Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

CI2020 - what could the discipline look like in 2020?

At a recent SCIP meeting, a question was asked to a speaker about the future of competitive intelligence and what our roles could look like in ten years time? To help address this question as well as to show case a useful tool in the CI professionals tool kit, the UK Competitive Intelligence Forum (UKCIF), the UK international affiliate of SCIP, is hosting a workshop to explore what our individual and collective futures may look like through several lenses:

* the practitioner
* the stakeholder
* the vendor
* the information aggregator

Borrowing from the Department of Transport’s introduction of an alternative futuring exercise a few years ago;

“We can either stumble into the future and hope it turns out all right or we can try and shape it. To shape it, the first step is to work out what it (the future) might look like“

As CI professionals we are often charged with alerting our stakeholders about likely or anticipated future market place evolution or competitor strategy. Alternative futuring helps us define what we should be doing today to make sure that whatever the future holds we put ourselves in the best position to thrive.

What do you believe the core drivers to be going forward?

We have made available a series of thought provoking articles from some of the scribes active in this forum to be downloaded ahead of the event from www.ukcif.co.uk, go to Events/Previous Events/Taking the Crystal Out of the Ball. If you are in the area, register through the link, http://www.ukcif.co.uk. We shall let everyone know when the briefing is complete for you to download.

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I hope the future is more of the optimistic one we've always hoped for the field than the present one in which so much hope remains unfulfilled. To start this off, I think a desirable future would have these five characteristics (note: there are many, many more we can and should add, but time and a desire to be succinct for discussion will limit me here):

1. CI recongized as a vital management discipline/function in most boardrooms, Business Schools,among other places.

2. A developed, global, growing, challenged, and ever-greening body of CI knowledge.

3. CI practices which unambiguously add value to society and are recognized for generating not only private but also public benefits.

4. CI practitioners that are viewed as true professionals, much like medical doctors and engineers are viewed today.

5. No more questions about what are and are not ethical practices. No more need to discuss ethics in CI because there is general agreement as to what is acceptable and what is not.

 

I agree. I think CI professionals should come together in their areas, form a chapter, share ideas and knowledge (regardless of their industries) to help this profession grow. 

 

 

Hi everyone,

In addition, I would say that, beside a more 'foresightful' approach (and all the remaining aspects mentioned by Craig), perhaps not in 10 but in 20 years from now, we are going to force ourselves to move into a more Cooperative approach than a Competitive approach of CI (competitive in terms of 'sneaking' what competitors are doing...).

I would dare to think/imagine that Competitive/Strategic Intelligence will be 'forced' to reflect the need and gradual awareness that we only will be able to survive in this Planet, if we address diferences and gaps of all kind if we look for 'battlegrounds' where we can share what we know and because of that we'll be able to discover 'intelligence insights' for cooperation in order to solve problems in organizations, countries and people's lives. Something like a Global/Glocal Interconnected Intelligence.

I'm just hearing someone saying 'what a naif approach...'. But I truly believe that one day we'll be forced (and repeat, at least forced) to see things that way.

 

Thank you Matthew.....great that you could contribute.  In fact attendance is filling up nicely including a representative from HM Armed Services...
That's great news!
Craig, as always sincere thanks for your considered opinion and I wish I could add to the debate in Orlando.  Shall look to share with you the draft from our workshop ahead of that for your amusement....attendance is filling up nicely which is always good....
Hi Andrew: That sounds terrific. The more informed voices that can be added to the discussion, the better! The group signed in for our Orlando session on this is already shaping up to be an excellent one, although how much "actionable" progress we can make in 45 minutes remains to be determined. I look forward to seeing what your workshop generates, and appreciate your sharing with me, and by extension, the others who can carry forward that conversation on this side of the Atlantic in Florida.
Thanks Craig....our session took 3 hours and the framework used is available for download from the UK Competitive Intelligence Forum's website once registered or logged back in bit.ly/dUfCwT Grateful to the folks at Fuld & Company for their facilitation as well as the students from De Montfort University who made up such a valuable part of the audience.  Focused on causal drivers, then the two important ones, 2 x 2 and .....well the debrief is available......I can send through my notes from the session if they add to anything for others are writing it up in its beuatiful state to be published on the site for people to access and download.  Some of the issues are still prevalent were also mirrored in last year's work in exploring how practitioners have got into the profession, develop themselves further, trials and tribulations as well as where they go next, if at all they do not stay with the discipline. This can also be downloaded from the site, well it's on the front page....45 minutes indeed is to be a tough order by I am sure you and Arik will be a blast especially if people know in advance what is expected to be achived in 45 mins!

I think that CI will be more popular in the future thanks to the on-line Intelligence applications that are growing day by day (e-reputation is just an example). Under this condition companies will recognize that there is also the traditional type of intelligence (the off-line) which we all know.

Thank you Alessandro....we looked at the issue through 4 lenses, that of the stakeholder, practitioner, vendor and information aggregator with the art now being to pull out the similarilities and differences across these 4 groups to understand what the future could look like.  There was also an exercise that looked at what could be done/holding us back to achieve the desired end state which helps kick start the process to doing something about it. e-reputation will be more important to different industries at different times....more so with consumer brands and experiential brands than less experential brands in my eyes....thanks indeed for adding to the debate Alessandro with the 'how we did it' presentation available for download from here bit.ly/esh0LJ  The 'what it looks like' will follow shortly.  Thank you to all involved.

Very good point Alessandro. The internet has developed to be an increasingly useful tool and has 'shrunk' our world. 

 

I do believe that a basic CI unit structure should be agreed upon as well as a basic methodology amongst CI professionals. I would like to highlight some very good books that could be used as reference:

 

1- Business and Competitive Analysis Methods - Fleisher & Bensoussan

2 - Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach - Robert M. Clark

3 - Competitive Intelligence Advantage - Seena Sharp

 

All these books are consistent in their views. One point I would like to highlight is that companies that do know about CI (or at least think they do), are asking for MBAs or other under graduate qualifications. This is a disadvantage to those such as myself, who have tried and tested experience relating to intelligence but do not hold those credentials. It is also to my understanding that academic institutions do not have a solid course plan to teach CI and analysis. Therefore, I find it a bit irrelevant to ask for such credentials. Actually, it may be even a bit detrimental as some of those who have these credentials may be unsuitable for the job and, in turn, employers will have less faith in the profession and rub it off as an unnecessary luxury.

 

My two cents

 

Matthew 

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