Competitive Intelligence

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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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One of the pillars of CI is the need for critical questioning and for example, the use of Toyota's five why's? which, if applied properly are an excellent, if annoying, way to uncover blindspots?

What would make the merger more successful for me is precisely knowing who and what the F&S Institute is, and why they are staying so quiet about the merger. Why is this so hard to understand?

Your comments worry me, because though this appears to be a done deal, that does not suddenly make everything alright. There are some serious issues here, which, by agreeing to move on as though nothing has happened, makes us complicit in sweeping them under the carpet. As Daniel Goleman once wrote in his early (pre-EQ) book called Vital Lies, Simple Truths, the danger for families (or organizations) in sweeping things under the carpet is that we then tend to rearrange the furniture so as to hide the fact that we swept something under the carpet, and of course, we (must) never ever mention that we did it.

We are only one week after the merger - and yet are already stopping asking questions....


Michael, I understand from your answer that the silence of F&S is worrying. Yes it is. I also understand you wish to keep the ball rolling so that the issues you have in mind don't get buried in the aftermath of the vote. I also support that. This is why I wished to engage into a discussion to maintain those concerns live and see which constructive actions can be proposed.
I look forward to seeing how the discussion unfolds. There are certainly opportunities here for change.


I have great confidence that SCIP will become even stronger as a result of this crisis. I expect to see soon a detailed plan how SCIP is moving forward. I wonder why not to use this active forum to discuss the new directions that SCIP has to take.
I love that idea Avner - feel free to start a separate forum discussion - or even a group - and I'm sure that people would engage you on it.
Avner, I echo your proposal using this ning to start the discussion about what would make the merger successful.
The vote has been taken - and whether we like it or not, the merger will now move forward.

Lots of questions were not answered. The key one was what next. SCIP almost went bankrupt - and at the last minute, F&S has come to the rescue with a cash injection. However this does not address why SCIP had its problems. The explanation that it was due to the current economic crisis doesn't wash - as many of the problems had occurred before the crisis. (When I joined in 1996 there were over 7,000 members; there was a well-respected print journal - CI Review; subscriptions were much lower.... Since then, CI Review and its successor has closed; membership has more than halved; subscriptions have doubled.... value is less than any of the other 4 professional groups I belong to).

If SCIP doesn't look into fundamental change - to address membership churn; to regain lost members; to restore credibility versus competitors; to reflect the web 2.0, collaborative and cooperative world of 2009 rather than the pre-web1989 world or pre-web 2.0 1999; to renew and regain academic respectability with a recognized peer review journal; to respect excellence and reward people who contribute by sharing knowledge; to internationalise and reflect global membership rather than remaining US-centric.... then the money will run out again and there won't be a F&S on a white horse that can be called to the rescue.

So now the board has won. What do they plan to do to consolidate the victory? Or will it be kept quiet and presented as a fait accompli - like the F&S plan. As if that's the case, then SCIP will fail again.
There's an old observation to the effect that "if we want things to stay the same, then something's going to have to change".

However, if everything in SCIP is going to continue on just as before, as they and their new partner seem to be claiming, then "something's going to have to change", and SCIP hasn't yet said what this might be ... apart from having two new directors of course ...
I guess that the discussion we had here on the board did not change much when it came to the SCIP vote for or against the merger. That is understandable, many of those involved with SCIP need a fast solution to get their own revenues going, and the F&S merger was the only solution on the table.

You all have to excuse me if I again only focus on the academic side, but this raises a number of questions, of which the most important seem to be 1. How can the F&S Institute provide the kind of neutrality, objectivity and height that an academic platform requires? 2. If it cannot, what are the alternatives?

I read on F&S homepage under F&S Institute that they are:
“A non-profit institute dedicated to providing research into planet health. The Institute leverages all of Frost & Sullivan's extensive research databases, brand name, and 360 degree visionary model to bring new insight, influence and strategy to global health”

What has this to do with the SCIP charter? “planet health”?, A place where they use all of their databases and brand name? This looks more like a consultancy wish-wash than a home for the largest interest organization for CI professionals and academics. And then, more information “COMING SOON”.

