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Strategic Inflection Points are subtle changes in the environment. If one is not able to monitor or identify subtle signals such as New Emerging Technology or Shifts in Consumer Behavior, much before competition , one may find ones products and services becoming redundant and obsolete in the market place.
Strategic Inflection Points generate Early Warning, which if not interpreted correctly in context to implications it can have in your industry or organisation, your intelligence is not competitive or it would be appropriate to say that your intelligence will not be actionable.
Strategic Inflection Points can occur because of New Emerging Technology which may not be the new emerging technology in your sector or industry but it could be a new emerging technology that may be acquired or lets say adapted by your competition.
Strategic Inflection Points occur because of subtle shifts that may occur in the macro environment or in the micro environment.
The purpose of Five Force Analysis or SWOT Analysis or Six Force Analysis or Value Chain Analysis or Benchmarking Analysis or Service Triangle Analysis etc., is to be able to analyse information and using competitive intelligence generate Early Warning.
The subtle signals have to be monitored and implications need to be drawn.
By 1900, the main principles for a successful fountain pen had been established:
1. A reservoir for ink.
2. A filling system.
3. A method of supplying ink to the nib.
Finding the most successful challenge, with 3 American companies Parker, Waterman and Sheaffer dominating the market. The design of the fountain pen has not relied solely on the demands of engineering, for aesthetics have also played an important role. The look of a fountain pen, its size, weight, color, and the materials used in its construction all contribute to its success.
Despite the ascendancy of the cartridge pen and ball point pen and gel pen, the nostalgic tastes of a fountain pen ensure the desirability of the fountain pen both as collectible item and functional tool.
1. Waterman Eye-dropper 1903
2. Parker Lucky Curve 1916-23
3. Conklin Crescent Filler 1923
4. Parker Pearly Vacumatic 1935
5. Parker 51 1948
6. Parker 61 1956
7. Sheaffer Pen for Men 1960
8. Montblanc 149 Masterpiece 1970
9. Parker 180 1980
10. Parker Duofold  1994
Let us now look at Strategic Inflection Points of the Jukeboxes:
STRATEGIC INFLECTION POINTS JUKEBOXES
Coin-in-the-slot music machines were already well established by the time the golden age of the jukebox dawned in the 1940s. While the designers of this era such as Paul Fuller, are particularly revered, design aficionados are beginning to play closer attention to the two decades that followed.
The machines of the rock n roll era with which the jukebox has become synonymous scream teenage rebellion with their blatant use of flashy automobile looks. The bold, bright colors of these classics are probably the first thing to cross most peoples minds on hearing the word jukebox.
1. Polyp hon 1900
2. Wurlitzer 1100 1948
3. Wurlitzer 1800 1955
4. Se burg KD200 1957
5. Rock-Ola Tempo 1475 1959
6. Rock-Ola Reg is 1495 1961
7. Ami Continental 2 1961
8. NSM Nostalgia Gold 1995
Motorcycles had various Strategic Inflection Points because of New Emerging Technology:
STRATEGIC INFLECTION POINTS MOTORCYCLES
Designers continue to exploit the latest materials and technology to enhance performance and provide a safe ride.
1. Werner 1901
2. Excelsior 20R 1912
3. BMW R32 1923
4. Megola Racing Model 1923
5. Harley Davidson Knucklehead 61EL 1936
6. Triumph Speed Twin 1939
7. Indian Chief 1947
8. Vincent Black Shadow Series C 1949
9. Honda 50 Super Cub 1958
10. Honda CB750 1969
11. Harley Davidson Evolution FLTC Tour Glide Classic 1989
12. Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 1990
13. Husqvarna TC610 1992
Remember the good old fashioned Vinyl Disc which is now being threatened by Digital Technology:
STRATEGIC INFLECTION POINTS MUSIC SYSTEMS
Today, the digital technology threatens the vinyl disc with obsolescence.
