Analytics and Forecasting

Signal to noise

10 Nov 2009  

Why doesn’t early warning work?  While it’s a good idea in theory, in practice it seldom seems to have its intended effect.  In every major intelligence failure I’ve looked at, there were clear, credible early signals — and even explicit warnings—that tragically remained unheeded.  Why is this, and what can we do about it? For […]

Analytics and Forecasting

Tick or trend?

30 Sep 2009  

It’s not the latest Halloween ritual (sorry, couldn’t resist), but rather the basic choice every investor, corporate executive, analyst must make in forecasting what’s most likely to come next. If you had been paying attention in March, you could have made 48.2% since then on your investment in the DJIA index.  If you did, congratulations—but […]

Analytics and Forecasting

The two kinds of information

14 Aug 2009  

When asked to name his favorite kind of music, pioneering jazz musician Louis Armstrong is said to have replied, ”There are only two kinds of music, good and bad.  I like good music.” You could say the same about information—there are fundamentally only two kinds, good and bad. According to one definition (“Intelligence:  An Economic […]

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 […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

Tragedy and statistics

11 Mar 2009  

“The death of one company is a tragedy; the death of one million is a statistic.” Originally said of catastrophic human events, so it is too with “The Economy”.  It’s too easy to get lost in the quantified abstractions of the aggregate, and thereby lose focus on the realities that drive individual business enterprises. If […]

Competitiveness and Innovation

The tough get going

30 Jan 2009  

Now the tough get going.  The economy will come back—not because it decides to come back, but because we together make it come back.  How long this will take to happen, no one can say for sure. This much is clear:  silly season is over.  Things like having not one, but two places on your […]

Organization and Management


30 Nov 2008  

In my last post “Our radar has failed”, I offered the view that the current financial crisis is actually more than that—it’s a crisis in the ways we use information to make business decisions.  We’ve obviously come to another “Where do we go from here?” moment. So, where DO we go from here? I’ve identified […]

Analytics and Forecasting

Our radar has failed

17 Oct 2008  

Once again, our radar has failed. The current financial meltdown is much more than a serious financial crisis. It’s even more than a crisis of confidence. It’s no less than a fundamental abuse of information and its pivotal role in our economy. When our economy started in pre-historic times, we bartered for goods and services. […]

Analytics and Forecasting

Intelligence points of pain (IPoPs)

14 Sep 2008  

I recently conducted a KVC Workshop for intelligence producers at SCIP08’s international convention in San Diego.  During the workshop I surveyed them about their biggest obstacles and problems in corporate intelligence.  We’ve been collecting and analyzing this kind of data now for several years—I call it the Intelligence Points of Pain (IPoP) database. NEWS FLASH: Intelligence problems and challenges are remarkably […]