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Adapt to change and it's an opportunity. Ignore or fail to adapt and, change becomes a serious threat to your business future.
To adapt, you need to be flexible - almost a jack-of-all-trades. Expertise is important but often the expert fails to see change outside their specialist area - and so in an ideal organisation you need people who are multi-skilled, and able to see the big picture or the aerial view, as well as the people who are specialists and focus on detail.
The generalist can take an overview of the landscape and spot the enemy on the horizon or the change that's encroaching. However they won't have the detailed insight to come up with a workable solution. That's the role of the expert - who sees the detail and all its ramifications. As the expert can't take the wide view, they often won't spot the problem - but are key to the solution.
Does your company encourage both generalists and experts? Do you appreciate the skills of "out-of-the-box" thinkers and those that have an interest in lots of areas, or do you only value those with a deep expertise in your area of work?
If there was a radical change from outside your industry would you see it before it impacted you, or only react after it had passed you by?
The truly adaptive corporation encourages both skillsets - that of the generalist and that of the specialist. It's why they are the companies that succeed and overtake their rivals.
The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but #data buff.ly/2hmIEMT
In the early 20th century the monopolistic dominance of oil companies in controlling resources needed for industry led to the break-up of companies like Standard Oil. There are similar calls to break up the tech companies such as Google (and it's parent company Alphabet), Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft.
The Economist argues that despite these companies dominant position breaking them up would not benefit consumers. Size is not a crime. These companies offer services for free - rather than gouging customers for every cent or penny as was the problems with the oil companies. Further new entrants are able to appear - if they come up with the right product, as Facebook did around 10 years ago.
The problem is the tech giants' control of data. Anti-trust rules need to look at how the world has changed as the old rules can no longer apply. ... See MoreSee Less
Google regularly removes and changes advanced search functionality (e.g. a recent change on country searching where Google now defaults to the country or location you do the search, irrespective of what country version you search with). Although this generally will make life harder for information professionals it often improves search for the average user who doesn't know about or care about advanced searching (as with the location awareness change).
Google has now changed its (albeit little used) "info" command search operator, dropping useful links buff.ly/2zw0fME
Although professional searchers can find work-arounds to the changes, they are irritating and when two come close together (as in this case) they can be an indicator of further changes to come.
Ultimately it seems likely that much current advanced search functionality may go - as Google's efforts in "semantic search" / AI type predictive searching reach fruition. It means that professional searchers will continually have to up their game - so that they can find the hard-to-get information clients value but "Mr/Ms Average" doesn't care about and that won't result in Google making money from targeted adverts and user profiling, etc. ... See MoreSee Less
When you forward an email, you believe to be a scam to firstname.lastname@example.org a check is done to make sure it is a scam attempt, and then a proxy email address is used to engage the scammer. This will flood their inboxes with responses without any way for them to tell who is a chat-bot, and who is a real vulnerable target. Once you’ve forwarded an email nothing more is required on your part, but the more you send through, the more effective it will be. (Rescam.org) #ScamAlert #EMail #AI ... See MoreSee Less
The 2016 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was "Post-Truth". We are living in a "Post-Truth" era where politicians can promise things they know can't be kept yet people believe them. However things may now be changing. People realise that not all "news" is true and social media recognises they have a responsibility not to peddle falsehoods.
Sadly, the truth alone is not enough - as a single fact may be true but have no real meaning if it is not representative of what is the norm. You can almost always find an anecdote to support a point of view. In the case of the recent terrorist outrage in New York where an Uzbekistani American drove into pedestrians killing 8, this could be used to support the idea that all Muslim immigrants are dangerous. A pro-Muslim newspaper could switch this around and show examples of Muslims saving lives as doctors, building businesses and turn that into a headline. Both would be true. SO a single anecdote or news item is not data. They make a vivid story but do not make a long-term trend on which to build strategy.
