pie chart with four slices - one highlights the pink slice - what you don't know you don't know.

 

What’s the Pink Slice? The Pink Slice is a term used to describe what you don’t know you don’t know. In many aspects of Emergency Management Intelligence (EMINT) and Incident Command, there are things you know  – for example what the strategic, operational and tactical objectives should be  during a routine response to an incident – and there are of course things you know you don’t know (like whether the incident will escalate beyond your command and control). Some of those things you don’t know may be things other people do know (that’s where Intelligence and Situational Awareness comes into play). There are also things you don’t know what you don’t know – meaning you didn’t even have a clue there was a possibility of this (whatever “this” is) occurring or impacting your Incident Command structure.

The origins of the term “Pink Slice” is credited to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who, in a speech to NATO in 2002, stated:

As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. 

https://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2002/s020606g.htm

And Mr. Rumsfeld probably learned this concept from a 1955 concept called the Johari Window, created by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham:

Johari Window
From Wright, M. (2009). Gower handbook of internal communication. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Here’s an example on the use of a Johari window, from McKinsey & Company: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/coronavirus-leading-through-the-crisis/charting-the-path-to-the-next-normal/the-great-attrition-stems-from-a-great-disconnect?cid=soc-web 

The Johari Window Model

The goals for this post are to have threads that provide good examples of how to shrink the Pink Slice in Emergency Management situations (it does not have to just be Response – it could be any of the other phases of the Disaster Cycle: Preparedness/Protection/Prevention, Mitigation or Recovery). We may start a new thread, add to existing ones ourselves, etc. Better knowledge and understanding – and the chance to shrink the Pink Slice a little more each time, is what we hope to achieve.

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