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SCIP Board of Directors Election - Which Issues are Most Critical for CI's and SCIP's Future?

Today SCIP opened voting for its 2009 Board of Directors Election; the polls will close on Friday 14 November. In chatting with a few other SCIP members privately, it was suggested that, we might want to discuss some of the issues SCIP specifically and the CI field in general are facing going forward and most importantly how to handle them, at a time when CI is both experiencing rapid internationalization, as well as, facing an uphill battle in 2009's rather less rosy global economy.

With any luck, this might help SCIP's membership make the most informed decisions possible in selecting their representatives to the board. At worst, it will furnish some recommendations to the new (and current) board members on what they might consider doing next. Perhaps, it might even help generate better turnout and maybe even grow SCIP's membership base in the process by building awareness. As you may know, an alarmingly small number of votes (often a single vote!) separate those selected from those who are not and, as turnout has always been surprisingly low, hopefully this will generate the kind of considered and engaged attention the SCIP election deserves.

Therefore, with indulgence of Dr. Martha Matteo, chair of the nominating committee (on which I also served) I give you the full text excerpt announcing opening of the polls today.

SCIP 2009 Board of Directors Election – Voting Ballot Opens October 28!
October 28 marks the beginning of the election for the 2009 SCIP Board of Directors. On behalf of the Nominating Committee consisting of Babette Bensoussan, Craig Fleisher, Jody Holtzman, Arik Johnson, Mark Little, Rainer Michaeli, and Roberta Piccoli, I am asking for a few minutes of your time to vote for the new class of directors who will begin a three-year term beginning January 1, 2009.

All SCIP regular, group, and life members in good standing have the privilege, and I would also add responsibility, of voting in this important election. The convenient, secure, web-based voting process will only take a couple of minutes at most. Results of the election will be announced within two weeks following the closing date of the election.

Voting is quick, easy and completely private. To access the ballot and information about the candidates, visit this link to vote:

• Enter your Email Address
• Enter the password for this election: SCIPBOD08
• Click the Login button to access the Ballot
• View the candidates information
• Vote for up to three (3) candidates
• Click the Vote button to submit and confirm your selections
• If you choose, you may print a copy of your voting confirmation

(Note: only one (1) vote per eligible member, you will have a chance to review your choices before submitting your Vote. You cannot change or log back into the ballot once you have submitted your Vote)

Congratulations and best wishes to the 2008 slate of candidates:

 Adrian Alvarez – Midas Consulting – Buenos Aires, Argentina
 Claudia Clayton – ViewPoint – Richmond, Virginia, USA
 Erik Glitman – Fletcher/CSI – Williston, Vermont, USA
 Donna Hawryliw – Erie Insurance Group – Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
 Yoshio Sugasawa – Nihon University – Tokyo, Japan
 Jens Thieme – Ciba Inc. – Basel, Switzerland
 Todd Welda – Whirlpool Corporation – St. Joseph, Michigan, USA

The voting ballot will be available October 28 beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET and will conclude Friday, November 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET. If you require assistance with your login, please contact Marty Zurcher at +1.703.739.0696, extension 109, or by email

Please don’t forget to vote!


Martha Matteo, Ph.D.
2008 Nominating Committee Chair

As for topics, I don't believe anything is necessarily out of line or improper. I'll suggest the 'Golden Rule' applies in matters of decorum (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), try not to get political and keep it clean, but otherwise, let's have at the issues and see what we can come up with for ideas going forward.

Best wishes to all the candidates,

- Arik

p.s. I've already voted and I'm not telling for whom I voted. ;-) But I can say, once I was finished reviewing all of the candidates answers, I was done with the actual ballot casting in about three minutes flat. Good luck!

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Replies to This Discussion

Dear Arik,

My points of view on the challenges and opportunities faced ahead by SCIP are:

a) As you say, SCIP will be faced with probably the worst recession it has ever faced. This was not apparent in the recent conference in Rome, as with some 266 registered persons was very well attended. But it is something inevitable. I believe that we should give our members more on line training because training will be left a very small budget (if at all) and therefore no money will be spent on travel expenses. This will also be an opportunity to expand our international community, as SCIP has been lagging behind expanding internationally. Small changes will also be needed in this regard, as even the schedules of these events are thought for the US and not for the international community.