In the traditional academic world, there is a process for evaluating papers: 1) Peer-review that decides on whether or not a paper should get published or not 2) Where it is published - and the reputation of the journal 3) The authors - and their track record. This largely (not completely) helps ensure reliability (although can also confirm biases if reviewers reject new ideas that are actually valid). A similar process is needed for all news - where the quality of the source, the authors and similar can help in sorting out the truth. #Strategy #FakeNews #Research ... See MoreSee Less
Net neutrality - where everybody has the same access to the web matters. Without it, service providers could charge different amounts for accessing popular sites such as Facebook versus less popular sites - so that multiple packages could exist. Some with access to Social media only and other, more expensive packages offering more or full access. (This excludes censorship of sites like ThePirateBay and other sites banned in some countries - but banned for all).
Portugal does not guarantee net neutrality and some providers are starting to take advantage by offering packages focusing on music, social media, messaging apps, etc. This gives a glimpse on how things could look if you had to pay extra for full web-access as it would mean that companies willing to pay to ensure access to their sites would be on the basic packages - and most websites would only be available for those paying for the full package. ... See MoreSee Less
How to Stalk Your Competitors in Social Media (So You Can Crush Them) buff.ly/2ynfyos #CI #strategy #SocMint
Monitoring what your competitors are doing online - especially on social media is now an essential part of competitor analysis. It will allow you to evaluate how they see themselves, their brand strengths, how they handle complaints and also, often, what they are planning i.e. their strategies.
Ignoring social media can mean you miss how the competitor interacts with customers, their reputation and more. This article gives clues on areas to look at - although surprisingly gives more attention to Pinterest (which, though important is fairly minor) and not enough on YouTube. Nevertheless the key points are worth paying attention to - but also look at competitor advertising especially via YouTube, etc. ... See MoreSee Less
How to Run a Competitor Analysis - focusing on online competitors buff.ly/2ibiNeB
An ongoing analysis of what your competitors are up to is essential if you want to stay ahead. Leaving it for when your bank or an investor asks for information on the market is not enough. You need to stay up to date on your direct and indirect competitors and what is changing - ideally offline as well as online. (This article includes a free guide that can be downloaded, focusing on online competitors).
Discover where #competitors are beating you online: how to understand your online marketplace & #competition
Every company has competitors. In fact, a competitive marketplace is a critical component of our free enterprise system, driving our economy, innovation and the continuous cycle of ever improving quality of products and services.
But do you really know how your company compares to your competitors?
Traditional competitive analyses are applied from either a business plan standpoint or as a component of the annual marketing plan, and they tend to focus primarily on areas such as; Researching your competitors’ corporation, determining your competitors’ goals and objectives, identifying your competitors’ strategies (product, pricing, positioning and place), and conducting a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).
While there are countless variations of the traditional competitive analysis, it typically lacks a clear assessment from a digital inbound marketing perspective. Companies tend to know their competitors based upon who they compete with on the street, in their local marketplace, or based upon the sales opportunities of what they have won or lost.
Little awareness or recognition is given to their online competitors. ... See MoreSee Less
How to Start a Competitive Analysis: 57 Questions You Need to Ask
A good introductory guide to competitor analysis - showing areas that need to be looked at, especially when the competitors are online. (There's lots more, of course, that can be looked at - and uncovering competitor strategy and future intentions is not easy - which is why engaging experts is often money well-spent. However much of what is needed to get started can and should be done in-house so a guide like this is well worth following). Includes a download template for looking at online competition - promoting Alexa. (Alexa is a great service that allows you to monitor competitor activity online). ... See MoreSee Less
Although this is a promotional page (with a pop-up that asks you to download the e-book) the 21 tips are good - starting with number 1 & 2: you don't have to be 100% perfect. (Human beings aren't robots. We make mistakes. Your audience is more likely to warm to you if they see you as human). Number 3 - about not relying on PowerPoint is also important. Powerpoint can be a crutch. Who wants to walk about with a crutch. If you use PowerPoint (and there are pros to using it) it should be as a tool to make the presentation interesting. However it is what YOU say that is important - not the content of the slides. So you really need to know your topic inside out - and be passionate about it.
