Competitiveness and Innovation

What’s a Record Store, Grandpa?

23 Jul 2012  

When I first moved to New York in the mid-70s, I was working downtown for New York State’s Emergency Financial Control Board.  Yes, Virginia, we’ve had financial crises before, and that was a pretty bad one.  My job was conducting ‘financial intelligence’ about the city subway system. A guy I worked with shared my interest […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Willful Ignorance

16 Feb 2011  

Stop me if you’d heard this one. “[COMPANY] is in the final stages of preparing a bankruptcy filing, clinching a long fall for a company with humble beginnings that helped change the way Americans buy [PRODUCT], but failed to keep pace with the [CHANGE] rocking every corner of the [INDUSTRY] landscape.” Today (February 12, Wall […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Competitive dynamics: a basic typology

6 Feb 2011  

“I love you, you’re perfect…now CHANGE.”  That’s what the market in effect continually tells high-achieving companies—because the world always changes around them. Companies tend to do best today what they did best yesterday…not what they’ll need to do best tomorrow. In working with companies of various sizes, in various industries, I’ve noticed that the most […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Competitive myopia

8 Jan 2011  

I recently had a conversation with the publisher of a start-up niche business-to-business magazine.  We had pointed out several things that we felt were opportunities for him.  For one, our view—confirmed with some informal research—that the “look and feel” of his product was not what it could be, and that with a small investment, he […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

IntelliJam: a fast ride through the past and future of corporate intelligence

24 Nov 2010  

I speak often with Eric Garland, a leading futurist, thinker, and blogger.  We typically have a free-ranging and—to us, at least—entertaining and enlightening conversation. This time he recorded it.  Here are some of the notes we hit: Businesses have always wanted and needed to know about each other’s activities.  Until the 20th century, this was […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

iPad math: a consumer looks at value

2 Sep 2010  

In a recent post Surfing the value waves I mentioned having purchased an iPad. Here’s the value calculation that drove me to buy it.  Of course it’s cool and fun—but does it make economic sense? It first occurred to me in discussions with my wife—who wants a big, flat, thin TV like all our friends […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Surfing the value waves

30 Jul 2010  

Picture in your mind your organization’s typical customer or client.  Now picture the moment that customer purchases your product (or service).  Each transaction with that customer is preceded by some calculation—whether rigorous or informal— that your product is “worth it” compared to alternative solutions.  This worth-it-ness is called your product’s value proposition. The sum of […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Value demystified

20 Apr 2010  

We’re obviously proud of our KVC model.   We think it helps explain a lot of the mystery surrounding “how to compete in the knowledge economy.” But the KVC is more than just a theoretical framework.  At TKA, we use it every week as a tool to solve live client problems.  In our offices, we have […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

The value contract

6 Jul 2009  

Still more ideas from the SCIP annual conference in Chicago… When I work with internal corporate practitioners of intelligence or research, one of my first recommendations is to run their operation as if it were a stand-alone business.  That is, with clients (managerial decision-makers), suppliers (databases, contractors, etc.), and possibly even rivals of their own-both […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Intelligence takes a holiday

30 Jun 2009  

Last week I went on vacation with my “lifemate” Ellen and the rest of my immediate family.  We were on Cape Cod, MA, which is a pretty sophisticated area as far as vacation spots go, so I had assumed that there would be good Internet connections. Wrong.  No Wi-Fi signals, only one bar (at best) […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Customized vs. syndicated intelligence

22 May 2009  

More ideas from the SCIP09 conference in Chicago… I’ve worked a lot during my career with business-to-business publishing and information services clients—and consider myself in that business as well.  There are basically two business models for this kind of information—customized and syndicated. Customized information is that which is developed—often at great effort and expense—and which […]

Competitiveness and Innovation


27 Apr 2009  

Ideas from the SCIP09 Conference in Chicago… When I was in business school, my dean (William Donaldson—who earlier in his career had founded the brokerage firm Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette) had several homespun sayings that would guide those of us who knew him.  One of these was “You have two ears and one mouth—you can’t […]