b) Even though SCIP has improved the applicability of the training offered. It still has to be bettered. Right now, companies and attendees will immediate pay-back for the investment. Therefore, cases and clear applications have to be put down to earth, so attendees can apply the gained knowledge the very next day they come back to work. I believe any person attending my sessions at SCIP conferences can tell that they were very applicable, because I spent a lot of time on the “how to”.

c) SCIP’s offering is still mostly focused on the new to the profession person. I believe SCIP should have more offering for the experienced practitioner, and accompany the member throughout his/her entire career. All of us have heard of studies where it is more profitable to keep a customer than to for a new one. This is just that, of course, for keeping your customer you have to offer something valuable to him or her and this would be training, among other things.

d) SCIP has a tiny share of the international competitive intelligence community. Even though all countries will be affected by the global financial crisis we are experiencing now. I believe that this tiny share is an opportunity for SCIP to take advantage, as it will allow it compensate the members it might lose (as budgets tighten and association fees are cut off). But it needs a plan for doing that. I have been working on that and have experience building a CI community in Argentina.

e) The financial crisis has also to be considered as an opportunity to make CI and its benefits more known as a means to get companies interested in having a CI department. There is space to do that even in the US, where the penetration of CI, I believe is higher than anywhere else. Therefore, it is up to SCIP and its PR work to be there. I have experience dealing with the media in Latin America and got they to publish me, as many times I wanted. And, for free!

These are my points, mostly taken from my blog!

I hope to have convinced other readers, since as you said Arik, you already voted! I hope I was among the lucky one/s!

Many thanks Arik and anyone on the SCIP BoD Nominating Committee for the support of the SCIP membership community as this is THEIR election (and as a member, although a nominee myself this time around it is mine as well).

You all and many predecessors of yours throughout the decades have worked hard to establish and protect, nurture and shape a foundation for which millions (in business, political or private arenas) have tried unsuccessfully in less favorable environments: a member elected representation of everyone’s (and the group’s as a whole) interest.

Unfortunately this is not a standard in this world where listening to each other, performing under common ethical guidelines and supporting each other’s goals to aim for higher grounds as individuals and a group that defines a profession, seem to be pushed aside by all too many "hot spots" and "big ticket items" that rule the public stage.

We all, as SCIP members, should recognize what we have in place here already and how strong it would make us as a standing team belonging together by still following our individual objectives – if we only used it to the maximum of its capability:

A free choice where everyone can be equal and counting part of a strong vote: for ONE SCIP!

Now just as I did independently from my nomination ambitions, SCIP members should come out in force to shape what is to become THEIR SCIP.

So, get up and vote already!
We owe this to everyone who tries hard to make this ONE SCIP a huge success to everyone. Nobody is here to outshine anyone or follow their own personal agenda. We are all in it together because WE CARE about our common future in this exciting profession.

As to respond to the call for ideas I won’t repeat my ballot details (but you can follow the link in case you missed them) where I outlined a focus on internationalization and collaboration as well as support for all CI professionals to gain wide spread industry recognition.

Also I’d like to invite you to follow some discussions I initiated here at this forum on internationalization and education/career support with a couple of ideas provided as a discussion starting point.

In general I believe that a strong SCIP should always be open for topics that will continuously arise among members, small or big, with fair and smart resource allocation.

But for this, my friends, we all need your input, your hunger, your requirements and your helping hand in feedback, challenge and also in supporting the tirelessly working SCIP staff and committees.

In the end ONE SCIP needs to be and will be OUR SCIP. So let’s get up and MAKE IT HAPPEN - talk to your fellow SCIPpers, convince them to vote and help to lift this association to become what you dream it to be.
Thanks for getting this timely discussion up here Arik. The issues SCIP faces are many, and our candidates have done a nice job at identifying several of the most prominent ones in my view and have concisely articulated what they might emphasize should they be elected. I am very pleased that SCIP has 7 qualified candidates, as any 3 of the seven will be capable of moving the organization forward.

Just to keep this discussion focused, I'll start with a definition of issue as being a "contestable point, difference of opinion regarding fact, value or policy the resolution of which has consequences for the organization's strategy and plans" (that comes right out of the "issue analysis" chapter in my 2003 book w/ B. Bensoussan entitled Strategic and Competitive Analysis, pg 252). Since I outline a process for doing issues analysis in that chapter, I won't belabour those points here. Having said that, issues usually come in the form of those tough to answer questions that vex us from year to year and plan to plan.

Since I am not a candidate for the BOD and have recently served four years in this role, suffice it to say that one of the key issues SCIP needs to make progress on is as follows: How can we develop and institutionalize intelligence systems to effectively support the decision making tasks of SCIP's leadership?

