents on innovation. I split innovation into two phases – the invention and the commercialization. Inventing calls for breaking old ways of thinking. In order to innovate we must be able to question fundamental assumptions, confront the obvious in novel ways, and synergize multiple sources of expertise. Once we have invented, we must then begin the commercialization process. Here, you must have a structured, optimized, and tested methodology in place. Inventions are the loose and creative bits, commercialization of inventions needs to be structured and optimized.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I have been quite busy these past few days. Some of the events include: (1) a trip to the East Coast (Washington D.C., Wilmington DE, Pittsburgh, PA), (2) got involved in a car accident (car got totaled, I am recovering from slight injuries), (3) trying to get my sixth book going, (4) finishing up a few writing projects, and last but definitely not the least, (5) making good progress on my dissertation work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It is about that time again. Desouza is anxious and wants to get involved in a new book project. I have just agreed to edit a book on “Agile Information Systems”. The book will bring together researchers, practitioners, futurist, and thinkers, all of whom will discuss how do we conceptualize, construct, and manage these information systems. If you are interested in writing a chapter, please feel free to contact me. The publisher for the book is Butterworth Heinemann.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I will address the Contingency Planners of Ohio on August 10, 2005. His talk titled, "Mindful Crisis Management", will take place at Fidelity Investments in Covington, Kentucky. This talk will be based on some of my recent work on integrating knowledge management with crisis management.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Meet me for a discussion of my new book - Engaged Knowledge Management (co-authored with Yukika Awazu). The discussion will take place on-line via the KnowledgeBoard Portal (see If there are questions you want me to answer, please send them to me via email. I will be glad to think through your questions and come up with thoughtful responses. Cheers!

Friday, July 22, 2005

I have a new book accepted for publication: The Outsourcing Handbook – How to Implement a Successful Outsourcing Process. I have co-authored this book with Mark Power (President, ROS Incorporated) and Carlo Bonifazi (Vice President, ROS Incorporated). The book is currently in the production process and will be released early next year by Kogan Page.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Well, I am done teaching my last class at the University of Illinois at Chicago. My feelings are one of excitement yet sadness. Excitement that this signifies I will be getting a bit closer to completing my doctorate, and sadness because I am going to miss interacting with a good bunch of students. To all of my students – Thank you for the memories. I have my gripes about the way the classes are conducted, the rules placed on graduate students in how they should handle classes, etc. But, these do not take anything away from the fact that I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years serving the students of a great institution. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I am going to be working on a new book. Do you want to know what it is about? Well then drop me an email. I will announce the book project as soon as I get the contract from the publisher. Here is a little hint: the book is about knowledge management (big surprise there!), security management (no really!), competitive intelligence (are you kidding me!), and information technologies (c’mon you are just killing me!). Well for those who know my work there should be no surprise in the above topics, but the book concept will surprise you!!!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The attacks on the citizens of Great Britain are horrific and saddening. But, make not mistake they are not going to change the course of history or nature. Freedom will reign. I send my personal condolences to all that have been directly and indirectly affected by this tragedy.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Science, according to me, is the act of creative discovery of novel relationships in nature. Here are some words from the wise:

• French mathematician PoincarĂ© remarked, “Fruitful combining which reveals to us unsuspected kinship between facts, long known but wrongly believed to be strangers to one another”.
• Alfred North Whitehead commented, “We must beware of what I call ‘inert ideas’ – ideas that are merely received into the mind without being utilized, tested, or thrown into fresh new combinations”.
• Marcel Proust stated, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes”.
• Jean Baitaillon warned, “Really we create nothing. We merely plagiarize nature”.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Barnes and Noble ( is offering a 20% discount on my two books. These are for pre-orders. So do not wait, order them soon. The discount is only for a limited time. You can get my book – New Frontiers of Knowledge Management for $76.00 (regular price $95), and Engaged Knowledge Management for $68.00 (regular price $85).

I will be giving a talk to KM Chicago, a group of practitioners interested in improving the state of knowledge management in their organizations. The talk will be titled – “Plug-n-Play Knowledge Management”. For those in the Chicago area you are welcome to attend the talk. It will be held at Factiva, 1 South Wacker Drive, 22nd Floor, Chicago, IL. Directions: Proceed to the 22nd floor, enter the Factiva offices and follow signs to the conference room. (see for more information)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Lady Burton stated it succinctly, “Men are four: He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a fool--shun him; He who knows not and knows he knows not, he is simple--teach him; He who knows and knows not he knows, he is asleep--wake him; He who knows and knows he knows, hi is wise--follow him!”

