- planning & direction i.e. the boss – also known as the end-user :-) tells you what is needed and you or they work out how to get it;
- collection – you follow your plan;
- processing & analysis – you integrate the gathered information with other information to convert the information into something usable i.e. intelligence;
- dissemination – you pass back the intelligence to the end-user and hope that they act on it.
- the model lacks feedback steps;
- it doesn’t integrate with other business processes adequately, such as the strategic/business planning cycles;
- it doesn’t allow for serendipitous intelligence gathering crucial for effective early warning systems.
My focus in this item however is the use of the word dissemination. The Encarta® World English Dictionary defines disseminate as “to distribute or spread something, especially information…“. Most other dictionaries give similar definitions. The problem with this word is that it implies that information flows one way – from the collector to the end-user. There is no mention of information – feedback – flowing the other way or laterally throughout the organisation. Effective competitive intelligence needs an information sharing culture where information flows between those who have the intelligence and those who need it – each informing the other. The English word to describe this process is not dissemination, but communication.
The Encarta dictionary has a number of definitions for communication and the verb communicate. Communication is defined as “the exchange of information between individuals, for example, by means of speaking, writing, or using a common system of signs or behavior” while the second definition for communicate is “to transmit or reveal a feeling or thought by speech, writing, or gesture so that it is clearly understood“.
Isn’t this what we aim to do in competitive intelligence: not to disseminate intelligence without any feedback or even knowing if the intelligence is usable, useful or understood but to communicate it so that both parties clearly understand its impact and importance?
The problem is how to communicate intelligence so that it is understood, and used. That, however, will have to be a topic for a future blog entry.
April is a peak time for information professionals. There are two major industry events – and AWARE managing partner – Arthur Weiss – can be seen at both.
The first is the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) annual conference – taking place this year in sunny Minneapolis. The second is the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professional’s conference – a week later, in New York.
Both are major events on the calendar – and major networking opportunities. Networking is a crucial skill for info-pros – and it pays off. A few years ago I helped out a colleague and she has now put me in touch with WS Radio who just interviewed me on my role as a CI professional. You can listen to the broadcast now: Radio Interview with WSRadio.
What better proof of the power of networking than being heard on a network :-) I hope that you enjoy listening to the show as much as I enjoyed participating in it.
We’ve included more FAQs, more humour, more white papers, copies of presentations given at conferences and many resources to help competitive & marketing intelligence professionals stay at the top of their field.
There are a few bits we are still working on, but over the next few weeks these should be finished too. So bear with us. Our Business Sites for CI Professionals pages still require work – so that we can create the definitive resource of top sites to aid secondary research. We also plan to change a lot of the images and pictures – with new sharper, snazzier versions. And that’s just for starters. Other changes will happen over time – with new content and support for competitive intelligence professionals worldwide.
This site update involved almost a complete rewrite of the way the site was built – and EVERY page had to be modified. Most of the changes are behind-the-scenes and apart from the new menu bar, you may not even notice differences on some pages. Believe us though – there were. The site now allows text size to be increased or reduced – complying with disability legislation and allowing visually impaired readers to read the site with ease. We’ve also labeled most (not yet all) images so that visitors using Braille readers can identify the graphic elements.
As with any undertaking this size, there may be mistakes, typos, errors, or pages that just don’t work. There may also be some pages that look inconsistent, or where fonts change half-way through or between pages. Some pages may look odd on your browser and although we’ve tried to check for this, we may have missed something. (The look of a page can vary depending on the computer used, the screen resolution and the browser. Our favourite browser is Firefox, and all pages looked OK using Firefox. We also tested the site on an older version of Internet Explorer – but may have missed some things).
So, if you do spot errors, or things you don’t like, please let us know.