As strange as this may sound (possibly excepting the hordes of directors who have served through the years), the Society has been ineffective for many years in performing the tasks that many of us frequently perform in our work roles. Whether we are talking about environmental scanning or monitoring, competitor identification and analysis, global trend assessment, or foresight development, SCIP's leadership (both elected volunteers and staff) have often been compelled to make decisions on a less-than-enlightened basis. The results of this show up as "reinventing things" we did years ago or several times previously, being surprised about other organization's moves in the marketplace, struggling to develop a cogent and agile strategic plan, or by missing out on any plethora of opportunities that have presented themselves to our Society through the years (etc.).

There are no shortages of strategic issues facing SCIP, its members, or the field at large. I just hope that we have the capability, availability (of volunteers like those running for Board positions), and willingness to work together in meeting the challenges and opportunities. As we always say, there is no better time than the present to catalyze the effort.
Craig's critical and constructive comments based on his rich experience both inside and outside of SCIP should motivate to establish a task force that applies best practice CI activities to serve the SCIP decision makers the right amunition to address the challenges ahead.

This task force could rotate volunteers, become a breeding ground for new solutions that are piloted and field tested by SCIP (in response to Alan Michaels' comments) and involve students and scholars with new, exciting projects in aiming to provide SCIP actionable intelligence.

SCIP members could be presented the solutions at the summits in special works shops where they would learn along the way about SCIP's positioning in its competitive environment, its responses and successes, failures and learnings alike.

What better way to role model our own profession and involve all walks of life (CI life that is)? In my opinion SCIP should be the first global non profit to establish such a task force if not even a CI function. Who could be more qualified?
There is a saying in many languages, which in English is: the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot. I believe this is true at SCIP too. My impression is that SCIP does not lack skills, I am convinced that the very best of the profession is at SCIP, I have no doubt on that. But I do also believe that many people take SCIP as a part of their private life. Therefore, they keep their skills in the closet when it comes to SCIP. I advocate that the persons on the board approach each new issue, as it were a CI project. This is something I did for developing a CI community in Argentina and which found great success.

Another issue is if you read what the candidates say, we all agree on the importance of some key issues. Say, the need for taking better care of international community, the difficult times ahead and the need to add more value to members. We all have different ideas on how to tackle these issues. I propose, therefore, that whoever wins the election, the losers collaborate with the winners for the best of SCIP. I believe that making it to the board will help me to do a valuable contribution to SCIP, much more meaningful than the ones I have done in the past in very different roles, due to the board decision making on SCIP’s direction. But if I lose (even though I am doing my best to be elected), this will not mean that my efforts for SCIP will cease. I see a lot of good ideas out there (not all necessarily mine) and such a commitment of collaborating with the winners will mean that we will be able to move SCIP into the desired direction.

I am convinced that some of the candidates I know share my point of view and hope that we all can agree on that.

Best regards and please do vote for the candidate you believe is more capable or has the best proposals!

Even better get to SCIP and volunteer to change the Society into the direction you want it to go!

SCIP definitely depends on its members for developing itself into the large association we want it to be!

Adrian Alvarez
Amen to your comment regarding the historic (in)ability of SCIP to use CI to effectively further it's goals. Our new Executive Director, Ken Garrison, shows serious signs of addressing this lack. He is very well networked in the association community and has already brought benchmarking data to the Board in support of our decision process.

We certainly can help him out here, by framing issues in such a way that volunteers (including B of D members) can help to research issues, track competitors and create an "early warning" system. There is already a group out there that is willing to send alerts- I received several during my time as President (2007). At the time, we lacked the internal processes needed to respond quickly, consider action (or not) and then follow through. I agree that this is a useful point to consider as an action item in the new strategic plan (2009-2011) being rolled out by the Board of Directors for the Society.
Thanks Arik for starting this discussion and asking for ideas regarding issues facing SCIP and the CI profession.

After first strongly agreeing with Jens Thieme's comments about thinking globally, one SCIP, a greater use of online collaboration tools, and his views on SCIP Virtual University for professional education and certification, etc.....

I believe SCIP should be a virtual showcase for CI solutions for both SCIP members and non-members. SCIP should be the CI Virtual Mall. It should not play favorites; it should just list all CI solutions and let the best solutions rise to the top. SCIP should allow only SCIP members to vote and provide reviews of CI solutions. This will help SCIP increase membership and, more importantly, provide non-members with an online destination point to learn about and maybe test-drive CI solutions. (Perhaps SCIP can also get vendors to provide discounts to SCIP members to increase SCIP benefits.)

