Competitive Intelligence

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News arrived today that Bob Galvin, founder of the Galvin Electricity Initiative, died on Tuesday, October 11th.  Galvin had been the CEO and Chairman of Motorola for over 30 years.  The Galvin Electricity Initiative was a visionary attempt to transform our obsolete electricity system.  Those who knew him would not be surprised to find he was involved in a visionary effort.  

I didn't know Mr. Galvin.  I just saw him give the keynote speech at SCIP a few years ago, and ran across his electricity initiative because of my consulting in that industry.  

At Motorola, Galvin had been a strong proponent, sponsor,  and early adopter of formal competitive intelligence as a strategic component.  Galvin's keynote speech, he described adopting the framework of national intelligence into a corporate environment, and adapting Key Intelligence Topics into a corporate setting.

Galvin also pioneered the adoption of 6 Sigma quality efforts at Motorola.  

The corporate environment has lost a giant.  

Competitive Intelligence has also lost an important advocate and friend. 

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Comment by Arik Johnson on October 22, 2011 at 3:55pm
What a cool memory of him Kirk!
Comment by Ellen Naylor on October 19, 2011 at 3:22pm
I remember Bob's talk like it was yesterday. He was very weak physically, but his mind appeared to be very strong as he made every word count. He had no notes, didn't need them, and he kept the full room's attention like no one else I have ever heard speak: you could hear a pin drop. Even though he could scarely walk across the stage, his presence was so strong, his messages so convincing. Wow, we have lost 2 superstars in CI within a month when you consider the loss of Vernon Prior:
Comment by Kirk Tyson on October 19, 2011 at 12:59pm
Correction....it was the 2005 SCIP conference.
Comment by Kirk Tyson on October 19, 2011 at 12:57pm

I saw Bob at the 1995 SCIP conference.  It was the only interaction I ever had with him, but it was quite memorable.  I was being presented with the SCIP Meritorious Award that morning, and my recently departed friend, Vernon Prior, was one of three people receiving the SCIP Fellows Award.  I just happened to be sitting next to Bob, not because I chose to, but because I arrived a bit late and those were the only open seats.  My wife and 3 year old son were with me.  My 3 year old was being an absolute terror that morning, and I was extremely embarrassed.  (It wasn't until later that we learned he had ADHD.)  Anyway, when Jan Herring called Bob to the podium, he took five steps toward the stage, did an about face, came back to where we were sitting and said, "I think it's great that you brought your son today.  My father used to take me to conferences all the time.  We're never quite sure what small children will get out of these events, but they get something out of it, and it's important for their development,  So, thank you for bringing your son today."  He then made his way to the podium to speak.  I don't think I had ever experienced such kindness.  I will always remember Bob Galvin. 

 

And, just for the record, Bob Galvin was also a SCIP Meritorious Award winner -- in 1997.     

Comment by Alex Ziaullah Mirza on October 15, 2011 at 5:28am

Through the comments and this post I came to know about Bob Galvin. It seems he was a valued asset to the companies he had work for. I am sure he had left many things like his speeches, writings etc. a permanent & authenticated source for CI learners and professionals.

I am very thankful to Arik Johnson who invited me to this post to learn and share more. Thank you Arik!

Comment by Carrie Scott Zakson on October 14, 2011 at 2:21pm
Bob was a kind soul. Willing to spend time with anyone. He's one CEO I still think highly of for his warm personsonality. I saw him more than any other CEO to date and I was just fresh out of school working where CEOs just don't probably go unannounced today ... The factory or the cafe. After he stepped down, he even invited my intern to play tennis just because they both loved tennis. Nice guy.
Comment by Mitchell Audritsh on October 14, 2011 at 10:50am

My first SCIP conference was 1996 where Bob Galvin was the keynote speaker. I have used a key quote of his from that speech many, many times over the years because of its powerful simplicity. Speaking as a consumer of competitive intelligence, he said:

 

"My job is to deliver value to customers and to be fairly compensated as a result. And that's all."

 

Mind you, he was saying that to a room full of people fixated on the competitors, not the customers. I have kept that fundamental CI principle in mind for the last 15 years and in many industries. CI is all about enabling our clients to deliver value to their customers. The competition are merely the weeds through which we have to navigate so that we can get at the ultimate goal.

 

Because that speech left such a powerful message with me, I recently sought a copy from SCIP's archives as well as Motorola's Marketing Communication's archives. Neither, it seems, has it - either video or transcript. Alas.

 

Our profession has indeed lost a power advocate and motivator.

Comment by Melanie on October 14, 2011 at 10:09am
I also remember Mr. Galvin's influence and contribution to the competitive intelligence profession.  Thank you Robert Galvin for your advocacy and support.  (Thanks also to Mark for sharing.) 
Comment by Arik Johnson on October 14, 2011 at 9:56am
Thanks for posting this news Mark - I remember his speech at the Chicago 2005 meeting as well and it was great encouragement to see him, although very elderly and frail, enthusiastic as ever about CI's role in the world. Jan Herring did a very nice introduction as I recall and Mr. Galvin's remarks were very well received by everyone.

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