Improving Social Media via Web Analytics: The OODA Loop


John Boyd's OODA Loop: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. A strategic method.

Here’s a model that outlines a way to be accountable for your decisions. It was made by John Boyd, a colonel in the US Air Force, and it’s called the OODA loop.

So it has four stages: Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.

  • Observe is just gathering data. This is where your web analytics and other measuring systems come in. Something either happened or it didn’t happen. And you observe it. Pretty straightforward.
  • Orient is where you start putting that data in context. How does the stuff you’re measuring today compare with the stuff you measured last month? Or how does it compare with a larger set of data? This is analysis and is usually done by a person.
  • Decide is just what it sounds like. Someone looks at the data and the analysis and makes their best decision. If you didn’t do the first two steps then this part is scary.
  • Action is making your decisions real. It’s also called “execution.” The previous three steps should be designed to help this part be the best possible.

So it’s called the OODA loop even though I’ve just got it as a list here. Once you’re done with “action” you go back to the beginning and start observing and orienting again.

You can use it to build a learning organization and a culture of accountability that works.

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