1. Graphophone 1900
2. Pathe gramophone 1908
3. Selecta portable 1920s
4. Bermuda Dansette 1950s
5. Braun Phonosuper SK55 1956
6. Beogram 4000 1972
7. Philips compact disc player 1983
8. Denon Stacking System D-90 1995
9. Beosound 9000 1999
Toothbrushes, so common, yet face Strategic Inflection Points due to shift in Consumer patterns:
STRATEGIC INFLECTION POINTS TOOTHBRUSHES
1. Early Toothbrushes 1900s
Bone Handle + Natural bristles
2. Plastic toothbrushes 1930s-40s
3. Radius 1984
4. Modern toothbrushes 1980s-90s
Designers now compete over the details:
A. Most eye-catching colors
B. Most comfortable grip
C. The optimum angle and reach
D. The best bristle combination
5. Fluocaril 1989
6. Electric toothbrush 1990
Dolls, a girl childs best friend had the following Strategic Inflection Points:
STRATEGIC INFLECTION POINTS DOLLS
Competitive Intelligence in India - Vivek Raghuvanshi
Every company in India monitors competition using either Passive Intelligence and Semi Active intelligence and Human Intelligence
Nobody in India wants to talk about two letter word ie CI. They do not call it competitive intelligence.
Leading companies monitor the environment through open source emissions through Financial Times, Economic Times etc.
Every leading business house watches business news channels.
Scanning of the environment is done using External Auditors, Internal Auditors, legal experts.
All management tools such as Five Force Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, PEST Analysis are used by employees in the organisations.
Indian businesses derive Low Cost advantage as white collar workers come at lower salaries.
Industry reports are available through FICCI and CII
FICCI membership has over 1500 corporates and over 500 chambers of commerce and business associations, FICCI espouses the shared vision of Indian businesses and speaks directly and indirectly for over 2,50,000 business units. They monitor the environment and help Indian businesses become competitive.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry and government alike through advisory and consultative processes. CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry led and industry managed organisation, playing a proactive role in Indias development process. Founded over 114 years ago, it is Indias premier business association, with a direct membership of over 7800 organisations from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 90,000 companies from around 385 national and regional sectoral associations.
There are Business Intelligence companies in India who sell softwares to Indian corporates to monitor open source emissions.
There are database providers in India, who sell databases and industry reports and credit reports
Even global companies are hush hush about the two letter word called CI.
Information Warfare is on the rise.
Existence of Information Warfare Class II
To make sure that the competitor will not be the first in the market with a new product, corporate espionage is on the rise and the need of the hour is to use Competitive Intelligence.
Most companies understand the need for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) but because of the existence of counterfeit brands in the market, the Government needs to take more stringent actions.
Existence of Information Warfare III level
It is common to see Class III Information Warfare taking place, where a competitor or vested interests may spread information real or fictious to De-Position a competitor and Re-Position their own brand.
Every organisation in India has the eye on the ball. Everybody monitors competitors and undertakes consumer research either in house or it is outsourced.
In the last 5 years, MBA Competitive Intelligence & Corporate Warfare by Amity Institute of Competitive Intelligence, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, India has mushroomed to teach competitive intelligence.
Everybody in India practices competitive intelligence in some form or the other but they do not call it CI.
What India really lacks is not Hindsight Analysis but lacks Insight and the ability to Foresee.
Insight is the weakness which Indian companies suffer from, Insight cannot be replaced by business intelligence softwares or artificial intelligence or industry experts or management consultants.
Shortfall is of people who can sift through Micro and the Macro picture and become true competitive intelligence experts.
Again the age old question of whether mind set is important or skill set is important.
Competitive Intelligence is actually Perception driven, either you can use Insight and provide cutting edge Intelligence which is competitive or you cannot.
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Extracting and Interpreting Emissions in Competitive intelligence- By Vivek Raghuvanshi
It is not the competitors organization one faces that is important but the think tank that controls the organization that needs profiling. If one can understand how the competitors think tank functions, one can anticipate how the competitors organization will act and react to ones maneuvers in the market.
One needs to be sharp enough to interpret the subtle emissions that competitors reflexively emit about their innermost thoughts and intentions.
One should never let ones mask down as the competitor is watching to interpret ones emotions as they indulge in role playing to anticipate your intentions and capabilities.
Develop the intuitive ability to penetrate the veil and deception which the competitor creates by intentionally sending out emissions in OSINT for you to read and work on complex scenarios.
Your analysts will always interpret information through their own preconceptions and prejudices, it is unfortunately a failing of a human mind.
