Shorty Post –Nothing New Under the Sun — the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual

copenhagen ice rink

Ice skating, Copenhagen — January, 2008

We’re going to get back on track with some design thinking analysis of modes, and off the disruptive organization track.  But this article shows that various operators have been aware of exactly how one disrupts social organizations for a long time.  Pulling a couple of quotes, from the CIA’s predecessor in WW2, the Office of Strategic Services'(OSS) Simple Sabotage Handbook.  These are under ‘General Interference with Organizations and Production’:

“Insist on doing everything through ‘channels’.  Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.”

“When possible, refer all matters to committees, for ‘further study and consideration.’  Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.”

“Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.”

“Advocate ‘caution.’  Be ‘reasonable’ and urge your fellow-conferees to be ‘reasonable’ and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.”

“Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.”

It makes me groan to read through this.  Ugghhhh…

Further Reading:  You can find the original here.  Don’t blame me for triggering your PTSD!

2 thoughts on “Shorty Post –Nothing New Under the Sun — the OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual

  1. Chuck
    Read the OSS original. You only touch the surface above. Where do you find this stuff? We are following the OSS protocol to the letter. How do we break the cycle?


    1. The cycle for organizations like ours gets broken by outside pressure. It’s coming. I am in downtown Seattle. Amazon, only 2000 employees 5 years ago, is now at 23K, making it almost impossible to book a room in a decent hotel downtown. They are going to double current workforce. We are either going to adapt to serve the needs of this constituency, or go out of business ourselves. And it’s going to happen very quickly.


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