Introduction (Toni Wilson)
In this article from another of our CI Division experts, we move from understanding how CI makes information professionals and the individuals and organizations they serve future-ready to understanding the future of the practice of competitive intelligence itself. In other words, as our respective marketplaces continue to change and evolve – prompting us to be prepared with competitive intelligence and insights – so does the practice of CI. Another way to be future-ready is to embrace and prepare for changes in the way CI is practiced.
As the current chair for the SLA CI Division’s 2011 conference, I am particularly interested in what makes a conference session memorable and important. One event I attended recently at the SCIP conference, which made an impression, was led by Dr. Craig S. Fleisher, a leading academic, expert and author – Dr. Fleisher delivered his interactive session, CI 2020, to a sold-out crowd. The result was the collective reasoning of over 100 CI professionals regarding the future of CI. Following are a few key takeaways:
- The lines between primary and secondary research are blurring: They will continue to converge due to the increasing use of social media in CI. CI professionals may no longer specialize in one or the other in the future.
- Info-glut, info-toxicity and data overload have us “drinking from an informational fire hose.” This growing trend will require us all to become better analysts and create more sophisticated analysis.
- Higher performance standards and certifications will be required. Better standards for CI professionals to be measured by, as well as trustworthy certifications for CI personnel are a must.
- The question of supply vs. demand is highly debated. Forces increasing client demand include globalization and increasing competition. However, CI professionals are not confident overall that enough educated practitioners can be trained with existing programs.
Dr. Fleisher will be leading a CI 2020 session at the SLA conference this year, entitled CI Unconference. The results from these interactive sessions are used by Dr. Fleisher as part of a longitudinal analysis of the future of CI. It’s very exciting that SLA’s members can take advantage of an opportunity to participate in this important, ongoing project, learn from the findings, and apply them to becoming more future-ready professionally.
Claudia Clayton is Managing Director of ViewPoint, a strategy, consulting and research firm established in 1993. She leads the competitive intelligence activities of ViewPoint on behalf of major U.S. corporations in multiple industries. Claudia is a committed and hard-working volunteer, primarily serving the members of SLA’s CI Division and the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). She won SCIP’s Catalyst Award in 2007 in recognition of her commitment to the CI profession. Claudia is the CI Division’s 2011 Conference Chair and currently serves as the CID’s Membership Chair as well.