The above concept goes far beyond the current directing listing of CI vendors.

Additionally, SCIP should also add more thought leadership in corporate planning and global marketing to provide a better context for CI, as well as to gain more attention from planning and marketing professionals.

This is a great discussion. I would hope that whoever is elected to the Board will reach out to members of this group to gain new ideas.

I'd like to address a few of the ones listed here. First, creating our own body of knowledge around SCIP and even perhaps using some of the leading minds in CI and strategy who are our members to flesh out the new SCIP strategy makes infinite sense. Building a historical database of SCIP information would also be helpful, as we have discussed on the Education Committee (we found we only had 2 years of back data on course results for example, and that we weren't really using it to plan course locations, timing and frequency). With a constantly changing volunteer board and staff changes, we can't count on memory to keep from making the same mistakes or to keep us from forgetting the best ideas. We also need a way of creating momentum in a sustained way despite all these changes.

Another important task will be increasing membership value for SCIP members. This is not well communicated and we also need more emphasis on developing this to increase membership. Some of the ideas above could be pursued, but overall we need to evaluate the value proposition and make it clear and overwhelming. Especially in these economic times. As a former product development executive, I would recommend applying product design principles to SCIP membership value and answer the issues that members have in reference to this topic.

SCIP also needs a strategic marketing plan. How do we reach all CI managers, CI non managers who need these techniques in major corporations, sales/marketing/strategy executives in mid size companies, etc. We discuss this every year but we don't make much progress on it. That's not to say that the staff aren't doing work on this, but the time has come to leapfrog over our year by year process and come out of the recession with a big push across corporate, academia, and media. This is a public relations and marketing challenge, but with practical, actionable plans we can accomplish a lot.

Regarding education, I am about to step down as the EAC chair for 2008. I have been on the commitee for three years along with the very dedicated committee members, most of whom must step down this year due to the charter. We need to fill the education commitee with committed individuals who want to make the ideas described above happen. So please call Sandy Skipper if you want to volunteer and develop strategy for SCIP's training program.

The EAC and SCIP launched over a dozen new webinars this year, added a new course on Managing the CI Function, and defined a strategy for an Advanced Institute for next Fall which helps to address our lack of education for the advanced CI professionals. We put it off from this year to 2009 to have plenty of time to plan and do it right based on interviews we did with CI leaders. As the chair of the EAC, I served as the liaison with the European Summit committee and was very impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm of our international members.

For next year, we are committed to launch webinar series on topics like CI Leadership, CTI, and one on Global CI. These become virtual courses on these topics. The new committee will address other distance or virtual learning opportunities based on strategies we developed in conjunction with SCIP this year. It is quite clear that we must move ahead with both global CI learning and virtual education.

We have also identified an additional course for 2009 which will be RFP'd as was the new 2008 course - 2008 was the first time we did a call for proposals for a new SCIP course to spread the training opportunities around among our qualified trainers. And as a result of 3 years of pushing this to the forefront, the EAC through our new Executive Director, Ken Garrison, was able to finally put certification on the confirmed agenda for 2009 in terms of developing a certification solution. Certification is a good example of the kind of item that has been on SCIP's agenda for a long time, and took a lot of effort to get to this point. It's not easy, sometimes it takes time, but with perseverance it can be done.

Regarding the idea of showcasing of all SCIP provider solutions and the Virtual Mall concept, that has merit. While SCIP needed the added revenue from the changes to its membership structure and advertising and sponsor opportunities, and while those are obviously fairly priced to the larger company market due to the uptake by vendors ... there are other solutions providers that are not capable of paying these types of fees. Yet those same vendors e.g. independent consultants are the ones giving of their time to SCIP volunteer efforts in many cases. Rather than leaving them out of the process, there should be a way for SCIP to generate incremental revenue AND provide them with a forum. This could also provide added member value - we hear at conferences that the way most CI managers find consultants is through word of mouth. Why not through SCIP? Because no real vehicle exists to make this practical.

First come the needs, then the strategies, then the ideas, then the execution. As the EAC Chair I have seen first hand just how difficult it can be to get to that last part of the process. But the time has come to do the best job we can with the needs analysis, then evaluate all these great ideas, and get the best ones executed. SCIP needs a new positioning, a fleshed out strategy with action plans to achieve its objectives, a new member value proposition and marketing plan, and a more global approach. It's a lot to do, but it can be done.

