Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries
I am a former long-term SCIP member (14 years) who blew off the organization a couple of years ago. I ran the Dallas chapter for several years. Everything we tried to do, the organization fought us on. We ran a very successful program and had very innovative events. I got tired of the way they had of constantly fighting us, in some cases forcing us to change what we wanted for a more expensive/less profitable way of doing the same thing.
My break with SCIP came when I was lobbied fairly hard to submit a conference presentation proposal (a 1-hour phone call from the executive director), which was then turned down. Someone who went to that conference later told me almost all of the presenters were sponsors. Since I'm a solo consultant, that model would never work for me. I considered myself shut out of SCIP's new business model.
I've been curious about the organization since the change in Executive Director, but not enough to come back....yet. I've found the CI Division of SLA to be a viable alternative with a lot less objectionable approach.
Is SCIP relevant?..I'd give that a very conditional maybe.
Mark, thanks for your reply.
May I ask what makes SLA CI Division a good alternative for you?
SLA CI Division gives me a good opportunity to network and share techniques and experiences. I find networking much more effective with organizations such as American Marketing Assn, Association for Strategic Planning, and the SLA. The skills are more diverse, complementary in many cases, and frankly more interesting.
I have some really great friendships I've developed through SCIP networking. However, I have not developed many employment or contracting opportunities through my contacts at SCIP. Some folks are able to sell CI services to fellow CI practitioners. That never worked for me.
When I networked at SCIP 95% of the other participants were low level or middle management researchers. It took a major effort to bring executives to our events. At other associations you might meet a senior marketing executive or a VP Strategy.
I don't harbor animosity towards SCIP. I'm just putting my efforts elsewhere.
I'm rather curious why I'm the only responder, though.
SCIP/Frost is spiteful and thin-skinned when it comes to pointing out any flaws or shortcomings they have - that's why people are not responding. Which of course - given the nature of our field - is incredibly hypocritical of them.
Also, I think too many have vested interests in the status-quo; which is also why the field has not evolved over the past 15 years.
Frankly, I am waiting for this thread to fall down the memory hole after SCIP leans on the proprietors of CI2020.
Do you really get executives at SLA meetings?
Honestly, I find one of SCIP's biggest shortcomings is that it is too library and info-science centric; not enough strategy people. Heck, half of CI Magazine has become a bibliography of recent CI academic publications.
No executives at SLA, that is true. But I've sat at dinner between EXEC VPs and Chief executives at ASP and AMA meetings. At ASP the VP was from EXXON MOBILE, and the CEO was from a small private firm that was at one time the largest manufacturer of cheerleader uniforms in the country.
We had 3 executives speak at a special event twice a year in the Dallas SCIP chapter. Usually from three different industries, their topic was how they used competitive intelligence to achieve some strategic objective. It was co-sponsored with UT-Dallas, and was enormously successful. But we actually had the SCIP board come down to "rein us in" because they thought we were out of control. They loved the event once they saw what we were doing, but continued to give us grief over the nitty gritty details of running the event.
I wanted to buy 2 copies of a book one of our guests wrote for a drawing. It would have cost about $30 ($15 each). They denied the expense and instead sent us three copies of "STARTING A CI FUNCTION" which list for $80 each. THAT is SCIP's idea of cost control. This for an event that usually drew 100+.
Those sound like pretty good programs, Mark.
I like that you got actual CI customers/end-users to speak; that must have strengthened the convictions in CI of chapter members, and motivated others improve their own CI functions.
SCIP-Boston does more social-get-togethers each year than actual speakers, panels, or workshops; I hope the reason is because they are so micromanaged and given so little room to operate by SCIP HQ.
SCIP is a top-down driven, closed hierarchical organization - which is an organizational structure completely unsuited for the 21st century or for propagating ideas. Its all the more insulting b/c CI people are supposed adaptive and creative, and yet our flagship organization functions like the Soviet politburo.
I looked at the proliferation of chapters through the US and which metro areas "seemed" large enough and had enough corporate HQs to justify a SCIP chapter. At the time, there was no SCIP chapter in Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Kansas City, Albuquerque, or San Francisco. I told them as grass-roots organizations go, they were using herbicide rather than Miracle-Grow.
I even tried meeting with folks in Houston to get someone locally to pick up the ball. They were marginally interested until they talked with SCIP and found all the hurdles they would have to leap. They had an interested chapter leader in San Antonio, with a group of I believe 5 members. SCIP told them NO rather than "conditional on adding a few more members in your first year".
SCIP's active chapter count fell by 3 during the same timeframe that ASP's chapter count went from 3 to 11.
That is pretty incredible, Mark. SCIP is no longer a grassroots organization – it is effectively a for-profit enterprise. These people running things are muppets.
SCIP = The Party Planning Committee
"At its worst, it was a toxic, political club used to make others feel miserable and left out. At its best, it planned parties." — Pam Beesly
The state of SCIP in Boston:
Save the Date: Wednesday, June 12, 6-8pm
Join us for a very special live evening program, A Fireside Chat with SCIP Fellows. This is a unique opportunity to hear CI giants like Jan Herring, Clifford Kalb, and other guests discuss their thoughts about CI practice and the state of the profession, as well as answer your questions. Attendees will enjoy networking with our special guests, as well as with our Chapter colleagues. Stay tuned for more details and we hope you will join us!
Does Jan Herring have anything to say that is relevant today?
The traditional intelligence cycle - which he based modern CI practices upon - is today a relic at his old agency, and has reached the limits of its usefulness in CI today.
SCIP seems absolutely determined to drive itself into irrelevance.
The worst part is that Boston is absolutely overflowing with cool things that would make for great events. It has tons of people and companies working in fields that CI should be looking to team with, or in emerging technologies or industries that are going to shape the future of the world.
Cambridge is home to a startup called Recorded Future that is on the cutting edge of intelligence analysis and “big data” - both Google and In-Q-Tel have invested in it. They would love to do an event with SCIP.
There is absolutely no shortage of opportunities for great speakers and events, but SCIP is completely focused on turning every event into a damn knitting circle.