If the analyst lacks insight into the complexity of a human mind, one will always remain a prisoner of ones perception. There are so many variables such as political ideology, religious ideology and individual ideology coupled with the class and caste system influences that influence perceptions of the target as well as the analyst. This makes extraction of information by discreet and subtle probe very complex, forget being dumb enough to call or meet the competitors think tank and believe in your ability to extract information.
Analysis is always perception driven. Human beings always wear a veil of illusion. They will never let their guard down and let you get a secret glimpse into their souls. Early in life one learns to be competitive by masking ones true feelings and emotions and learns that communication is never a tool to express emotions but to influence human behavior.
You are sadly mistaken if you consider the competitors think tank to be gullible and retarded as a moron that by your discreet questions, you will be able to extract information. You are able to extract what the think tank wants you to extract and you relish in your ability to extract information.
Intuition always warns when competitors probe through OSINT and this is why OSINT is always doctored to create a rouse. The deliberate murkiness makes extraction of information difficult while using active intelligence tools in competitive intelligence.
It is inherent in the nature of a human being to conceal their thoughts, and thoughts and actions always have a dissonance as the competitors competitive intelligence operators are always scanning the environment to interpret overt as well as subtle emissions. But it is unconsciously that human beings betray their intentions and this is an art which if you have not mastered, you will never be able to interpret signals in the manner you should interpret them.
When you profile people and categorize them into a personality type, have you forgotten that the competitors competitive intelligence operator may intentionally lead you up a garden path because the subject wants you to profile and categorize the subject as a particular personality type.
Never underestimate the intelligence of a human mind and lastly the intelligence of a competitive intelligence operator of the competitor who doctors information for you to play with and lets you derive the cheap thrill of believing that you have superior information extraction capability.
It is at times of crisis that you may believe that the multiple masks which human beings use may be breached. In ordinary human beings it is possible to breach a couple of masks of deception that they wear but breaching the mask of the think tank of a competitor requires a very powerful intuition.
As a competitive intelligence analyst you need to understand that it is the quality of information that is more important than the quantity of information that you harvest.
A competitors think tank will always plant moles and mislead, you think that the competitors organization follows 10 commandments and the Bible and some code of ethics.
The moles planted by the competitor are handled by a very competent handler who is trained in the art of making the organization competitive and you believe that you will be able to penetrate the veil of illusion with your state of the art technology.
Human beings leave strong and subtle emissions in OSINT and let you gather and analyze information, but what if the competitors competitive intelligence operator intentionally leaves a paper trail for you to follow?
The competitors competitive intelligence operators are not complacent as the competitor is always profiling you and yet innovating and constantly adapting to outflank and outmaneuver your organization in the corporate battlefield.
Never forget that competitive intelligence is anticipating competitors actions and reactions to your moves.
The competitors competitive intelligence team is as smart as you, if not superior.
Paralysis in Competitive Intelligence - By Vivek Raghuvanshi
Paralysis in competitive intelligence happens most of the time because of the inability of a competitive intelligence analyst to interpret signals correctly. Most human beings are affected by sensory perception.
What a competitive intelligence analyst needs to be careful about and take into consideration are the following pitfalls which cloud decision making and thereby affect competitive intelligence.
Insight, a rare commodity, can get clouded by the subtle influences of the following thinking and behavioral flaws which affect a competitive intelligence analysts ability.
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Insight, a rare commodity, can get clouded by the subtle influences of the following thinking and behavioral flaws which affect a competitive intelligence analysts ability.
Ambiguity effect the avoidance of options for which missing information makes the probability seem unknown.
Anchoring effect the tendency to rely too heavily, or anchor, on a past reference or on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.
Intentional bias neglect of relevant data when making judgments of a correlation or association.
Authority bias the tendency to value an ambiguous stimulus (e.g., an art performance) according to the opinion of someone who is seen as an authority on the topic.
Availability heuristic estimating what is more likely by what is more available in memory, which is biased toward vivid, unusual, or emotionally charged examples.
Availability cascade a self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse.
Belief bias an effect where someones evaluation of the logical strength of an argument is biased by the believability of the conclusion.
Clustering illusion the tendency to see patterns where actually none exist.
Capability bias The tendency to believe that the closer average performance is to a target, the tighter the distribution of the data set.
