April 27, 2010
Although the focus of the article was on the use of Microsoft PowerPoint as a briefing tool, I found the article in the April 27, 2010 edition of the New York Times ("We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint") poignant.
Although the focus of the article was on the use of visualisation through PowerPoint perhaps the article missed the nuance of what was actually being viewed.
The application of system dynamics (pioneered by Jay Forrester of MIT in his work 'industrial dynamics') in the 1950s was adopted by the scientific advisory (Operational Research) branches of armed forces in the US and Britain - applying math and logic to military strategic planning.
Influence diagramming, of the style shown in your article, sought to show how factor A influences factor B etc. As computing power increased complex algorithms enabled an influence diagram to be used as a model for identifying outcomes. During the Vietnam conflict the Pentagon applied this thinking, and as Col. David Hackworth noted during an interview, "the Pentagon found that using the model they had already won the war in 1963".
General Macrystal’s comment, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” is particularly prophetic.