Competitive Intelligence

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

Darwin, Strategy and Competitive Intelligence

"Strategy, as we knew it, is dead [...] increased flexibility and accelerated decision making are much more important than simply predicting the future." Walt Shill, Accenture
"...more business leaders will start to rely less on static five-year strategic plans and more on rough "adaptive" strategies that consider multiple scenarios" Martin Reeves, BCG
"...situation room will bolster the client's mobilization of strategic intelligence about capital markets, customer behavior and competitors." Lowell Bryan, McKinsey

Those quotes were taken from a WSJ’s news published in Jan/2010 where a first saw in jthawes's blog: Strategic Plan Lose Favor.

The context of the article is regarding the general effect of the recession in the long-term strategic plans. Due to crisis, many companies had to change/substitute their plans and keep the focus on short-term goals creating situation rooms, and other sorts of adaptive measures.

This is natural in crisis period like this and always has been. But my assumption is that the world is getting much more complex with changes happening in an unseen rate of speed cause not only by economic downturn, but also by new technology (e.g. cloud computing, social software), increasing and x-sector competition (Apple distributing music, movies, games through iTunes), change in demographics, globalization and so on…

The traditional (prescriptive only) long-term strategic planning formulation – revised once a year and mostly done by high-level executives -, might be loosing favor for an emergent / adaptive one. Based on real time environment monitoring for anticipating threats and opportunities; a more collaborative and interactive strategic thinking process with broader participation/input of middle managers, selected front-line and back-office employees; ad-hoc analysis …

I believe that Competitive Intelligence might be essential to fill in this gap by applying its practices and knowledge accumulated in this field. Its main roles would be:
  • spreading the strategic/competitive intelligence capability throughout the company
  • facilitating information flow, coordinating analysis process, fomenting strategic discussion (corporate, business unit and functional ones – selecting the right public for each)
  • integrating all this knowledge; and ultimately
  • contributing more to decision making / strategic thinking process.

But, in my opinion, loosing favor doesn’t mean being substituted, but adapting/evolving. Companies still need, long-term plans, mission, vision, values, value propositions, business models, clear direction, activity maps, BSC and other fundamental and classic strategic tools.

What Charles Darwin has to do with that?

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
Charles Darwin

Click here to read my blog.


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