Conjunction fallacy the tendency to assume that specific conditions are more probable than general ones.
Disposition effect the tendency to sell assets that have increased in value but hold assets that have decreased in value.
Gamblers fallacy the tendency to think that future probabilities are altered by past events, when in reality they are unchanged. Results from an erroneous conceptualization of the Law of large numbers.
Hawthorne effect the tendency of people to perform or perceive differently when they know that they are being observed.
Hindsight bias sometimes called the I-knew-it-all-along effect, the inclination to see past events as being predictable.
Illusory correlation beliefs that inaccurately suppose a relationship between a certain type of action and an effect.
Last illusion the belief that someone must know what is going on. Coined by Brian Eno.
Ludic fallacy the analysis of chance-related problems according to the belief that the unstructured randomness found in life resembles the structured randomness found in games.
Neglect of prior base rates effect the tendency to neglect known odds when reevaluating odds in light of weak evidence.
Observer-expectancy effect when a researcher expects a given result and therefore unconsciously manipulates an experiment or misinterprets data in order to find it.
Optimism bias the systematic tendency to be over-optimistic about the outcome of planned actions.
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Ostrich effect ignoring an obvious (negative) situation.
Overconfidence effect excessive confidence in ones own answers to questions. For example, for certain types of question, answers that people rate as 99% certain turn out to be wrong 40% of the time.
Positive outcome bias a tendency in prediction to overestimate the probability of good things happening to them.
Pareidolia a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) is perceived as significant, e.g., seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.
Primacy effect the tendency to weigh initial events more than subsequent events.
Recency effect the tendency to weigh recent events more than earlier events.
Disregard of regression toward the mean the tendency to expect extreme performance to continue.
Selection bias a distortion of evidence or data that arises from the way that the data are collected.
Stereotyping expecting a member of a group to have certain characteristics without having actual information about that individual.
Subadditivity effect the tendency to judge probability of the whole to be less than the probabilities of the parts.
Subjective validation perception that something is true if a subjects belief demands it to be true. Also assigns perceived connections between coincidences.
Survivorship bias concentrating on the people or things that survived some process and ignoring those that didnt, or arguing that a strategy is effective given the winners, while ignoring the large amount of losers.
Telescoping effect the effect that recent events appear to have occurred more remotely and remote events appear to have occurred more recently.
Texas sharpshooter fallacy the fallacy of selecting or adjusting a hypothesis after the data is collected, making it impossible to test the hypothesis fairly. Refers to the concept of firing shots at a barn door, drawing a circle around the best group, and declaring that to be the target.
Well travelled road effect underestimation of the duration taken to traverse oft-traveled routes and over-estimate the duration taken to traverse less familiar routes.
Bandwagon effect a competitive intelligence analyst may suffer from herd mentality.
Base rate fallacy ignoring available statistical data in favor of particulars.
Bias blind spot the tendency not to compensate for ones own cognitive biases.
Choice-supportive bias the tendency to remember ones choices as better than they actually were.
Confirmation bias the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms ones preconceptions.
Congruence bias the tendency to test hypotheses exclusively through direct testing, in contrast to tests of possible alternative hypotheses.
Contrast effect the enhancement or diminishing of a weight or other measurement when compared with a recently observed contrasting object.
Dιformation professionnelle the tendency to look at things according to the conventions of ones own profession, forgetting any broader point of view.
Distinction bias the tendency to view two options as more dissimilar when evaluating them simultaneously than when evaluating them separately.
Experimenters or Expectation bias the tendency for experimenters to believe, certify, and publish data that agree with their expectations for the outcome of an experiment, and to disbelieve, discard, or downgrade the corresponding weightings for data that appear to conflict with those expectations.
Focusing effect prediction bias occurring when people place too much importance on one aspect of an event; causes error in accurately predicting the utility of a future outcome.
Framing Using an approach or description of the situation or issue that is too narrow. Also framing effect drawing different conclusions based on how data is presented.
Hyperbolic discounting the tendency for people to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs, where the tendency increases the closer to the present both payoffs are.
Illusion of control the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they clearly cannot.
Impact bias the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact of future feeling states.
Information bias the tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action.
