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The discussion of the merger has gone on for 130 messages and 11 pages, mostly before the final vote was announced. Now the vote is final, the merger moves forward.

What changes are necessary for SCIP to succeed, in your view? What needs dropped, added, changed, or started? What was failing ... and what is the key to changing the outcome?

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Martha, Arik, Bonnie, Claudia,

It is becoming increasingly clear that there are probably not 600 people willing to send an email to the SCIP president to request a special meeting of SCIP. And it may also be difficult to find 150 people willing or able to attend a SCIP special meeting (which would have to be held at least 60 days after the announcement of the meeting, according to the SCIP bylaws).

So, it appears that our best alternative is to assemble an informal group of interested people at the SLA conference or another venue that might be convenient.

I agree with Martha that having the meeting at the SLA conference might be a bit soon, but it might be a good start for those able to attend. I regret that I will be unable to attend as I will be in the UK during that time, but I am happy to make a contribution toward the expenses.
Kirk and other Ning members:

A different option than getting 600 people is to communicate directly.

As a member of the The SCIP board of directors, I have been very involved in developing and pursuing our merger discussions with the Frost & Sullivan Institute. As a key part of that effort, I and the rest of the board, have been regularly reading posts on this site, and others, and have been encouraged by the level of discussion and interest expressed. The board members do not post board positions on the Ning site. However, we are trying to be as open as possible and have posted progress updates on the SCIP site at this address: http://www.scip.org/content.cfm?itemnumber=7481.

The board needs all the input and suggestions it can get to produce a merger that creates benefits for all SCIP members. The best ways to communicate with the board is through the SCIP merger blog, which can be found here: http://www.scipblog.org/?p=44 or by direct communication with any of the board members or Ken Garrison. You can reach Martha Gleason at MarthaGleason.SCIPBODChair@scip.org , she will share your input with the rest of the board. Ken is at kgarrison@scip.org. Both Ken and Martha as well as the rest of the board are eager to get your ideas and thoughts on how to keep SCIP relevant to the CI field. Rest assured, the board was elected to serve all of the members, and is looking for the best way to serve all constituents.
Communication directly to the board is the best way to assure that your suggestions are heard, understood and considered in the merger process.
Eric and SCIP Board Members,

With all due respect, many of us Fellows, Meritorious Winners and SCIP members have been trying to communicate with the SCIP Board for many years...at least two decades, in fact.

We choose at this time to communicate via Ning because past efforts to communicate with the Board have resulted in polite responses and no action. We now invite the members of the Board of SCIP to communicate with us, the members.

While we respect the hard work the Board has put into this latest attempt to save SCIP, we now feel it is time that the Board reaches out to us and not the other way around. So, we respectfully invite the officers and board members of SCIP to communicate with us on Ning. If the board wishes to be as open as possible, then this is the forum for ongoing communications. We've been waiting for a long time for SCIP to reach out to us. This is your opportunity.
Kirk, Erik,

this is a control game, and all players have their legitimate interests.

Whereas board members try their best to control an uncertain situation (and I share the respect you expressed, Kirk), they will also try to control a public discussion on this situation since it influences the expectations and sets the course for the future development of the Society. Which in turn diminishes the elbowroom of the board - not only as the leading unit of a troubled membership but simultaneously as the team which has to negotiate and to work out a merger. You might try to control a discussion by an invitation to communicate directly with the board, but you won't get the genie into the bottle again.

Being a board member in times like these looks to me like a game you can hardly win. You could participate in a lively discussion like this - but then you risk the unanimity of the board which is absolutely necessary to preserve actionability. You could refuse to participate in such a discussion (what the board has practised so far) - but then you risk to appear ignorant or unwilling to communicate. You could try to adjust your voices before speaking out - but then you risk to be seen as stolid and slow-going.
It does seem telling that there is not one single comment on any of the postings about the merger on the SCIP Blog. Perhaps because the postings on the merger from SCIP are all announcements (and pronouncements), not invitations to discussion. Or the feeling that comments will not result in any meaningful response or action.

My suggestion would be for the Board to solicit comments/questions by e-mail with a set date by which responses would be posted. The Board should then designate a member or members to speak for the Board on an open blog site, be it The Voice or Ning, for any follow-up discussion of the responses.

