(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?