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My Top 10 Things to Look Forward to at SCIP 2010

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10 Random Things I'm Looking Forward to at SCIP 2010 in Washington DC

Conferences are kind of expensive these days... and in more ways than one - aside from the registration fee, there's the opportunity cost of missing what you'd normally be doing back at the office, fighting the airlines to get your baggage back and avoid getting saddled with a middle seat, time away from family and friends, overpriced and underwhelming hotel room service, et cetera. Speaking of hotels, for a second, if you haven't booked your room yet for this meeting I'm about to talk about - SCIP 2010 in Washington DC - then considering all the snow the Capitol has been getting lately and how many events I've heard are being pushed back a month or so, that's probably motivation enough to recommend you get your room booked pronto or risk crashing in Baltimore! But I digress...

Point is, while in-person conferences have produced for me some of the most rewarding relationships and experiences of my professional life, I take it pretty seriously when I decide to attend, present or sponsor an event so I can plan ahead to get the most out of it... and you should too.

So it is with the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals 2010 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Washington DC coming up March 9-12. Whenever I've gone to SCIP meetings in the past (more than a dozen now), I've made a list of the things I most want to get out of my investment of time, energy and treasure to take back and put to work for my company and career.

About 30 days before SCIP 2009 in Chicago last year I made my regular Top Ten List of those 10 high-priority "things" (sessions, people, sights, experiences, restaurants, whatever) that I was most looking forward to bringing back from my annual trek to our flagship competitive intelligence meeting. At the time, the "25 Random Things About Me" tag-challenge was going around Facebook so I thought it might be fun to share my list online - you can find it here. Honestly, I was a little worried 25 things might be a bit TOO challenging, however, so I settled on only 10 as the challenge for fellow conference-goers to review and consider sharing their own.

This week as I prepared my 2010 agenda of can't-miss highlights, I decided to repeat the challenge listing my top 10 in reverse-order, countdown-style from this year's agenda below. Once again, I found many more than 10 that I didn't want to miss; in fact, I quit counting when I reached 25! However, in the interests of brevity, I'll list just my top 10 here with a link to my blog where you can see the rest. Enjoy and please share your own list if you're planning to join me at the meeting. You'll be glad you did.

10 Random Things I'm Looking Forward to at SCIP 2010

10.) I wouldn't be doing my job very well if I didn't mention that Aurora WDC will be highlighting updates to practically our entire range of professional services and we're excited to share all of that news with our valued clients. Stop by booth #121 in the exhibit hall to learn about the latest upgrades to Aurora's real-time monitoring, program planning, primary field research, systems consulting and counter-intelligence services.

9.) Bridging the Gap Between CI and MR with Anca Costea from Covidien & Nanette Bulger from Philips Healthcare - a perennial problem amid incredible opportunity... when done right.

8.) Integrating Web 2.0 Tools in Your Intelligence Process with Phil Britton from Best Buy - a hot topic delivered by top staff at a well-known company to show us the way.

7.) The Savvy Stakeholder: CI-Driven Decision-Making moderated by Scott Leeb from Prudential Retirement & panelists Patrick Sweeney, Samuel Arbel & Craig McHenry - a couple of good friends join with a couple of new ones to show us how to make CI more effective for internal clients.

6.) Creating and Using Dynamic Topic Maps to Visualize Your Business Environment with Jesper Martell & Daniel Thomasson from Aurora software partner Comintelli - the best taxonomy technologists in the world show how to make visualization more effective.

5.) Thursday Keynote - Business Models are Changing... and so Must CI with Ravi Parmeswar from Citigroup - a call to action for CI professionals to consider new methods to support changing intelligence needs, perspective from a top client in a hyper-turbulent industry.

4.) Ask the Experts Discussion on Competitive Strategy in the New Economy moderated by Tim Kindler from Eastman Kodak & joined by panelists Daniel Pascheles from Merck & Lloyd Babbitt from W.W. Grainger - my good friend Tim leads an expert discussion among a diverse panel of the savviest CI leaders.

3.) Say It and Sit Down: The 20/20 Communication Technique with Judith Leavitt from Rockwell Collins - though she may need more 6:40 to do it, my good friend Judy introduces the CI community to the breakthrough Japanese presentation phenomenon of Pecha Kucha.

2.) Perception Mapping and Contradiction Resolution of Voice of the Customer with our good friend and world-class innovation & TRIZ expert David Conley from Intel.

1.) And the number one thing I'm looking forward to lands Thursday night (March 11th) - after you've had a chance to grab dinner, all SCIP 2010 conference-goers are invited to join us back at the Marriott to celebrate Aurora WDC's 15th Anniversary Party, starting at 8:30 PM and running until around 11:30. Entertainment for the evening will be Atlanta's own Void Where Prohibited, cash bar will be available and news on what we've got planned to kick off Aurora's next 15 years.

