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Top-Down and Bottom-up Drivers of Terrorist Innovation—Al Qaeda and the Case of 9/11

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How do terrorist groups actually innovate? The meager literature on the subject suggests that innovation in terrorist groups is exclusively a top-down phenomenon: a process driven by the senior leadership of the organization. Scholars cite the key role played by Shoko Asahara in pushing Aum Shinrikyo's development of nerve gas and point to Brazilian revolutionary Carlos Marighela's central role in devising the strategy of diplomatic kidnapping. Wadie Haddad's influence on the adoption of airline hijacking by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is considered critical, as is Ahmed Jibril's role in pushing development of a number of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command's innovative tactics, including the adoption of barometric pressure devices used to detonate aircraft and using motorized hang-gliders to penetrate enemy territory.

The author did a study and found :

Al Qaeda's philosophy of managing terrorist activity was a doctrine imposed from the top down. Its successful execution, however, depended on the ability of highly skilled terrorist operatives who were capable of improvising and, if necessary, innovating from the bottom up. It was an integrative driver of innovation, i.e., a mechanism designed to spur innovation that is dependent on both top-down and bottom-up processes in order to generate innovation. Top-down and bottom-up drivers were necessary, but not independently sufficient, in producing innovation.
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Rob Kall is the host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360, where he discusses how the bottom up mind and bottom up revolution are reaching different areas of the world, of life, of politics, business, society and anywhere else.

Rob is founder and site architect of (more...)

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