Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries
I am entertained by your observation, Melanie. My experience practicing competitive intelligence for years now is NOT that CI practitioners and users are cynical but rather naturally attentive, inquisitive, and creative. Dare I even say optimistic? In my circle we usually imagine there's more to a story/trend/rumor than what is easily shared. We thrive on going deeper and proving this out. We love the kudos for unveiling the truth. We often sit back and laugh in awe when we learn the hidden truth, and discuss how cunning things can be. But being cynical has not been an adjective I'd use to describe the group I've been working with. Conversations rarely include "I told you so" but rather "wow, great that you figured that out."
How often are you trying to figure things out after something has already occurred?
Perhaps, you should bring some cynics into your group! :-)
CYNIC, n. : A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce
I would agree with Monica, in that it is probably both. In that sense, I see CI as being self-selecting and reinforcing. Intelligence work requires a mindset that lends itself easily to cynicism; those with the mindset will be drawn to it, and those without it won’t be very successful.