ONE: How will Artificial Intelligence Impact the Future of CI
This was a great point, counter-point discussion between Ed Alison and Terry Thiele. Full coverage here.
Ed made the great point that we need the machine to grind thru (and think thru) the giant pile of data that we confront today and that will only grow more massive as we go forward. Ed wants us to enlist the tools of the digital age to tame the digital age. If we don’t, we’re toast.
Terry countered that this massive deluge actually requires more and better human minds to see thru and make sense of it. Terry bases this view on what he sees as the real impact of the digital age: The democratization of innovation and creativity. (My words.)
Of course, the debate’s conclusion was these points are likely more complementary than conflicting. We probably have to use more tools to grind the data. But we also need to recognize that most of the data is no more than effluent. Insightful, creative minds will be all the more critical to discerning threats, opportunities and to seeing the way forward.
Bottom line: This talk is why Reconverge is the best competitive intelligence forum in industry today!
TWO: Intelligence Impact over the Life of Products and Services
Jason Voiovich kicked off the Conference portion with a great talk about risk and insight as they relate to product lifecycle management. Excellent framework for thinking of how Intelligence needs to position itself and insert itself in the organization. Read here.
THREE: Intelligence for the Future … A C-Executive’s View
The “sleeper talk” from the conference was, in my view, Mike Suchsland’s. I say sleeper because it was not the best organized or most charismatic talk, but Mike’s perspective and insights are among the most important for intelligence practitioners.
Mike laid out the incredible challenge in front of intelligence leaders: reconciling management of the present state (organization, results, stakeholders) with reconnoitering the future … or in Mike’s term, inventing the future.
Mike shared great stories from his various C-officer stints and the challenges of matching strategic choices to business reality, organization character to company position and mission, and recruiting the right kind of people versus the just the kind of people you like.
In my view, any intelligence analyst or leader worth his or her salt needs to examine these questions very carefully BEFORE they commit one minute to their first intelligence project. (This, by the way, proved itself in the great Intelligence Shark Tank session at the end of the conference!)
FOUR: Financial Early Warning Indicators
Ryan Macumber from Best Buy talked about how careful financial analysis is crucial to the intelligence mission.
I couldn’t agree more. Understanding financial performance and capability is simply fundamental … and you don’t need to be a finance MBA to do it.
What you need to do is understand the critical performance metrics relevant to your industry. Then you need to understand how your company and key rivals deliver those metrics … the cash generation process. And then you need to understand how it is changing or how operational factors and industry trends will change it.
Bottom line, if you don’t understand how the math works, it’s hard to be effective with generating impactful intelligence insights.
FIVE: Little Problems in Big China
Tom Tao from James Madison University gave a great talk on where China is headed and also how to gather intelligence in China.
After listening to Tom’s insights, to say that China has big problems might be the understatement of the decade.
He gave us a lot information and data that all point to what we might call a “national restructuring”. Bottom line, the assumptions on which China has built its economy over the last decade have simply evaporated. They built an infrastructure around an assumed competitive advantage -low cost basic industry- that others are now challenging (e.g., SE Asia, India, etc.) and that required a demand curve that is bent in the wrong direction.
Digging out and becoming a more entrepreneurial, open, high tech based economy is a daunting challenge. Tom thinks there’s no doubt the country has the ability to do it. But it will be a very rocky road.
Again, read about all the talks here: g2.reconverge.net/blog