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Improving Learning and Making Better Choices with the OODA Loop

September 18, 2012

Image from Wikipedia (

I attended a presentation where they discussed the OODA Loop as a Problem Management technique .  Not familiar with the OODA Loop,I did some research.  The OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) was developed as technique to reduce the decision making cycle time for pilots in combat by  US Air Force Colonel John Boyd.  As with othertheories and processes that were developed in wartime, the OODA Loop concept is also very applicable to more efficient decision-making in business and learning.

By breaking down the decision-making process to easily understood steps, we can move easily and quickly through each of the steps.  With practice and continuous feedback to the loop, we can reduce the time it takes to make decisions, which in turn can give us the advantage over our competitors.  The diagram above illustrates each of the steps and flows of the OODA Loop.

The four steps of the OODA Loop are:

  • Observe – Identify key environmental factors.
  • Orient – Apply observations to current situation and generate possible responses.
  • Decide – Determine best response given current situation.
  • Act – Implement decision.

Each decision feeds information back into the loop, which should improve the quality and velocity of our decision-making.

Additional Resources:

OODA Loops: Understanding the Decision Cycle

The OODA Loop and Double-Loop Learning

IT GRC Summit

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