The biggest challenge that I see before SCIP is developing a plan to address the various stakeholders in the membership. There are distinct groups and they have different needs and requirements from the organization. For example, academics have a different value expectation than corporate practitioners, who in turn are distinct from vendors and consultants. Understanding and determining what the society will offer to these various groups and presenting that in a clear manner would be helpful both SCIP and the stakeholders to know what they get out of the relationship.
Great point Bryan! The next (albeit tangential) question that comes to mind from your suggestion that SCIP focus on value definition for various stakeholders who occupy vastly different jobs but who also often change jobs, has to be one of the oldest in the business: is CI a profession?
If so, what precisely is the career track? For example, many of the consultants in business today, perhaps most, were at some point corporate practitioners, and vice versa. This includes some of CI's best and brightest: our colleagues Ken Sawka and Bill Fiora come to mind as the archetype of this phenomenon. What are the credentials required to be certified as competent in a career where the job itself can change so drastically? Which "professional" are we talking about exactly - corporate practitioner, academic or any of the various vendor and consulting sub-groups?
I would suggest that, whether CI was a profession at some point, if we concentrate on a single job description then we have truly entered the post-professional era of CI. CI as a managerial competence has very different dynamics than CI as a profession does. I suggest that SCIP has to make a choice between these two worldviews of the discipline as I'm not sure they can live in harmony.
My point is, while there are certainly many who consider CI their career, to assume that it is embodied by a particular job description isn't merely misleading, it's dangerously wrong for an organization to build its strategy around. The really, really tough choices SCIP faces going forward will require a change, not of strategy, but of philosophy, before any strategic adjustment can be made. Without it, SCIP will make the same mistakes it has made.
As we said at the CI2020 active dialog in Chicago a few weeks ago: "You are perfectly aligned for the results you're getting."
When I was serving on the board, we had discussed identifying two levels of involvement in the intelligence community.
First was new CI practitioners, be they people who had just entered a full time intelligence job of some sort, or people who had some other kind of job that also included a CI component - for instance, a product manager whose work sometimes involved comparative analysis of competing products.
Second was experienced CI practitioners who had some kind of full time intelligence job and were intent on making a career of it. Everybody in the second group passes through the first group to get there, though some of us don't remember doing so. :-)
For the first group, which I think has always represented the majority of SCIP's membership, the main concern is being "qualified to play" - conversant in CI approaches, techniques, and ethical guidelines. My totally unscientific perspective is that most CI practitioners are effectively qualified to play after about 18 months of practice.
For the second group, which is a minority of SCIP membership but probably, say, the majority of people who would sign up for a CI group on Ning, the main concern is depth of expertise and ongoing professional development, including a strong network for either academic research, sales, or job-finding purposes. If you've been working in CI for five years or more, you're probably in this second category.
I would submit that the corporate/service provider/academic distinction is less significant than this one, because there can be all types in each bucket, and within the bucket, their needs are reasonably similar.
Each group has an interest in disciplines adjacent to CI, and for different reasons. New practitioners need to understand how CI ties to other things. Old dogs like me and Arik need to search for new ideas from other disciplines that might usefully cross over to intelligence work - like prediction markets, for instance.
It makes sense to look at the world based on experience; however, I'm not sure that I am convinced of the logic that all practitioners need the same things from SCIP.
My question is:
Does a CI vendor with 5 or 10 years of experience (perhaps running a practice area in their consulting firm) really have the same needs from SCIP as a CI practitioner with 5 to 10 years of experience within a large organization (perhaps heading up a department of CI practitioners)?
I second this - and since this is a member controlled organization - the membership needs to put something together to present to the SCIP board and staff. Otherwise, it will not happen given the current structure of the organization. I won't repeat my post on the other forum - the first one - but basically, it's time some specific issues were presented to SCIP. Also, this I will repeat - in Treacy's book given out at the conference he uses Corning as an example of a company that did well in years when trends were in their favor, and then collapsed. SCIP cannot rely on "it's the economy" to entirely explain the situation. If SCIP only does well in GOOD ECONOMIES then something is still wrong. SCIP needs to build itself up in good times to weather the economic storms and not rely on a growing economy to keep it afloat. It can only do this by addressing these core issues - one of which Bryan is addressing.
I agree that the membership needs to put something together to present to the SCIP board and staff. Perhaps we should organize a special meeting of the SCIP membership to accomplish this. Article III, Section 3.6 of the SCIP bylaws provides for such special meetings. We need about 600 people to send an email to Martha requesting such a meeting. Then we need about 150 people to attend to have a quorum. Action is then decided by a majority vote of the members present in person or by proxy.
I think this is do-able -- particularly if we do the meeting in an area of highest member concentration, probably the Boston/ New York / New Jersey / Washington corridor.
What do you think? We can use the blogs to develop issue areas, and the "live" meeting to hammer out the final recommendations. There's nothing like "face to face" to make something happen.
That's an interesting idea Kirk - I'd certainly be willing to invest time/energy/money in a trip to such a meeting myself to see SCIP get back to sure footing.
SLA is in Washington DC next month just a short drive from HQ in Alexandria and between members in the greater DC area, those coming to attend/address SLA (I know of a half dozen or so at least off the top of my head) and those willing to come in for a special trip, we might get to such a quorum (btw, SLA's CI division program this year is so enticing I paid up to attend the whole works for the first time myself).
I thought the program had you listed as a speaker at the CI division annual business meeting and breakfast discussion -- "Speaker and Aurora WDC principal Arik Johnson will share his views on Intelligence 2.0."
Here's the rest of the CI Division program (not counting workshops) June 15-17:
* Expert Databases: Leveraging for Success (panel - Catherine Monte, Monica Ertel, Medha Devare)
* Skills for the Effective CI Practitioner (Claudia Clayton, Toni Wilson)
* Competitive Intelligence and the Government Librarian ( Roberta Shaffer)
* Lies, Damned Lies, and Annual Reports (Mary Ellen Bates)
* CI Clinic (Ellen Naylor, Jennifer Swanson)
* Incorporating CI into Your Services (panel law firms)
Colin Powell is the featured speaker. Member rate is $695, non-member $975. More information at www.sla.org
Timing and location are fine, though rather soon for a lot of pre-work. I'd be willing to attend, but do not want to attend the SLA. What about tagging such a meeting on to the SLA meeting time- ie, a day before or a day after? [Note- I could only come after June 16.]
Perhaps some of us could contribute to price of the meeting room? Alternatively, perhaps SCIP could help us get a corporate, government or academic meeting space near to the SLA meeting?
Perhaps SLA has booked some rooms that it does not need???