And here's a link to the full post on where you can see the other 15 things I came up with. If this sounds like your kind of conference, as it is mine, learn more or register at:

I hope to see you there,

Arik Johnson

Founder & Chairman

Aurora WDC

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Thanks, Aric. You've inspired me to make my own list. Like Spinal Tap, my list goes to 11...

11. Welcoming my fellow CI professionals to my city. Washington has much to offer from the well-known landmarks of the federal cIty to the neighborhood eateries known best by the locals.

10. Watching the back-channel discussion of the conference and programs with the #scip2010 hash tag on Twitter.

9. "The Death of the CI Professional: The Changing Paradigm for Competitive Intelligence Functions and Practitioners" with Ken Sawka of Outward Insights. Our profession is most definitely at a crossroads, and I'm looking forward to hearing Ken's analysis of our possible futures.

8. "Using Competitive Insights to Help Develop and Implement Corporate Strategy" with Dale Fehringer of Inkwell Productions and Melanie Wing of Whirlpool. To remain relevant, CI professionals must raise our strategy game.

7. "Say It and Sit Down: The 20/20 Communication Technique" with Judy Leavitt of Rockwell Collins. Intelligence that cannot be communicated is not intelligence, and we can always improve how we communicate.

6. "Numbers Gone Wild: Or, Precision In, Garbage Out" with Mark Chussil of Advanced Competitive Strategies. Some CI customers will prefer the appearance of quantitative certainty, and it's up to us to convey the reality and opportunity that comes from uncertainty and possibility.

5. "Right Brain Intelligence for a Left Brain World: New Approaches for Competitive Analysis" with Fred Wergeles. How do we make intuitive insights relevant to detail-oriented, sensing types?

4. "Insights from the C-Suite – A Frank Discussion" with James Cornell, CMO of Prudential Retirement. A rare, exciting opportunity to hear from a CI customer!!

3. The Top Takeaways Panel that will conclude the conference in which my fellow program committee members, the conference attendees and I will summarize our most important revelations from the conference sessions.

2. The synthesis of the best of the traditional SCIP conference and the Frost & Sullivan MindXChange to a program that is more than the sum of its parts.

1. The once-yearly opportunity to meet face-to-face with the enthusiastic intellect community of competitive intelligence professionals. It's one of my favorite times of the year.
Arik, awsome list! I would add one more to this already perfect list...reuniting with friends and colleagues.
Thanks Martha - looking forward to seeing you in DC!
I am forced to add a "devestation" list this year:

10. Not going to D.C. sucks!

9. Prepare well up-front for next year's SCIP Annual including well crafted pitch to my boss and block any interefering obligation way ahead of time.

8. Apply for a workshop or speaker assignment for SCIP 2011.

7. Create Twitter list with August's and Arik's tweets so to stay tuned by the minute while the show goes on without me.

6. Call CI friends prior to the conference to bring back some feedback.

5. Call them afterwards to collect that feedback.

4. Get drunk for frustration at least once during the conference days in memory of anyone who will miss me sharing some beers in D.C. (Michel, you're gonna be sooo lonely this year buddy but I envy you for the GIA "night sessions"!)

3. Adopt Arik's list idea for future conferences (add a section for benefits that my boss will buy-into).

2. Sign-up for the European Summit 2010 in time.

1. Consider employment contract language in future for a lifetime support for the SCIP conferences.

You and others who will not be able to join us in person will definitely be missed. We hope that you'll follow Arik, myself and the others tweeting from the conference using the #scip2010 hashtag. We do want to have an active and engaged back-channel to the conference.
August, we should start talking about this - under a month out now, I think there are some pretty imaginative ways to create a continuous (and multimedia, if it's kosher) feed from DC for those who can't be there live.
I think I might know where you're going with this, Arik. Are you talking about maybe setting up ustream feeds of presentations?

I'm all for it provided we have the permission of SCIP and the individual speaker in question. If we do more forward it's going to be a voluntary, guerilla sort of thing. For those following along virtually it will be kind of catch as catch can based on the kindness of your fellow CI pros in attendance.
Thus my "kosher" qualifier ;-) nonetheless, I think it could be disruptively demand generating if done right. We could chat about it on the back half of the Friday telecon perhaps - or before then if you want to try and work something of a proposal up for SCIP to consider.
August, as you are the conference chair I trust you will collaborate with the Alexandria office in any effort to boost publicity.
Thanks Jens! Great list man - you will indeed be missed and you'll have to have a couple beers Thursday night in particular as our anniversary party will be the lesser for not having you there to join in the fun ;-)
We'll double up at the EUR Summit later this year (man, these long nights again :-)
Right on!


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