Monday, January 17, 2005

The Ears Have Walls ... But There Are Exceptions

The best ideas come from the bottom and percolate up. It's an old concept; cultures that make room for bottom-up innovation can be expected to do better. There is anecdotal evidence that past U.S. military successes generally corroborate the idea.

Now Dan Baum, who has been doing superb writing about Iraq for The New Yorker, contributes "Battle Lessons" (Jan 17 issue; I could not find the link but Dave Green writes that it is ) in which Baum highlights how web-savvy troops in the field have been creating websites, over which they share life-saving pointers learned the hard way.

"Little by little, the Army is absorbing and In 2002, West Point put Platoonleader on its server and a year later added Companycommand; both sites now have military addresses. The Army also began paying the Web site's expenses. It sent all four of its founders to graduate school to earn PhD's, so that they can become professors at West Point, where they will run the sites as part of their jobs ..."

The Pentagon does lots of silly things but, apparently, there are also occassions when the top knows to listen to what good stuff percolates its way.