Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

How do you describe "competitive intelligence" in your country?

(This is a debate that came up in one of the Intelligence Collaborative's weekly conference calls, which I'd love to explore here on CI Ning. Not a member of the #intelcollab? Sign up! It costs nothing. We talk about stuff you need to know, have meetings around the world, make connections with other professionals and have lots of fun.)

My dear colleague Josette Bruffaerts-Thomas, whom you may know from her work with SCIP France, was recently in Washington DC to attend a meeting on the Haitian diaspora and its work in rebuilding the island which has been so tragically laid low. We had the opportunity to meet up and discuss intelligence and the world, which is always a great pleasure. I proposed a question to her that came up in a recent Intel Collab conference call - How does the term "competitive intelligence" work in your country and in your language?

Josette, for example, does quite a bit of work in "cultural intelligence," helping global companies decode social movements in different cultures. Rather than simply look out at competitors in Guadeloupe, Josette will help clients understand why there have been protests against foreign companies. (Ironic, since 97% of Guadeloupean consumption is from outside of the island, but this is another matter.) She says that this fits nicely in the French category of "la veille" which is often translated into English as "competitive intelligence" but is in fact much broader.

I countered that in all but the most advanced American managerial cultures, "competitive intelligence" is defined uniquely as "getting info about our competitors so we can take their market share in the short-term." As such, if I want to talk about cultural trends at an American CI conference, I will risk the funny looks that are reserved for those who don't mention juicing the stock price every six minutes.

Miguel Duarte Ferreira let us know that "competitive intelligence" in Portuguese actually sounds like you are "competing to be the smartest" and makes people uncomfortable! Other words work much better.

Since this Ning group is so overwhelmingly international, let's hear it - How does the term competitive intelligence work in your country? What word do you use in your native language? How does it compare to other managerial cultures around the world?  

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Even in the good ole USA, it sucks as a descriptor... perhaps worse now that ever. I use "Intelligence" and call it good.
Great Eric,

I will not speak on behalf of India but about how I see Competitive Intelligence.

Cultural Intelligence has a role to play in generating Intelligence.

I call myself a Futurist who practices Competitive Intelligence.

What I have done is co-authored a book.

Why did I do so?


1. Under Competitive Intelligence we have Cultural Intelligence
2. Under Cultural Intelligence we have Active Intelligence
3. Under Active Intelligence we have a tool in Counter Intelligence called MICE
4. Under MICE, we have "I" which stands for Ideology
5. Under Ideology we have Political Ideology and Religious Ideology and Individual Ideology.
6. Under Religious Ideology I co-authored Mystical Ecstasy - Sufi Practices

Competitive Intelligence - Cultural Intelligence -Active Intelligence - MICE - Ideology - Religious Ideology

Amongst other things, this book was created for PSYOPS as an Antidote to Radical Ideologies, post September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which I call Strategic Inflection Point.

Cultural Intelligence impacts Brand Perception in diverse markets.

On the other hand, this book is a good read on Sufism, which comes under Philosophy.
Nice topic Eric,

I think we all have troubles around the world finding a common meaning for CI. In Spain, I believe it is understood like a mixture between economic intelligence, market intelligence, technological intelligence and, obviously, competitive intelligence. But the CI culture is starting to be more widely spread now and there are different preferences:

- corporations approaching the discipline for the first time would prefer to call it "company intelligence"
- some others would rather call it simply "intelligence"
- on the contrary, there is also some reticence to use the word "intelligence" and some companies use alternative labels for these CI units like Strategic Knowledge, Studies and Alerts, Market Research, Strategy and Innovation, etc.
Eliana - what are the actual words used in Spanish, and could you describe their context?

Also - how long have these words been in use in Spain? Is there kind of a "Porterian" era of strategy (1980s) followed by a "Christensenian" (1990s) era of innovation - or did things evolve on a different time scale? Or are those thoughtleaders not a big deal?

And who in the Spanish speaking world has been influential, producing original material in Spanish first?

Interesting that the concept of "intelligencia" is already a mix in Spain, since we Americans tend to be very categorical about the whole thing.
Dear Eric,

Sorry for taking so long to answer you. I cannot visit this site as often as I would like.

The words in Spanish are mainly:

- Inteligencia Economica (Economic Intelligence): following the French concept, understood as the control and protection of strategic information important for all economic stakeholders.
- Inteligencia de Mercado - Inteligencia Competitiva (Market Intelligence - Competitive Intelligence): very linked terms, focusing on the monitoring and analisis of markets, competitors and products.
- Vigilancia Tecnologica: based on patents.

The strategy and innovation waves did arrive to our country but in most cases were not related with competitive intelligence. CI is working now at different levels:
- some good professionals are working on it since long time ago
- some companies are doing it without knowing they do it
- some companies are starting to find out now about the discipline
- new professionals are entering in the field
- a significant majority of companies still have not heard about the subject

Although there are some books and articles in Spanish, I would say that reference materials are mainly in English and that's what we normally read.

Thank you for starting interesting discussions.
auld blighty might cover the issue under competitive insights - my humble take extended further from the great discussion on the intelcollab call with Jason Voivich would now be 'analysis of all source external information to take internal decision making from so what to what's next'. Need to focus and start with the analysis, and that way we get out of the declining library function that is now such a luxury and present the value back to the decision maker in terms of a range of options and a preferred choice.


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