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In his recent article on MCI organization, Gabriel Anderbjörk clarifies some very valuable insights for MCI development management. The piece is particularly interesting for our Comintelli constituency so below you will find it republished in full. Read it and learn how to:
- balance your MCI development efforts in a structured way in order to make the most of available resources.
- make sure the organization take up of MCI value is optimized
- “connect the dots” between your current and future MCI operation
Gabriel Anderbjörk is former Comintelli management partner. Through his company InTheo (https://intheo.se) he now focuses on applied information economics in combination with new entrepreneur ventures such as Comintelli partner Inzyon (https://inzyon.com).
Market & Competitive Intelligence (MCI) – taking the next step?
Gabriel Anderbjörk, information economist, CEO of Inzyon and co-author of the MCI book Gardens of Intelligence.
Where are you and where are you going?
“Where are we?” is a question that ought to be asked more often in many business situations, but that is frequently suppressed by the question “Where are we heading?”
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and the future is brighter. Yes, these are fundamental human attitudes that do drive evolution and development, but in business the question “Where are we heading?” need to be preceded by the question “Where are we?”.
Why? Because where we are today defines the resources and capabilities we possess in order to take us to where we want to be tomorrow. Without that insight the road ahead might prove very bumpy indeed. To put it bluntly, had the Vikings not been thorough in maintaining their skillset in shipbuilding and navigation, their trade and conquest business would not have been very successful, and the northern hemisphere history would have looked quite different.
Further, the question “Where are we?”, tend to be more complex than it may seem at first glance, as the approach to answer it of course depends on the targeted future position. (Had the Vikings opted for a more land-based logistics strategy, their naval capabilities had not been that core to their future success).
In fact, this prerequisite applies to all intended change initiatives in organizations, as each step in a development process needs to take currently available resources and capabilities into account as the development itself, usually equals evolving current, or acquiring new resources and capabilities.
Also, the road from where we are, to where we want to be, will prove to differ significantly between different types of operations and organization. However, in most cases, it is advisable to undertake such developments in phases and not as continuous “all-in-approaches” as the risk of exhaustion, and lack of step by step reflection and evaluation, is very high in the latter.
Although the components of the Intelligence Web remain roughly the same as in the old Cycle, the interaction between them must be fully iterative and also closely interrelated with the organization’s vision, goals and strategy, the latter a factor not at all taken int account in the original Cycle.
The book Gardens of Intelligence™ , provides a framework bringing all these development aspects together into one coherent structure that MCI managers can use, not only for development planning, but also to create detailed and concrete “as is” or “maturity” assessments. The framework is built on the ITP components, the phasing of development and the strategy to “rest” on each achieved level in the development progress, hence lending itself very well to a structured maturity and status analysis.
The Gardens of Intelligence framework encompasses six distinct phases, and six corresponding levels, as depicted in the illustrations above. Each development phase is to a great extent defined by its balance between the ITP components and each level, similarly correspondingly defined by the resources and capabilities maturity status.
When making an initial maturity assessment of an MCI operation it is highly likely that the result will show that the I, T and P outcomes respectively correspond to different levels. For example, the Technology might still be on the “Seeds” level, while Information and People are on the Sprouts level. This tends to result in a dissonance and a frustration among People, as the Information cannot be used and leveraged sufficiently, due to the lagging Technology.
Assessments, similar to the above described, should be more commonplace. They are comparably quick to undertake, do not require lots of personal resources and can save a significant number of misdirected development hours, as well as money, when evolving operations such as MCI.
Where to start?
As stated above, in order to make a useful assessment of the current situation, we must know where we are heading. For the purpose of MCI development, the Intelligence Web can serve the purpose of “framing the future” as all components of the web must be in tune to make an MCI operation successful.
Different organizations approach maturity assessments differently and there are no 100% right or wrong approaches, as long as the result is adequate and useful. Using the Gardens of Intelligence framework, you can start to assess how well each of the current I, T and P supports each of the components of the Intelligence Web by simply applying a scaled (1-10) assessment on each relation. While doing so It is paramount to stay critical. One can far too easily overestimate the level of one’s own excellence.
The next step is to examine the result and question each result:
- What particular resource or capability, or both, is it that made the assessment positive?
- What particular resource or capability, or both, is lacking and thus made the assessment negative?
With those questions answered, it should be possible to match your results with the definitions of the Gardens of Intelligence levels and thus get a fairly concrete picture of where further development efforts and budgets would render the highest return on investment.
Needless to say, if following the Gardens of Intelligence framework, the development efforts should be directed towards the ITP component that eventually scored lowest in terms of level correspondence. If, for instance, the outcome would equal the example mentioned above, all efforts should focus on getting Technology on par with the People and Information before any other developments are contemplated. Also, if any ITP component is found to be above the others, but still “in between levels”, it may(!), depending on the status of the other factors, and at that very time, be wise to downplay the status of the “intermediary” factor to be perceived as on par with the other two until a plan has been agreed to develop all three to the next level.
To summarize, in order to evolve, it is a necessity to know where to start and you cannot start from any other place than where you currently are. In business terms, “where we are” is an expression of currently available resources and capabilities. Without solid understanding of the current status of these two, any development efforts can become a very expensive and uncomfortable experience. Hence, whatever model/framework that might be preferred for assessing your starting point, do not start running until you have identified your starting blocks!
Join us for a webinar on April 17th where Gabriel Anderbjörk and Kari Syrjä will discuss “How to Secure Your M&CI Efforts Despite Limited Resources?”
Register here >>