This way members can submit input with the expectation that they will be responded to, and Board members can have time to digest and agree on their postions, which will enable them to participate in an open discussion without worrying about mis-representing the Board.
The different constituencies are a big problem.

From the viewpoint of planning chapter events, we always were mindful that our events cycled through the basic topics for relative newcomers to the field, as well as some advanced topics for those who have been around and could easily feel there was nothing left for them at our events. We also included some executive forums to let senior execs describe how their companies used CI to achieve strategic objectives.

To adequately serve all the different constituencies (beginning practitioners, old-hands, vendors, consultants, etc) there needs to be something in the value proposition that recognizes the needs of each...over a wide variety of industries. Not easy to do. Serving wide constituencies is very difficult. If you aim at everything, you can never hit any particular target.

The value proposition(s) need to be compelling enough to attract members and make them willing to pay dues, attend conferences, buy books, etc.

I think one of the major problems is that many people come into the field for 2-3 years and then leave. By the time those folks discover there IS such a thing as SCIP, they drop out and are in a different field.
I think that a certification would be a great achievement, particularly one that senior practioners could be grandfathered into. This worked well for the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA) in Canada when they rolled out their Certified Marketing Research Professional (CMRP) designation. Through peer review and testing, if you could demonstrate that you had mastery of the body of knowledge and skill set, plus 15 years experience, you were grandfathered in as a CMRP. This created a huge critical mass of CMRPs that resulted in good recognition for the designation. Subsequently, access was tightened up and it now requires a number of courses to work toward becoming a CMRP. This gives 2 sustainable revenue sources - the CMRPs who pay annually to keep the designations they don't want to give up, and the course and testing revenues from prospective CMRPs.

I know these aren't new ideas, but I bring them up because I for one would give up both my CMC and CMRP designations in favour of a recognized CI credential if one were available. Like a lot of people, I have extreme "professional association fatigue," and am tired of supporting 4 or 5 different associations and designations. Cheers.. Rob
Having read the other posts - let me suggest a framework. I have been in marketing for over 30 years, so I represent one of those "not totally CI" people.

Segmentation is a very effective technique, in fact it is critical to success. You can visualize a grid with multiple boxes where you look at first role or function (vendor, practitioner,consultants, academics) and then experience level for practitioners (new, experienced, advanced), geographic (US and non or segments thereof), and then perhaps CI dedicated vs. other disciplines that intersect (strategy, planning, business development, product development, marketing, innovation and growth, sales, etc.). You cannot meet the needs of customers you don't identify, evaluate, etc. It's not enough to identify the segments, or to have a mission or overall objectives.

You need a tactical plan for each segment, with timeline and resources against each. Again, not all will receive the same focus at the same time, but at least if there is a specific plan, you will get there.

For the years I have been involved in SCIP we have talked and talked about reaching outside the core CI discipline, and that's where half my clients are today. Yet we have no plan at all to do it, unless there is one and it hasn't been communicated to the membership.

Perhaps what SCIP needs now is a complete evaluation of its process, the standing committees,the role of the board and the Fellows and other contingents, and a way to re-inspire those with the biggest stake in the industry to engage with the association to move this forward. The analysis needs to include an honest, unprotected evaluation of the root problems of the association.
Claudia, in the attempt to make my previous brain-dump more digestable and actionable, here's my attempt to put down some criteria for segmentation of the CI community (read: SCIP's customer base). I hope you and others will put some flesh (and no doubt additional bones) on this skeleton:

Stakeholder analysis and segmentation to define values delivered and pricing for services and offerings, prioritize the segment(s) for which SCIP will focus and deliver value. Below is my quick-and-dirty attempt to enumerate some segments and subsegments, not just in terms of some sort of CI taxonomy but also how specific members would look to receive value and other important attributes to consider when moving from mapping segments to developing specific plans on how to deliver value for relevant segments:
⁃ Practitioners (new, established, full-time, part-time, general, specialized)
⁃ Vendors (new, established, independent/individual contractor, part of a larger firm, CI as the primary
customer value, CI as part of a larger portfolio)
⁃ Academics
⁃ Customers of CI (strategy, marketing, sales, product, senior executives)
⁃ US or International
⁃ In-person participation and entirely virtual participation
I agree with you August on the technology side. I had a quasi-inside view when I was working with SCIP and I can tell you that a huge problem with getting the website set up was integrating it with the membership management system. I don't know the numbers but I think it increased the cost of the site by a factor of at least five and I think it really limited what could be done. On the other hand the membership system is the "IBM" of the non-profit world and as we all know, no one gets fired for choosing IBM so the considerations on the web development had to be subjugated to the member system limitations.