My favourite tip is actually the last. If you want your presentation to sound wooden, fake and boring, then spend time learning the script by heart and practicing it non-stop. Unless you are a professional actor, doing this will not make the presentation good. It will make it dry and artificial. Instead, know your subject so that you can answer any questions - including those not asked directly by the audience but intimated in their body language. Look at the audience - and gauge how they are feeling about what you are saying and be prepared to tailor your words to these emotions. (If you have a completely prepared script you can't do this as you won't be able to "go off piste" when necessary). Know your subject so well that if using PowerPoint you don't need the slides to speak. You speak - and the slides support what you are saying - and NOT the other way around. ... See MoreSee Less
#WeChat is China's most popular #SocialMedia channel - but only recently overtook the lesser known but still important QQ.
Significantly both are products of Tencent - and show how keeping up-to-date with market changes is crucial for strategic success, especially in fast-moving technology areas. The lessons from WeChat's success and QQ's fall are also relevant for social media elsewhere - and #strategy overall. It's better to cannibalise your own products than let competitors do it for you
Technological innovations occur in cycles with each development having 3 phases: 1) Discovery & installation - mostly funded by speculative investment chasing fast returns. This leads to a bubble and 2) A turning point - where the technology has been adopted and grown - leading to inequalities and problems, and social and economic turbulence, with the burst of the bubble and a financial crisis. This gets sorted, leading to the final 3rd phase. 3) Deployment - where the technology spreads and leads to a "golden age" where the technology is not only established but benefits all.
Since the industrial revolution, we've been through a number of such cycles - steam & railways - electricity / heavy engineering - Oil, automation, mass production. We are now in an era of IT, Information & telecommunication - and the financial crisis of 2007 was the turning point.
Although the idea sounds good, the article doesn't mention AI (artificial intelligence) - which, along with biotech initiatives and DNA as an information storage (plus nanotechnology) may be heralding a new age that will replace the current IT/telecom one.
If a scientific conspiracy theory is funny, that doesn’t mean it’s a joke.
Recently, a conspiracy idea that the earth is flat and not a sphere has grown in popularity - partly due to being pushed by a rap music star. A search on Google for "Flat earth" gives bit.ly/2yVj5t7 as the third link showing how this has become "acceptable" to many. A key question is why and how conspiracy theories spread and get believed. The use of social media and platforms such as Reddit, etc. can lead to nonsense ideas spreading - as seen in the flat earth example.
A lesson for all involved in #strategy is that if something is spread enough times it can become acceptable. Peer pressure, various biases and the ignorance of truth (plus a reluctance to accept ignorance or even to check for the truth) can lead to crazy ideas getting adopted. The article focuses on the flat earth idea. There are many more: the anti-vaxx movement, Holocaust Denial, the 911 truthers (who claim the twin towers were deliberately bought down by the US Government and/or Israel), and several others - including many management fads and ideas on "strategy". . ... See MoreSee Less
Choosing a new strategic direction is hard - especially when the market is changing rapidly. A core assumption in much of strategic management research is that more accurate forecasts of future competitive actions or the future value of certain business capabilities will lead to strategic success.
Executives have long been exhorted to conduct analyses of internal and external environments and construct scenarios of the future. However, seeing strategy in this way has some serious weaknesses. It assumes that accuracy can be achieved through rigorous analysis and conscientious efforts to overcome individual biases in perception. It also assumes that the process will be relatively frictionless and primarily analytical.
Because the future is essentially unknowable, leaders must rely on the past for information and insight. Moreover, given that the future is unknown, there are likely to be differences and conflicts within the organization about what that future might hold. Such conflicts can impede progress on the development and execution of new strategies — especially innovative strategies that depart significantly from a company’s current approach to the market.
