OSINT is about focusing on possibilities. But sometimes we get stuck or things we planned simply didn’t work as planned. We all know when things in our daily life don’t work we reset it. If the tv doesn’t work we reset it by turning it off and on. Your smartphone glitches or apps hang and we reset the apps or the entire device.
We can do the same in our OSINT research or Online investigations. I do not mean literally reset your investigative computer or casework. We can use the RESET techniques to help our OSINT state of mind which I blogged about back in 2018. Below you will find the five RESET tips you can embed in your OSINT process to become a better and more focused researcher:
Routine, Emotions, Sever, Explore and Think
Routine is a structured methodology based upon what you know and how to execute what you know.
Routines will come with thoughts on possibilities. Do not keep your thoughts on (new) possibilities to yourself, in your own mind. Write them down. Write them down in a journal for example. A new idea on a (new) possibility can come in handy immediately but can also come in useful days, weeks, months or even years later. These new possibilities should also be embedded in your (renewed) routine. Now your OSINT routine or process will continuously evolve. And with that you evolve and become an even better OSINT specialist.
Every researcher has emotions. Do not fight them or hide them. Again journal them, expose them. It prevents you from making biased judgements or tunnel vision. Also it helps you prevent getting vicarious trauma from your OSINT research.
Sever literally means disconnect or cut off. But within your OSINT research sever means stepping away from your focus. Give the mind rest. This will help gain more focus or give thoughts more room over time. Spend time offline, screens and apps make your brain crave for that dopamine rush. Spending time away from screens (computer, tablet, phone, console) is what an investigative mind needs to (re)find its focus.
For reference about dopamine and keeping the mind engaged “the social dilemma” is a good watch on Netflix.
Remember that technology (internet & computers for example) is a tool for you to use. Do not let technology use you.
Take time to explore (new) things. It is an important and underestimated part of OSINT to take the time and explore. It is your task and a professional to understand how platforms work and what meaningful information can be gathered from these platforms. This means you need to explore and research the platforms (or sources) before you start doing investigations ON these platforms. A great example of taking the time to explore are the flowcharts that Sinwindie makes about the OSINT possibilities various platforms have you can investigate. Exploring means trying new things. Do not be scared to fail. Exploring and learning means failing. By failing you still learn and get the chance to explore why you failed to become better next time.
Use your brain without boundaries. Your brain when dreaming comes up with often absurd or mind blowing ideas. Use your brain to think and really challenge yourself. Deep thinking is about using your brain to formulate scenarios and hypotheses and then testing those against the (research) questions and challenges you are facing. Thinking takes time. Claim that time and it will help you move forward becoming more efficiently and thorough which leads to a more sound (analysis) outcome.
That are the RESET mind techniques that can be very helpful and useful, in staying focused and getting the maximum out of your brain and thoughts during OSINT investigations. All good investigations start and end with a brain (or group of brains) that work based on ideas and thoughts. If we can train our brain, we improve our brain. If we improve our brain our investigations and investigative (OSINT) techniques become better.