Last night, I had the honour (that is spelled correctly, check Greg’s posting on the CLawbies for more detail) of participating in “Using KITs+1™ in Boosting Your Organization’s Analytical Fitness™ ” presented by Dr. Craig S. Fleisher, Chief Learning Officer/Aurora WDC, to a joint audience of members from the Toronto Chapters of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals and Special Library Association . This was the first time Dr. Fleisher presented this material, and I can promise you it won’t, nor should it be, his last.

The talk was about the next generation of intelligence analysis – analysis 2.0 if you will and our analytic fitness levels. I won’t recap the entire presentation because I would likely mash it up horribly, but here are five take-aways, musings and thoughts on competitive intelligence (CI) and analysis 2.0 that I am still pondering (note the italics) today. The ability to provide good CI and to really know what your clients (lawyers or otherwise) need is predicated on trust. Studies have shown that it takes 7.3 years to build the kind of trust necessary to be seen as the kind of “trusted business advisor” our clients expect. Um… I knew it took a year to get your “legs” in a firm, but 6.3 more to be trusted?? 

In the last several years, we have seen a significant increase in our data storage capabilities. I carry a 3 gig thumb drive on a key ring for example, but all this data we carry around and have access to has a very short half-life. Why are we storing it beyond its shelf life and/or not using it sooner? 

Analysis 2.0 is about dialogue and discussion – think crowd sourced analysis. This necessary means we, as CI practitioners, will have to recognize our own blind spots and prejudices, right? 

The current CI cycle, no matter how many steps you include, always involves the definition of an issue or a Key Intelligence Topic (KIT), Data Gathering, then Analysis, etc. In the next generation of analysis, we will need to provide real time analytics. Can we do various steps concurrently? Perhaps the answer to real time analysis is more in keeping with the scientific method of stating a hypothesis and then collecting the right data to prove the point – is that CI or just cheating? 

CI practitioners need to develop or maintain a sense of humility about intelligence and recognize that sometimes you will be wrong, and that’s okay. This goes hand in hand with being a trusted advisor. Think of it like the weather man (or woman). Each morning we trust our clothing choices to the forecasted weather. Often the weather person is right, sometimes not, but we rarely lose complete faith because the next morning there we are again, listening for the forecast and choosing outerwear based on what we hear. As the weather people, we have to know that we are trusted even if we are sometimes wrong. And sometimes as creators of intel, we have to realize that experience counts too. Sometimes you just have to step outside and feel the temperature yourself, right? Use your gut and be ok if you are wrong. 

Dr. Fleisher is a dynamic and exciting speaker – he encourages discussion and forces people to think about CI in ways we haven’t yet. He is pushing the envelope and creating new paradigms. Are your analysis skills ready for the workout?