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So, what do we think about this? I've got no dog at all in this race, just sincerely curious about what others think.

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I've read this thread pretty closely and this question continues to resonate. What does F&S Institute get from "bailing out SCIP"? And if nothing is changing at SCIP, how is the money situation going to get any better, won't the money run out again?
Carolyn,

When you were a little girl, what were you told about the man who might walk up to you and say "Want some candy, little girl?"
Why, Kirk, I was told to take money instead, of course. My father is Sicilian.
Frankly, F&SI says it supports the environment. What does that have to do with CI? How can they fit us into their tax exempt status and get away with it? (My brother-in-law does audits.) Just because I grow catnip, it won't satisfy the IRS., Carolyn
Is this merger really what is being presented to be? In the President's message it says that basically if we all aren't strong armed into voting 'yes' - then the society will plummet at the end of 2nd quarter - is it just me or aren't we already into the 2nd quarter??? So we are being sold down the river that if a 'no' vote SCIP will close in roughly 2 to 4 months? Seems like this has had to be in the works for a while now, but yet we are being rushed to decide?? What about staff? Who stays? Who goes? Any signing perks at the top?
A number of participants at the upcoming ECIS 2009 in Stockholm, June 11 and 12, have asked for a special session for discussing the question of how to organize CI professionals and academics in the future in light of the SCIP situation. Prof. Sven Hamrefors, the chair of the Organizing Committee, have decided in favor of this idea.

If you have not registered yet, you are welcome to do so at http://www.atelis.org/Version_ang/pages/evenements_3colloque_europe... See you in Stockholm!

Kind regards, Klaus
Now I get a very interesting email from SCIP about a chapter chair conference call.

Chapter Chair Conference Call
SCIP/Frost & Sullivan Merger
Tuesday, May 12th
3:00PM EDT

So...stay tuned. Could get even MORE interesting.
The understanding we were given in the Education Committee concurs with what Arik has put into the record here. When I read through the email from SCIP these points seemed to be confirmed. Therefore, I voted for the arrangement, As Arik points out, if this is not correct, then we are voting based on mistaken information. I am sure we would all be very unhappy if that were the case.

What I understand -- and again I have not confirmed this - that F&S gets out of this is the kind of credibility in the CI community that SCIP has. It adds an element to their CI offering that they cannot get otherwise. They have the marketing reach, SCIP has the CI validity. And yes, where money is involved, organizations can talk a good game, then throw out the credibility to make more money. So, I would say that SCIP needs to be vigilant that this does not happen. We were also told that F&S does not have an international base, which SCIP has been building.

That's not to say that SCIP doesn't need to make money, but I agree that doesn't come from raising member dues. It comes from getting more members, getting more people to come to the conference, offering more quality education, getting a certification program going that produces revenue, doing distance learning, and getting the word out to more corporate personnel who need to be using CI. Charging more to an ever shrinking base is kind of where we have been heading, and it isn't working. It will come from offering networking and educational opportunities to the broadest industry base, and pricing marketing and advertising opportunities appropriately, not being exclusionary to any constituency, and providing good value to all members.

Re the financial situation, we were given to understand that there is insufficient money to keep operating SCIP at the end of this quarter. Whether all potential partners have been approached, I can't say. But SCIP would have to act very quickly to do this if indeed it will run out of money by then.

So were rolling the dice -- it's a judgment call, and we know only what we have been informed is the case. Let's hope that it DOES change enough things at SCIP that the organization can grow ...
Charging more to a shrinking base is known as a death spiral. If there are no changes to the business model, the cash lasts for a while, but soon the society is back in difficult straits. More funding will be available with more concessions.

We're not seeing any changes in the model here. This is the venture funding approach. The existing model is associated with a burn rate for cash, and without changes the burn rate will eliminate the first infusion of cash.

We still need to see change, and the "no changes" mantra from SCIP is actually the exact wrong message.

This will be interesting. Tomorrow afternoon it's the Chapter Chair's turn for the hard sell. Sounds like SCIP is working their way through the stakeholder groups to make the sales pitch last through the vote.

Makes me wish I hadn't already voted.
I think things are boiling down to a couple of key questions:
1) What in this for the Frost & Sullivan Institute? Why are they willing to put up the cash - and what do they expect in return (and when)?
2) Will Frost & Sullivan be kept completely separate from the Frost & Sullivan Institute - despite sharing the same leadership? Have the guarantees mentioned by Arik included a full hands-off approach so that vendors competing with Frost & Sullivan won't feel disenfranchised from the SCIP / CI community
3) What changes do the board plan to make to end the death spiral of decreasing membership and diminishing membership services? If it's business-as-usual as claimed what will prevent the F&S money running out.

We've not had answers to any of these questions - and I still find it suspect that they've not been addressed yet. For that reason, i don't regret my no-vote and will not renew my membership unless I see real changes that show that this is actually positive.

Incidentally, the F&S Institute's tax-exempt status expires at the end of 2009 (according to http://www.melissadata.com/lookups/np.asp?ein=203391011). Will it definitely be renewed? Is that the reason for the SCIP purchase - to give it a reason to remain tax-exempt?
Arthur,

I'm looking at the upcoming SCIP conference call with Chapter Chairs, and it occurs to me after reading your outstanding questions that the following should be provided in writing:

1. A copy of the draft agreement INCLUDING the amount of the current deficit and the amount of the cash infusion being offered by Frost.
2. An iron-clad statement in both the bylaws of SCIP and the Frost Institute that vendor neutrality will be observed at all times.
3. An outline of budgetary measures under consideration to prevent further financial shortfalls.
4. An assurance that at no future time will the intellectual property of SCIP revert to a for-profit entity. That way the articles and courses owned by SCIP could be donated to an educational institution like Mercyhurst College or the University of Windsor or even donated to more than one such college with CI curricula, but could NOT be later given to Frost or any other private vendor.

Does anyone have more to add to this list? Or would this suffice to answer many of the concerns voiced in our ever-so-brief discussions here?
Interesting insight on the handover of SCIP IP, Mark. For my own part the IP that I have contributed to SCIP I would like to see made available under a Creative Commons license (most likely attribution, share-alike). For those not familiar with Creative Commons its an IP regime that allows authors to designate their materials for use in whole or in part, with or without attribution, whether or not the IP can be used for commercial purposes and whether or not subsequent users must also pay said Creative Commons license forward.

Creative Commons will ensure that the larger CI community will receive the maximum value for IP while still giving authors (or a designated non-profit receiver such as Mercyhurst) would maintain a level of appropriate control over their subsequent use of that material.
Outstanding idea. I was struggling with the idea of it belonging to more than one entity. It was a comment by John McGonagle who first suggested Mercyhurst, but it made a lot of sense to me. Creative Commons makes even more sense...because ultimately it should belong to the SCIP members over the years, and to the broader "profession".

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