If F&S are interested in keeping their academic branch I suggest they get involved with the members here on this chat board or by mail. A failure to do so may only lead to membership deterioration and a further division between CI practitioners and academics. This is a time for open discussions.

All the best, Klaus
I think it's time to do what we wish to do if we want our professional association to go forward. I have been begging SCIP to get some press for CI for years with no action. To think we had no press when we had our annual in Atlanta is shocking. Now we are looking at our next Annual in D.C. and we won't get press unless we start working on it ourselves - now. Remember that F&S only made them solvent. It does not make them better. If we want to make SCIP better, we have to move off our butts and do it ourselves. I suggest we begin by deciding our priorities and then begin doing them. Don't count on the SCIP board to do anything. We are the members and we can do as we choose. It's our organization. Let's make it work. Carolyn
I like the idea of putting together some ideas for SCIP. If this is a member run organization, then the members need to be heard. SCIP staff and board should not be controlling influencers over what SCIP is and does. I am not trying to be a revolutionary or to criticize SCIP, which is staffed by smart, well meaning, dedicated association experienced people. But clearly from the posts here there is a disconnect from what the members WANT and what they GET. When that is the case, it's hard to hold an association together in a downturn. Makes me think about the case of Corning in Treacy's book that was given out at the conference - they did well when trends were in their favor, but that's all that was keeping them going. If that's all that's keeping SCIP going, then this cycle will repeat itself. So, I suggest an actual member action group that recommends specific actions to SCIP regarding this disconnect. Each constituency must have its needs met within the approved scope of the association. Not all will have their needs met equally, but there has to be a minimum level. There are real issues here, and unless the membership acts in some fashion, they will be swept under the carpet and all will remain as it was.
LIke some colleagues, I am concerned that too little is known about the F&S Institute, so I did, what to me was the obvious thing, and asked F&S themselves for some information ...

I wrote the following:

"SCIP - the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals has announced a proposed merger with the F&S Institute.
Do you have any information as to what this Institute actually is? I believe that it's a non-profit organization. But the F&S website says very little about it."

and some 10 days later have today received the following, which I present EXACTLY as received. I think it raises some interesting questions, which I will leave others to pursue:


"Here are some details on the proposed FSI-SCIP Partnership:

* We approached SCIP one year ago to join our "Strategic Partnership Consortium".
* SCIP and FSI are both non-profit organizations, and it is proposed that both become sister organizations.
* The SCIP Board (and Members) have approved this partnership, and the details are being worked out at the current time.
* This is not an acquisiton for cash and Frost & Sullivan will not benefit financially from SCIP.
* We are not acquiring SCIP. Rather, we will take a management role with their events and membership services in line with our GTM value proposition.
* The SCIP Board and Members will continue to drive the content of their association.

We are proposing the following with SCIP:

* Managing their global events.
* Adding a career development program for SCIP Members.
* Developing a global program of SCIP events with GIL Global: SCIP Europe in November 2009, SCIP APAC in October 2010, SCIP Americas March 2010.
* Developing a CI Newsletter for their Members.
* Building the global membership.

About Frost & Sullivan Institute (FSI):
A non-profit institute dedicated to providing research into planet health. The Institute leverages all of Frost & Sullivan's extensive research databases, brand name, and 360 degree visionary model to bring new insight, influence and strategy to global health.

FSI was founded to provide all employees, families, and friends a structured venue to particpate in a global non-profit organizaiton dedicated to global health. This includes both environmental and human heatlh. FSI is in its developmental state. This Institute will bring great pride to all Frost & Sullivan employees. We hope that everybody gets involved. Our first two scheduled meetings are with Bill Gates and Al Gore."



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