Day 3 SCIP ATLANTA
SCIP 2015 is in the books. Atlanta and the Marriot Marquis was a great venue. As always it was great see old CI buddies, renew acquaintances, and make new friends. A lot of talented interesting and fun colleagues in this space!
The high points from Atlanta … some good key notes and panels. I especially liked the interview with Clay Mowry, President of Arianspace. Great perspective from a senior executive who lives and dies by intelligence insights … Just goes to show that even rocket scientists need intelligence!
The Great Debate session was indeed great … see below.
The Learning Labs and Marketplace-of-Ideas sessions were excellent additions to the typical mini-seminars that crowd the SCIP agenda. Too often in the past, mini-seminars were mostly thinly veiled vendor or author pitches. Not so with the Learning Labs and Marketplace-of-Ideas. Lots of aha’s going on in these sessions, lots of energy.
Overall, not as much negative vibe on vendors this year. And speaking of vendors, there were some interesting new technology providers that I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of.
Of course, John Thomson on his guitar, the band, and the Rock-n-Roll Dance Party were a blast.
And the low-lights: Lower attendance and too high a vendor to practitioner ratio. Would have liked to hear from our board and missed the “state-of-SCIP” facts and figures. While Nan Bulger did a nice PR speech at the open, there is still a restlessness and worry among the membership that we are shrinking and not really leading professional growth and expansion. Some good sizzle but it is not at all clear where the bacon is.
The GREAT Debate!
Alysse Nockels emceed the best discussion / debate of the conference. Using a recent academic study as priming, the question is before the house: Has the association with “spying” and “dirty pool” forever tainted and stigmatized the profession? And therefore is doing intelligence in the business environment a bad idea professionally?
Craig Fleisher (SCIP Fellow, Aurora WDC Chief Learning Officer) argued for the affirmative case. Bad practices and high profile mistakes and failures have put CI behind the Eight Ball. Reputational risk, PR fear and a bad taste in mouths of senior managers continue to drag us down … and maybe we can’t break out? (Could say a lot in favor having survived the famous P&G vs. Unilever incident.) That’s the nut of the affirmative case.
Kevin Mann (IBM) took the negative! The reality is that despite the “stigma” the numbers don’t lie. 172 thousand LinkedIn profiles list competitive intelligence skills and experience. And relative to things like Stock Broker or Senator or even Lawyer and Chief Financial Officer, Competitive Intelligence Professional score higher in trust and reputation in surveys (as it should be!)
Kevin makes the excellent point that doing CI actually makes business professionals stronger, better thinkers, and stronger in terms of understanding ethics and principles. Net CI work should and does increase reputation of practitioners … whether they keep on in CI or move to other disciplines.
Bottom line of Kevin’s argument, CI makes stronger professionals, makes great and real impact, and are true guardians of ethics and principles.
I think Kevin’s argument wins … in a landslide.
Day 2 SCIP ATLANTA … afternoon and evening
Lots of good content today.
Lunch was divided into industry tables and I joined the Consumer Goods round. Not a lot of staples guys, but several retail and personal electronics friends. Good discussion and some interesting insights.
For those with a bent toward staples the demographic problem of slower family formation and a relatively poorer millennial generation is only exacerbated for retailers and consumer electronics players. The number of toys people are buying is not growing. And sharing toys is now de rigeuer for younger generations. What this portents for stock price multiples based on 4 to 6% market growth or higher, anybody’s guess! (What cannot go on forever, won’t.)
Day 2 SCIP ATLANTA
Lots of good fellowship and discussion last night at dinner. Many interesting companies, unique challenges, and the wonderful passion of CI people who want to “figure it out and get it right”.
Not so great start today. This morning’s keynote Keith Pigues (North Carolina Central University and Keen Strategy) did a bit of a retread from 2013 on his Differential Value Proposition thesis and book. It’s a good message but it was almost word for word the same speech as 2 years ago. And his style is loud and preachy which I think rolled over the audience. Here’s his message in a nutshell … it’s not enough to talk about putting customers first, you have to discover and measure how you make customers more successful:
Also, it would have been nice to have some remarks from the Board Chair Alysse Nockels to start off today.
DAY 1 ATLANTA
Greetings from Atlanta … things are just getting underway at SCIP 2015. Attendance a bit down but Marriott Marquis is a great venue. The hotel was the setting for some of the Hunger Games filming. Very modern and funky architecture and on a massive scale. Will post pictures later.
First up today, a great key note! Intel’s in-house futurist Brian David Johnson. Funny, glib and, for once, not full of trend blather or laser-light nonsense. Rather, as he called himself, a “practical futurist”. Meaning that his method is disciplined, evidence based and hypothetical. Best of all, he rejected, flat out, the dystopian imagery of machines and technology running a dehumanized world … the stock and trade of many so-called futurists. His big thought. Human beings make the future, not history with a capital H. We should be optimistic and understand that we are the agents of tomorrow … not creepy technologies or scary forces beyond reckoning. Amen to that!
As promised … very cool!
Update on afternoon… Some very good sessions running most of the afternoon. I didn’t stay for the Frost & Sullivan future stuff which folks reported as being “pretty tired”. Which is too bad after the strong start by Brian David Johnson.
Trade show opened and was packed. Indeed a lot of critique that of the approximate 500 attendees, nearly half seem to be vendors … or as we call them “solution providers”. Obviously, as a vendor, I have a conflict of interest. But the critique is fair.
I did attend a good learning lab event emceed by Craig Fleisher. Good, diverse group of mostly CI leaders, talking about solving the “one big thing” that is holding them back. Prioritization, focusing on breakthrough work, and establishing organization cred were some of the big issues. Below were solutions, captured from flip charts. I’ll blog on these ideas more at a later date, but the raw material is worth consideration…