Wednesday, September 23, 2009

(empo-tuulwey) The difference between strategy and tactics

I have a professional interest in biometrics, so I definitely wanted to check out the RISE website ( when I first heard about it. "RISE" stands for "Rising Pan‐European and International Awareness of Biometrics and Security Ethics," and according to the website, RISE has three strategic objectives:

O1 Preparing and convening a third international conference in China
O2 Preparing and convening a European multi‐stakeholder conference
O3 Preparing and convening a fourth international conference in Europe.

I kid you not - its STRATEGIC objective is to hold conferences. But that makes sense, when you look at the "three main ideas" for RISE:

• Dialogue must be global
• Policy must be ethically informed
• Conversation must be ongoing

In essence, the overreaching goal of RISE is to talk a lot.

Now perhaps that truly IS RISE's overreaching goal, but somehow I would think that the purpose of RISE would have something to do with...oh, say, BIOMETRICS. Well, maybe they concentrate on talking because they're talking about speaker recognition. (That's a biometric joke, people. I slay myself.)

If you dig a little deeper, you'll find that they want to talk about

...ethical, social and privacy implications of biometrics and security technology.

Certainly a laudable effort, and something that needs to be addressed, but why did I have to dig so deep to find out what RISE was about?

Now I could make fun of Europeans and government bureaucracies and how misguided they become - "Boy, those stupid Brussels bureaucrats don't care what they talk about, as long as the proper stakeholders are at the table!" But let's be honest - this doesn't just happen in Europe, but it also happens in the United States. It doesn't just happen in government, but it also happens in the private sector. It doesn't just happen to large organizations, but can happen to small companies or do individuals.

So you and I need to make sure that we don't end up like anonymous Brussels bureaucrats. Let's not confuse strategy and tactics.
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