Introduction (Toni Wilson)
There are several themes running through this week’s blog articles from the CI Division experts. One is that competitive intelligence is inherently forward-looking. Another is that marketplace insights can be developed by observing and understanding patterns in the information we collect. Related to the latter is a very important theme – that informational professionals are uniquely qualified to do this, ultimately creating value for the end users, clients and organizations we serve. In today’s blog, Anna Shallenberger offers practical perspective regarding filtering the facts we gather to provide insights and need-to-know results.
Intelligence – be it regarding competitors, markets or any other area – is inherently forward-looking. And yes – research and content is necessary to feed the intel engine that empowers future-readiness. Many Info Pros possess untapped skills key to delivering great intel (CI, MI, etc.) services, abilities they may not realize organizations need. The challenges are to apply them effectively and visibly. YOU have to believe, because in a world where “Perception is reality” – people won’t buy what you’re “selling” without that confidence.
So what are these secret super-hero powers? Is it all about statistical number crunching and PowerPoint presentations? Certainly not, although a certain base proficiency in these areas is preferable. And, of course, our data collection and synthesis skills have value, not to mention our expertise in validating sources. It is the talent to both battle the swollen inflow of inputs AND partner in delivering those targeted Aha’s and So What’s.
It takes an effective balancing act – levering the wealth of information content and methodology our “researcheritis” yields with the right filter – while smartly triangulating the significance of that which has made it through.
Is it the same idea as actionable intelligence? Not precisely. Think of it like a souped-up version of the kid’s “Lite Brite” toy where content is the pegs and you have a big bucket of them in front of you. The more pegs, the higher the resolution of the image, and the better the insights, right? Again, not exactly.
You don’t need to use every peg. Some should shine brighter (weigh more heavily) than others. You can arrange them in a variety of designs that make sense in the moment. But the future ready Info Pro sees patterns based on triangulating, drawing on the wealth of otherwise useless trivia rattling around in our mental hard drive.
Yes, our content gathering skills have great value. But let’s consider our content filtering abilities, and how access to all the data we’ve seen in life empowers us! LIS professionals offer a unique ability to TRIANGULATE between all the information and ASSESS meaning. Internal and external sources – gathered by ourselves or others. Teaming up on the analysis and impact of the intel. Because it’s that piece that makes organization most future ready.
Anna F. Shallenberger is an experienced researcher, educator, author, strategist & consultant, Anna Shallenberger, aka the ClosetLibrarian, was recently recognized in Best of the Business Web. At SLA 2011 , she is a panelist for “Integrating with Sales & Marketing to Capture & Deliver Intelligence.” At the Intelligence Café, Anna will lead a discussion regarding Unique Information Sources & the Deep Web. She was also a spotlight panelist @ SLA 2010 and served as conference planner for the CI Division.