[1] What kind of man (woman) are you?
[2] What kind of man (woman) is your boss?
[3] What kind of man (woman) are your peers?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bill Cosby! You got to love this guy. One of the few people I know of that is not afraid to speak clearly, honestly, and openly about difficult issues. If you do not face the fact that there is a problem, you are never going to try to find a solution. Those who want to distract the attention of his message by playing the race card or by digging into his life are just wasting time. Evaluate the man on his intentions and better yet, evaluate him on the message he is delivering.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Positive attitude is all that you have at times. Recently, there have been some geniuses who have been getting on my case. I have to wonder what are their goals and objectives. If they think putting up road blocks is going to stop me from attaining my goals, they are sadly mistaken. I have been coached well, and will not let up. I will attain my goals due to perseverance and a positive attitude. Here are some interesting words by Herm Albright (1876 – 1944) – “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort”

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What do you think about this Runaway Bride? My opinion: She is selfish and has caused havoc in the law enforcement arena. Some day a real person is going to be stranded and we may not take that seriously. Moreover, what kind of a society are we, where stunts like this get rewarded by exclusive interviews and movie deals? That is just rubbish.

I will be traveling to Washington D.C. tomorrow to give several talks to various industry and academic audiences. I am going to be speaking on the issue of crisis management and its close relation to information management. Crises are preceded by warning signs (informational elements), which if acted upon appropriately can lead an organization to thwart, or at the very least, minimize the damage of the crises. Most organizations seem to ignore these warning signs and then relegate crisis management to a series of reactive and foolish moves.

Monday, June 20, 2005

"Work like there is always a tomorrow, party like today is your last" - Kevin C. Desouza

Has anyone read this rubbish: CIA chief has 'excellent idea' where bin Laden is, see the news article on If Porter Goss, Director of the CIA, has information on where Bin Laden is, what is he waiting for - Chirstmas or let me see Independence Day Celebrations, to arrest him? I guess some people will say whatever to get some attention.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I grew up in Doha, Qatar - beautiful city and interesting country. If you are visiting this page from Qatar, please drop me an email. I am trying to connect with some old colleagues. Chances are if you were in Doha from 1990-1996, you have probably heard of me – those were my glory years.

I am currently completing my PhD at the Liautaud Graduate School of Business, University of Illinois at Chicago. Getting a PhD degree is unlike any other endeavor that I have been associated with, both positively and negatively. Overall, I am having a good time. The most critical learning to date has been an increase in my patience levels.

Engaged Knowledge Management. I have a new book out. I authored this book with a colleage, Ms. Yukika Awazu. Here is the blurb from the publishers: The authors contend that current knowledge management efforts in organizations need to be re-focused so that they can be better poised for success. Topics discussed include: missing capabilities of knowledge management, knowledge management in strategic alliances, customer knowledge management, knowledge markets, and knowledge management systems, among others. The authors take a pragmatic approach to knowledge management and present the material in a jargon free and accessible way. Please see - The book is currently available in the European, Canadian, Australian, and Asian markets, and will be released in the US in October.

New Frontiers of Knowledge Management. I recently edited a collection of papers on Knowledge Management. The publisher's blurb: This book defines the new frontiers in knowledge management. It contains thinking by respected authorities in the field of knowledge management, information systems, and strategic management. The chapters range in their orientation from those that are more humanistic in their treatment, and those that take an economic perspective. All contribute towards deepening our understanding of what the new problems associated with achieving the goals of knowledge management are, and present possible solutions to the problems. Topics covered include: knowledge visualization, knowledge markets, ubiquitous information environments, knowledge flow dynamics, knowledge integration in teams, personalizing delivery systems and knowledge security mechanism. Please see - for more information. for more information. Contributors include: Larry Prusak, Ronald Kostoff, Roberto Evaristo, Ann Majchrzak, Carsten Sorensen, David Skyrme, Mark Nissen, and many more.

Welcome to my first blog. I will use this to post information on my eclectic, and sometimes controversial, thoughts on a number of issues ranging from how organizations manage knowledge, competitive and government intelligence activities, strategic management of information technology, management of technological innovations, to artificial intelligence, and philosophy of science.