On the SCIP linkedin group I recently came across a survey to identify the education and career moves that can lead a person into the competitive intelligence discipline. It was most interesting to note that many of the competitive intelligence practitioners, even in countries more “CI mature” than India, got into their role by accident!
Competitive intelligence in India is a very new discipline. There are few educational courses that lead to a career in CI. But even in developed countries, where CI has been practiced for over 30 years, there are very few formal educational courses for CI. Only a handful of organizations (including SCIP) offer courses in CI.
Most of the respondents of the above survey started with a varied basic degrees, got into CI by accident, took a few courses along the way and mainly learned on the job. One respondent came from an army and government background, where he got intelligence training – he applied this to the private sector.
It is difficult to get into the CI function in an organization with absolutely no experience in CI. So how does one get this experience?
The key common characteristic of CI practitioners is their passion for the discipline. And that is really the key to a successful career in CI. It requires a huge amount of curiosity, an analytical bent of mind and an eagerness to find answers to business questions.
It is possible to pursue CI in an organization even without necessarily getting into a formal CI function. So anyone in any function will find that they can do their own job better and contribute to enhancing their company’s competitive advantage by talking to people from other companies, by reading up on what the competitors are doing and analyzing the implications of this for their own company. Sharing this work with the seniors/ CI function can be one way to move towards a CI career within the organization.
Another way is to first work with a CI service provider, get some experience and on-the-job learning in CI techniques and then move to the client side in the CI function.
Of course, it is possible to do all of this more efficiently and effectively, with some training on key competitive intelligence techniques and methodologies. Such training was not easily available in India – till now. ValueNotes has recently introduced a series of workshops and programs precisely to enhance the capabilities of those who have the passion for competitive intelligence.
Do you have a passion for competitive intelligence? Do you have any unmet learning needs in this field? What are they?