Let’s Give SCIP a Second Chance

This has been a tough time for many of us in this rocky economy and SCIP has been no exception. SCIP 09 attracted many fewer people than SCIP had hoped for since many companies have cut back travel and education budgets this year.  Like most associations, SCIP is fueled financially by its annual conferences.  SCIP leadership and its Board of Directors were ready and presented the membership with a voting opportunity to keep SCIP in business.  Frost & Sullivan’s Institute has agreed to give SCIP a cash infusion to keep it in business, and to propel the CI profession into new directions, most particularly up the organization where Frost is well positioned.

Like many I was disturbed by the suddenness with which we were presented with this bad news: that SCIP was facing such financial difficulty that this infusion of cash was expedient, and we better vote YES to keep SCIP in business.  This was bad emotional intelligence on SCIP’s part I think.

There is a tremendous amount of emotional and analytical discussion on this subject on our CI Ning.  Check it out as you will read so many great ideas on how our field is evolving globally as well as organizations that do bits and pieces of CI.

What I get from this discussion is that we all benefit the most by having one place to represent competitive intelligence, so I hope that SCIP remains in business, and takes some of the constructive suggestions that have been raised in the last week through the CI Ning, the Fellow’s phone call, the CI chapter’s phone call…the outpouring of ideas.

I also hope that SCIP learns to work better with other interest groups all over the world in SCIP and brings back some form of an academic journal since schooling is a great way to build the profession!

Read about the proposed merger with Frost & Sullivan’s Institute right on SCIP’s home page .  The latest I heard was about 90% of the votes have been YES to the merger.  There has never been such a high voter turnout in SCIP’s history. SCIP needs 5% of the membership to vote and a 2/3 majority to say YES in order to move forward with negotiations for the merger.  I voted YES and encourage SCIP members to support our Board and SCIP leadership. We all win if SCIP moves forward and continues to support the competitive intelligence profession.

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Let’s Hear it for Librarians in Competitive Intelligence!

Our CI Ning brings out so much discussion in competitive intelligence.  Here is one point I shared recently and it bears repeating: I would like to support the role of librarians in the CI field. Often in competitive intelligence there is so much confusion about what we do, that we ram our way into places where we don’t belong somewhat in desperation.

We can learn from librarians about good service, which is a lot what I believe is behind the practice of cooperative intelligence, which promotes a spirit of giving by integrating the practices of leadership, connection and communication.  Many of us in CI are very good at digging up good insightful data and providing relevant analysis.  We’re not so good at the human issues of connection and communication, which is where librarians run circles around many of us.  They learn about this in librarian school both as undergrads and in master’s programs.

Many librarians don’t have extensive analytical skills, while some do.  I have been disturbed over the years by how some in our field seem to put down the library science field, when it’s the first step in most CI projects, and the librarian can be one of the major sources of fuel to feed the CI process so we can spend more time connecting with primary sources and doing the analysis and communication to help our companies be more competitive.

I learned to value librarians back in 1985 when I started our CI function at Bell Atlantic, now part of Verizon. Our corporate librarian was an important part of my CI team, and she threw more good stuff my way…yes, this was before the Internet, email and voice mail…now librarians can do so much more, and watch a librarian connect on social networks. This is just an extension of what they already have been doing for years.

I think these are some of the reasons that SLA’s CI division is so successful.  Librarians get where their role is in the company, that it’s evolving and provide it with a spirit of service and giving. They also know what they don’t know and learn about it: that’s where CI fits in and why SLA’s CI certificate program has been so successful. Another reason is it was developed and executed by a seasoned CI professional, Cynthia Cheng Correia who understands librarian’s needs since she also has her MLS.

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