Competitive Intelligence

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"SLA CID Leads – 2014 SLA Leadership Summit Highlights": A Reply and a Query

Prompted by the post titled "SLA CID Leads – 2014 SLA Leadership Summit Highlights", the event being described as:

CID leadership will recap the CI Presentation on how to use CI to Build Leadership Capability as well provide highlights for all members from the summit.

This session will look at what CI is, how it can transform the role of the information professional into that of a trusted and respected leader within organizations by exploring...

To which I must reply:

Leadership, power, and trust comes with risk and responsibility. Period.

As it stands, the corporate librarian role is largely a support position. Taking on leadership positions would mean taking on risks and responsibilities beyond what is typically assigned to support roles.

With that in mind, the question needs to be answered:

Do corporate librarians really want these things, and the accompanying risks and responsibilities; or does the profession want the proximity to leadership and power, and the veneer of “respectability” and trust?

If it is the former, then, how do you plan on achieving these objectives? If it is the latter, then the corporate librarian as CI analyst paradigm should be reconsidered - because the costs of CI being synonymous for information support is significant.

This is not an easy decision to make; but important decisions never are.


**Arik, sorry to light this fire on your doorstep....but well, someone has to do it. The CI community in North America does a terrible job of eating its own dog-food - SCIP being an egregious offender of this - its embarrassing.

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I listened to the webinar - Zena has great enthusiasm, and I was glad hear her call out “big data” as a marketing buzzword. But look, if your field hasn't taken to intelligence analysis by now, do you really think it is going to in the future? The instruction you are getting seems pretty simplistic – this is basic stuff, and it is not taking.

Zena's notion that because librarians work with information, it makes them uniquely suited for intelligence analysis is flawed. Just because you drive a car everyday it does not mean your suitable for Formula 1 racing.

Current reporting is a baseline intelligence activity low on the analytic spectrum, and of low value absent complementary products.

If collecting information is the extent of the burden of responsibility that you want to take on professionally, or the extent of your talents – that is okay. But please don't pigeonhole CI as information collection; because some of your actions are having this effect.

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