And yes, I am running for the board also. As you can see, my method is to collect the facts, listen to ideas, formulate a good plan and then GET IT DONE. I come from a direct marketing, then marketing, then product development, then strategy and market development background, so getting results is the real payoff in my opinion. But whoever is elected, I hope they will continue to focus on increasing value for SCIP members - because that is the ultimate test of an association.

And do get out and vote, but also do volunteer to make some of these ideas happen. Or recommend someone from your company that would like the experience.

I just received an email from SCIP on the election status - only 12% turnout!?! C'mon SCIP members - it only takes a minute to read the positions of the candidates and make a cogent decision on who would best represent your concerns for the field. Here's the message:

Voting ends Friday, November 14

We are rapidly coming to the end of the election for the 2009 SCIP Board of Directors and while only 12% of eligible voters have voted, we are confident that you will exercise your privilege to elect the individuals that will lead the strategic direction of your Society. All SCIP regular, group, and life members in good standing are encouraged to vote in this important election. The convenient, secure, web-based voting process will only take a couple of minutes.

Voting is quick, easy and completely private. To access the ballot and information about the candidates, visit this link to vote:

Enter your Email Address
Enter the password for this election: SCIPBOD08
Click the Login button to access the Ballot
View the candidates information
Vote for up to three (3) candidates (check the box next to the candidate’s name)
Click the Vote button to submit and confirm your selections
If you choose, you may print a copy of your voting confirmation

(Note: only one (1) vote per eligible member, you will have a chance to review your choices before submitting your Vote. You cannot change or log back into the ballot once you have submitted your Vote)

Congratulations and best wishes to the 2008 slate of candidates:

Ø Adrian Alvarez – Midas Consulting – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ø Claudia Clayton – ViewPoint – Richmond, Virginia, USA

Ø Erik Glitman – Fletcher/CSI – Williston, Vermont, USA

Ø Donna Hawryliw – Erie Insurance Group – Erie, Pennsylvania, USA

Ø Yoshio Sugasawa – Nihon University – Tokyo, Japan

Ø Jens Thieme – Ciba Inc. – Basel, Switzerland

Ø Todd Welda – Whirlpool Corporation – St. Joseph, Michigan, USA

Don’t miss your chance to vote, remember the election ballot will close this Friday, November 14. If you require assistance with your login, please contact Marty Zurcher at +1.703.739.0696, extension 109, or by email


Martha Matteo, Ph.D.
2008 Nominating Committee Chair
SCIP is us! We are all aware that SCIP comes to life, when colleagues contribute with their talents and experience for the sake of SCIP. It is all about volunteering. Volunteering is the "alpha and omega" of SCIP. If it weren't for those who volunteer, there would be no SCIP. Our Society is us: the members.

Many members volunteer to committees, event organization, board of directors, chapters, etc. OK, not all members are in a position to volunteer or make major contributions at a certain point in time. But those members who do, are more than welcome. Membership implies, furthermore, a certain responsibility. The Society is there for us and we should be there for the Society.

Elections for three new members to the Board of Directors are ongoing. It is up to us, the members, to decide who is our best choice. Active participation is required of each member. Exercise your voice and vote. It is not only a right, but also a responsibility. Those who vote will have someone assuming responsibility for them. They will have a say at the table.

By contributing to appoint those who will represent us at the board, we will be supporting those ideas, objectives and priorities with which we identify most. We have a choice. Let us make use of it.

Congratulations to those colleagues, who have succeeded in making it to this year's slate and best of luck to them all for a positive outcome in this election. I am looking forward to working together with you all.

Briefly, since my colleagues are so much more eloquent than I:

1. Be a global organization. SCIP can't be an "American" organization if it wants relevance going forward. Multiple language tracks!

2. Promote the profession. It's unacceptable that most executives don't know what CI is at this late date. If we are to survive, we must get the message out.

3. Propose real value in an age of social media. Organization of all kinds are in financial straits because the Internet provides social connection and information exchange for free. SCIP needs to know it's value proposition and get that message out.

Those three are more than enough to get started.
I have one thing to say....

Financial Stability. period. there is nothing that SCIP can do until there is financial stability.

OK, maybe one more thing to say...


Having lived through the last financial crisis...SCIP needs to have strong fiscal policies first and foremost and then they will be able to meet the strategic objectives of the organization.


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