Adversarial Mindset

Adapt to Overcome

Systems Thinking

When attempting to think like the adversary, employing a systems thinking framework to the effort is advantageous.  A framework is designed to guide the brain in a systematic manner, whilst still providing the creative freedom to leverage quantitative and qualitative thinking. 

I will stress that while there are more common knowledge frameworks out there (like the Starburst method I mentioned in ‘Episode 038 Intel Analysis’ of the Red Team Podcast), especially those that come from the intelligence analysis space; the key to an effective framework is adopting one that facilitates thinking instead of hindering it. Don’t adopt a framework just because you heard someone mention it or because you’ve read it somewhere. The most important deciding factor on what framework you’re going to apply stems from yourself.

Questions to ask yourself when structuring your thoughts:

  • How do you naturally think?

    • Do you focus on the details first or the larger thematic elements of a problem?

    • Do you usually see how elements are connected to each other or do you usually require digging in first?

    • Are you better in your head? Writing things down? Using a whiteboard or post-it notes?

  • How much effort are you willing to put in?

    • With any thought exercise, you are spending cycles. These cycles can mean precious days, hours or minutes being spent; either beneficially or wastefully. You need to know when good is good enough or when you’re just wasting time with your current line of thinking.

  • What outcome do you want?

    • What should the end result of the exercise be? Are there specific outputs?

    • What does success mean?

These are just some of the things you need to ask yourself and think about as you start to approach problem solving using a more systematic approach. Bottom-line: use what works for YOU.