In retrospect I think another factor is that a lot of the social media platforms were not really mainstream yet when the site was initially designed so I don't know if they were necessarily incorporated into the strategic thinking during the development of the site. I do know that the new web presence is a damn site better than its predecessor, but it is just a beginning. I think SCIP will need to make some fundamental changes in its approach to technology to truly take advantage of the social media platforms that should be a natural for any association.

Now that I'm running a different non-profit and we're facing similar problems, although on a smaller scale, I can tell you which direction we're NOT going to go with technology. I'm planning to move us away from proprietary, walled garden CMS and more towards open architecture that plays well with others.
To the point about integrating social media with the existing platforms sort of gets to my issue about not going capex-heavy your first time out the gate with an innovation. Full integration can't be the doorstop that keeps you from putting your toe in the water.

SCIP took so long to get on board with LinkedIn and Facebook groups and instead implemented what I can only assume was an expensive implementations of forums on the scip.org site that were outdated during the time of Charlemagne. The society took so long to get on board and I never really received a valid reason why it took so long to leverage a basically free platform to improve member value. Nature abhors a vacuum and so now we have this Ning platform completely independent of SCIP and this is where all the good virtual interaction and networking within the broader CI community takes place. While I don't know what one person, group or organizational disfunction made this displacement possible the fact that it did happen is a complete lack of leadership, foresight and is completely inexcusable.

All organizations need to take advantage of what's free and get out in front of what's evolving (Is the "scip" log-in on twitter the property of someone at SCIP? I hope so, because I just looked and it's already taken). You have permission to be wrong and to make changes. Your fans will be patient if you say "whoops" and make corrections. In the fast-moving world nobody has the luxury to wait until they have complete certainty before moving forward.
Many issues that have burdened SCIP for years have been captured in this comment stream. Underlying these contributions is the fact that there are a number of members with insight and talent- with the potential to help SCIP move forward.

Since my participation on the Board in 2005, I have been struck with how poorly SCIP is set up to mobilize volunteer advice and talent, above and beyond the basic (and often effective) formal committees. Rather, it excels in delay and inaction, with many explanations about how SCIP cannot do something, rather than throwing out the challenge to a volunteer to "develop something and get back to us." In addition, we seem to excel at "anti-marketing." Here are two recent examples from the Chicago meeting:

--Late in 2008,several of us offered to help market the Chicago meeting, requesting only an list of Chicago area companies (not just SCIP members) divided into particular industries and e-mailable PDF of the conference program- even if not complete. [I have ample evidence that a layered web site requiring several clicks to see titles of talks and speaker identification is not effective at helping a Sr. VP or CEO determine if he/she wants to send someone... Every other conference organization has such a device, to help "grab" potential attendees.] SCIP agreed to this request but failed to deliver the PDF. It continued to put out only the broadest outlines of programming, and (for whatever reason) hide the names of speakers with the potential to draw attendees. We seem to be expert at "anti-marketing."As a result, the volunteer marketing effort was a fraction of what it could have been.

---At the Chicago meeting, the hot new CTI books were kept under lock and key in the Exhibit Hall because "they were so popular." I didn't get it then and I don't get it now. In my experience, people like to browse before buying... Other attempts to raise awareness of the CTI book were also (almost) thwarted

Here are two specific questions for potential volunteers to answer- to help SCIP move forward:

-- What would you like to do to help SCIP address some of the issues highlighted in the comment stream?

-- What would SCIP have to do/change to make it EASY for you to provide such help? What has to change to mobilize the troops???

Martha Matteo

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