Rethinking the past and present can help managers reimagine the future and so construct a strategic narrative that can enable innovation. ... See MoreSee Less
There's a new Chrome & Firefox browser extension that's potentially very useful for #OSINT searching. It works for in-context searches - although seems still to be in development - as the extension on the bookmark bar includes dead links and is has two blank sections. However the in-context option (right click and highlight the search term) works well.
Of course, as with any extension, there's the risk of passing data on searches back - so that's a risk you need to consider. Nevertheless for many searches it may be a boon - especially for areas such as competitive intelligence, etc.
The extension uses links as described by Michael Bazzell - a guru on OSINT searching (and I really recommend his book on the subject). ... See MoreSee Less
Michael Porter - the Competitive Strategy & Intelligence Guru wrote: "Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it's about deliberately choosing to be different."
This article from the London Business School is saying something similar. It looks at a few industries (consulting, hotels and banking).
In the case of the hotel industry, lots of people have commented on how AirBnB is changing the industry. The article doesn't even mention AirBnB. Instead it focuses on the traditional industry and how one company - through clever targeting - shows how being different can succeed. And it is correct! Not everybody will want to stay in an AirBnB. Many want a traditional hotel for multiple reasons - and there is still scope for innovation, even in "old-school" type, low-tech industries.
The examples for banking and consulting are similar. Competitive Strategy is about being different. It doesn't have to mean being technologically different. It just means finding a customer group that you can serve better than anybody else.
Fake news is insidious. It often starts simply - with something small and innocuous. But if the news is convincing enough or spread sufficiently, more and more people believe it until it turns into a full blown conspiracy theory. It then becomes very difficult to disprove - as the numbers of people claiming the item is true make it harder to show the story was false in the first place.
Scott Adams has captured this in this week's Dilbert Cartoons which are worth thinking about.
Boss: Why did you move the server rack? Dilbert: I didn't. Boss: You must be lying because I heard you did. Dilbert: Isn't it more likely you're wrong? Boss: Considering all the options, I like the on...
We've all had the tech-support scam cold-call. Most of us just put the phone down. In this Podcast (with related transcript) journalist Alex Goldman users elicitation, #OSINT research skills, and more to find out one company behind these calls, and uncovers their location, their employees, motivations and more.
It's a great example of how good research (and enough time) can find out about even really hard to find intelligence. ... See MoreSee Less
The Difference Between Open-Minded and Close-Minded People.
Being able to change your mind - even if you don't like the change is crucial to learning. For any research or intelligence role this is essential as new ideas or evidence can mean that strategies need to change.
This is the case even if you instinctively dislike the change. So you need to be able to challenge ideas rather than fight challenging ideas. Ask questions rather than give opinions. Keep quiet and listen. Accept you may be wrong - with a unconditional "Full stop" rather than a conditional "but".
Finally open mindedness requires humility and the willingness to accept multiple ideas.
How to Gather Competitive Intelligence Even if You’re Small or have a tiny budget buff.ly/2x9Fkhu
10 ways you can get information on your competition:
1) Look at competitor websites for a big jumpstart 2) Sign up for Google Alerts for the latest news 3) Read social media feeds and look at their followers and interactions 4) Look at their advertising, which often reveals targeting and positioning 5) Attend conferences and industry events where your competitors are present 6) Sign up for their newsletters and get on their email lists 7) Conduct keyword research to determine their priorities, strengths and weaknesses 8) Ask customers about their experiences with your competition, or create a digital survey to send to your list 9) Call your competitor or their customer service department and ask away 10) If you can swing it, become a customer and get first-hand experience with them
Use these 10 tactics to find competitive weaknesses and gaps. Address target audiences that your competitors are neglecting. Find an angle to paint your business as a superior alternative. Think about alternative pricing models and service delivery. I think the most important is number 8 - ask customers. Numbers 9 and 10 need to be considered carefully as it is essential to remain ethical and NOT to lie about who you are! ... See MoreSee Less