Interloper effect the tendency to value third party consultation as objective, confirming, and without motive. Also consultation paradox, the conclusion that solutions proposed by existing personnel within an organization are less likely to receive support than from those recruited for that purpose.
Irrational escalation the tendency to make irrational decisions based upon rational decisions in the past or to justify actions already taken.
Mere exposure effect the tendency for people to express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them.
Moral credential effect the tendency of a track record of non-prejudice to increase subsequent prejudice.
Need for Closure the need to reach a verdict in important matters; to have an answer and to escape the feeling of doubt and uncertainty. The personal context (time or social pressure) might increase this bias.
Negativity bias phenomenon by which humans pay more attention to and give more weight to negative than positive experiences or other kinds of information.
Neglect of probability the tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty.
Normalcy bias the refusal to plan for, or react to, a disaster which has never happened before.
Not Invented Here the tendency to ignore that a product or solution already exists, because its source is seen as an enemy or as inferior.
Omission bias the tendency to judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral, than equally harmful omissions (inactions).
Outcome bias the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made.
Planning fallacy the tendency to underestimate task-completion times.
Pseudo certainty effect the tendency to make risk-averse choices if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to avoid negative outcomes.
Reactance the urge to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do out of a need to resist a perceived attempt to constrain your freedom of choice.
Restraint bias the tendency to overestimate ones ability to show restraint in the face of temptation.
Selective perception the tendency for expectations to affect perception.
Semmelweis reflex the tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts an established paradigm.
Status quo bias the tendency for people to like things to stay relatively the same .
Von Restorff effect the tendency for an item that stands out like a sore thumb to be more likely to be remembered than other items.
Wishful thinking the formation of beliefs and the making of decisions according to what is pleasing to imagine instead of by appeal to evidence or rationality.
Zero-risk bias preference for reducing a small risk to zero over a greater reduction in a larger risk.
Actor-observer bias the tendency for explanations of other individuals behaviors to overemphasize the influence of their personality and underemphasize the influence of their situation. However, this is coupled with the opposite tendency for the self in that explanations for our own behaviors overemphasize the influence of our situation and underemphasize the influence of our own personality.
Egocentric bias occurs when people claim more responsibility for themselves for the results of a joint action than an outside observer would.
Barnum Effect the tendency to give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.
False consensus effect the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them.
Fundamental attribution error the tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior.
Halo effect the tendency for a persons positive or negative traits to spill over from one area of their personality to another in others perceptions of them.
Herd instinct Common tendency to adopt the opinions and follow the behaviors of the majority to feel safer and to avoid conflict.
Illusion of asymmetric insight people perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers knowledge of them.
Illusion of transparency people overestimate others ability to know them, and they also overestimate their ability to know others.
Illusory superiority overestimating ones desirable qualities, and underestimating undesirable qualities, relative to other people.
In-group bias the tendency for people to give preferential treatment to others they perceive to be members of their own groups.
Just-world phenomenon the tendency for people to believe that the world is just and therefore people get what they deserve.
Notational bias a form of cultural bias in which the notational conventions of recording data biases the appearance of that data toward (or away from) the system upon which the notational schema is based.
Out-group homogeneity bias individuals see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of other groups.
Projection bias the tendency to unconsciously assume that others share the same or similar thoughts, beliefs, values, or positions.
Self-serving bias (also called behavioral confirmation effect) the tendency to claim more responsibility for successes than failures. It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests.
Self-fulfilling prophecy the tendency to engage in behaviors that elicit results which will (consciously or not) confirm existing attitudes.
System justification the tendency to defend and bolster the status quo. Existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest.
Trait ascription bias the tendency for people to view themselves as relatively variable in terms of personality, behavior and mood while viewing others as much more predictable.
Ultimate attribution error Similar to the fundamental attribution error, in this error a person is likely to make an internal attribution to an entire group instead of the individuals within the group
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Competitive intelligence is the art of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors, individuals, concepts, information, ideas or data needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization. Includes a broad array from government intelligence to market intelligence to business intelligence.
Competitor Intelligence can include competitor analysis, knowledge management, market research and business strategy and business research.
Competitor Intelligence can be used as an everyday business tool to analyze stocks or look for weaknesses in your competitor.
May this helps you
(Student- FOSTIIMA Business School)
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