Competitive Intelligence

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

ICI / ATELIS Competitive Intelligence Conference - Bad Nauheim, Germany - April 5-8

I'm attending the ICI / ATELIS CI conference in Bad Nauheim, Germany this week and thought I'd open a discussion here to surface a few topics and issues, as well as to act as a group liveblog for anybody who'd care to add remarks from the meeting itself or questions and comments from afar.

So far today, I've spent more time catching up with old friends (hi Sheila!) than I have in sessions, but promise to attend more as the conference kicks off. I'll also get these onto my Twitter stream.

Still, I can only be in one place at a time, so with four tracks to cover, hopefully a few other of you out there will join in and perhaps consider keeping your notes here on this discussion. I know there are many of you who are attending live.

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That was a session I was hoping to hear about, thanks for the summary. Culture has a large part to play on whether or not storytelling is acceptable when reporting and how a sentence in English translated into another language may have a different meaning.

For those interested this is the link for key tools from "The Back of the Napkin"



Dear Alex,

I was the one referring the from Dan Roam' which is about Visual Thinking and how we can use it to tell a story.

I also mentioned "Presenting to Win - The Art of Telling your Story" from Jerry Weissman which is a great book and very useful.

You can have a peak at my reading list at

Hi Luis,

thanks for your reply and providing the link to your reading list I am going to take a look at it right away :-)

I've just posted my slides for this morning's keynote address - check them out on the embed below:

View more presentations from Arik Johnson.
Thanks Arik!

Dear Arik,

I found your presentation most interesting and helpful, specially to think the discipline and its past, present and future trajectory. Well done!

Unfortunately I did not have the time to talk to you F2F as I had to do my own presentation on Sensory Marketing Intelligence just next. It looks like most trends you mentioned are fully aligned with my own analysis of the context leading to the need for Sensory Marketing Intelligence. If you are interested you can check August Jackons Podcast ( on this, as well as, the conference handouts.

Again thanks for sharing and look forward to meet you personally in the near future.

Maybe if you drop by Lisbon you can be part of one of our CPCI (Portuguese Community of CI) gatherings.

Brilliant Arik, just brilliant

Thank you Arik.


Don't forget this afternoon's panel discussion on creating an academic/scientific journal will be broadcast as a webinar for those who can't be in Bad Nauheim live - for those in the USA, it's pretty early though - 7:00 AM Eastern, if my time zones are working? Anyhow, more info here:

Attending the panel on CI software with Franck Mathot, Aurelien Blaha, Muriel Semeneri, and Luc Quoniam. Addressing which CI software package should be used and when, considering the maturity of the company and its CI operation as well as for whom will it be deployed - how autonomous will the CI team and community be?

Blaha said he's in a tactical role at Dassault Systems, so it's directed at the salesforce and mapped to the sales cycle with 15-20 full time CI analysts. They developed a social software system similar to Jive, but also use SharePoint to distribute the results of the analysis they do, also some free tools like Netvibes and TweetDeck for reading feeds, CI Radar to monitor some documents. Used TweetDeck to learn a competing company CEO in China had resigned.

Semeneri said Essilor's system is directed mostly at innovation and R&D, so looking out around the world to see if innovations are developing that will have an impact on them. They have tried using wikis, but had more success with customized discussion forums.

Quoniam said his focus was on patents but he doesn't have a market for his students in "innovation" - as a professor, he's thinking of his students as his products, I think...

While sitting in the train on my way home I had some time to look through my handwritten notes and put them into the laptop. So the following is not a live blogging any longer, but I hope it will be still of interest for some of you.

On day two I attended Dr. Michael Neugarten’s presentation on “Widening the CI remit: Raising CI awareness in non-CI personnel”

Most of us are in the situation that the given CI personnel is vey small and Dr. Neugarten’s idea is that CI should not be restricted to dedicated CI personnel only, but that is a company wide activity.

He is training people in his company to raise the CI awareness explaining among others what CI is and is not, how every employee can contribute and benefit.


One important aspect is that the way we look at things is critical and we have to start to look with different eyes. It is always the way we see that we construct our environment and react: which opportunities and threats we identify, who we recognize as a competitor or where we see anomalies.


CI is about “seeing what they haven’t (yet) seen” (Rodeburg)

Enhancing the competitive awareness of all employees might provide them with a positive feeling as they feel empowered to provide valuable insights (from a customer,  supplier, end-user perspective) no-one else in the company is able to provide.


The main issue of the training is to teach employees to look and ask so they recognize events they otherwise would not have seen. This could provide valuable insights into customer feedback, anomalies (between top-down and bottom-up views) and early indicators for future planning


There is a difference between paying no attention and having a blindspot

To better understand havea look at this experiemtn Dr. Neugaten mentioned: Experimental Psychology: Human Perception

But don’t cheat and follow the instructions step by step ;-)


Dr. Neugarten provided a very interesting quote from Andy Grove “Snow melts at the edge” meaning you should not forget about the periphery of your business as disruptors are coming from this outside. He provided the example of Customer Support people who are at the periphery to the outside world and have a great insight into the customers. They just need some training to start seeing different, to ask the right questions and to get encouraged to do some finger-pointing when discovering anomalies - in my eyes it’s a interesting approach I will discuss with my CI colleagues when back in the office

During the morning sessions I listened to the presentation of Prof. Luc Quoniam about the Competitive Intelligence cycle at the light of Web2.0 tools. He was presenting on behalf of his student Charles Victor Boutet who could not attend the conference in person.


The idea is that web2.0 resulted in a paradigm shift which enables everyone to write to the internet and consequently everyone can impact the information provided.


People who are searching the web do so by putting keywords into a search engine and often browse only through the first set of results provided – such it is important to be ranked high on this search results if you want to be found and rise your reputation


SEO (Search Engine optimization) 2.0 is using tools for mass application and allows better ranking and better visibility. Such SEO2.0 can be used for lobbying to rise reputation


Prof. Quoniam showed some examples how by using Wordpress and eBay you could do such e-lobbying and increase your page ranking in Google. However one should keep in mind that Google will detect if a webpage rises up in the ranking very fast and will take counter-action.


In the discussion following the presentation the question was discussed that this kind of active SEO will change the landscape of CI research in future.


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