In the heat of battle, you need to keep your wits about you.
Situational awareness is the approach developed by military leaders to identify, process and apply critical elements of information about their team and its progress towards the stated goal. Simply put, situational awareness is knowing what’s going on around you.
Situational awareness encompasses the team, the objective, equipment and supplies, the physical terrain, the time, the weather, the enemy and anything else that’s relevant. To make optimal decisions, you need to be aware of all the relevant information related to your decision process.
In situational awareness, bad decisions happen because the team does not recognize a threat or risk, is not aware of a lack of equipment or resources, or cannot adequately foresee the consequences of previous actions.
But even with perfect situational awareness you can make a bad decision. One source of bad decisions is the limitation of the human mind to simulate future outcomes based on the current state. When the volume, variety or velocity of data about the current state exceeds our human abilities, we need additional help to identify, process and apply critical information related to our stated goal.
Situational intelligence helps us and our teams exceed their normal human limits for situational awareness to develop an optimal response to current and future conditions. It augments the discipline of situational awareness with the power of machine intelligence. With the assistance of sensors, computers, analytics and machine learning, we can comprehend and respond to situations made enormously complex due to petabytes of information, milliseconds of time, multitudes of network relationships and numerous external data sources.
As technology becomes increasingly integral to, and integrated with, our decision making, it seems likely that situational intelligence will supersede the concept of situational awareness.