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What is OODA loop?

What is OODA loop?

Developed in the mid-20th century by the military strategist, US Air Force Colonel John Boyd.

The OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act)

  • four-step approach to decision-making
  • filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while also applying changes as more data becomes available.

Applicable for quick decision making, improving the quality of decision-making, uncertain environment etc.


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  • Identify the problem or threat and gain an overall understanding of the internal and external environment.

Ex- data gathering, current organizational state, any competitors and the market .

Gather whatever information is available as quickly as possible in order to make decisions based on it.


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  • Reflect on what has been found during observations and consider what should be done next and why.

It requires awareness and understanding of situation to make a conscious decision.

  • Individual can creat mental models or mental rehearsal drills to shape judgement.
  • Organization can use machine learning (ML ) tools to identify potential outcomes while removing any bias.


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  • Create an action or response plan, considerating all the potential outcomes.
  • Meetings or discussions can be used to creat a roadmap for organization.


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  1. Carry out the decision and related changes that need to be made in response to the decision.
  2. This step may also include any testing that is required before officially carrying out an action, such as compatibility or A/B testing.


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Success of the OODA Loop

  • make it as short as possible, minimizing reaction times in high-stakes situations.

Although multiple options can lead to slow reaction time.


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Factors that affect the OODA Loop

  • The number of potential scenarios that can be pursued.
  • Denial that a specific event has occurred, and refusing to acknowledge it right away.
  • The complexity of the stimulus.
  • The need for approval prior to carrying out a response.
  • The emotional stress of the team or environment at the onset of the stimulus.
  • The level of trust that exists within a team to rely on each other’s decisions.
  • The amount of intuitive skill that is possessed relating to the stimulus.
  • Clearly, or unclearly, defined business goals.
  • Stimuli that is constantly evolving or changing.


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