Competitive Intelligence Consumer Producer

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  • 1. Competitive Intelligence Consumer-Producer Relations 1
  • 2. Intelligence failures “In the best known cases of intelligence failure, the most crucial mistakes have seldom been made by collectors of raw information, occasionally by professionals who produce finished analyses, but most often by the decision makers who consume the products of intelligence services.” 1 BETTS, R.K., 2009. Analysis, war, and decision: Why intelligence failures are inevitable. In: GILL, P., MARRIN, S. and PHYTHIAN, M., eds. Intelligence Theory: Key questions and debates. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 87-111. © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 2
  • 3. Sound familiar? “… the usual response of a policymaker to intelligence with which he [/she] disagrees or which he [/she] finds unpalatable is to ignore it.” Robert M. GATES • US Secretary of Defence • Former US Director of Central Intelligence © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 3
  • 4. The problem of uncertainty “Even [decision-makers] who acknowledge a vital threat intellectually may not be ready to act upon such beliefs at great cost or at high risk.” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States. 2004. The Performance of the Intelligence Community: Staff Statement No. 11. Washington, DC © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 4
  • 5. Intelligence and policy are different “Analysts think analytically of what can go wrong” “Executives tend to think wishfully of what might go right” “WE’VE ESTABLISHED A CLEAR LINK…” TREVERTON, G.F., 2001. Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information. Cambridge University Press © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 5
  • 6. Consumers Vs. Producers “The most serious problem with … intelligence today is that its relationship with the policymaking process is broken and badly needs repair.” PILLAR, P.R., 2006. Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq. Foreign Affairs, 85(2), 15. © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 6
  • 7. © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 7
  • 8. Intelligence pathologies 1. Politicisation The process of manipulating intelligence to reflect policy preferences Largely a function of internal ‘politics’ Affects both strategic and operational planning 2. Frequent neglect of intelligence by executives in the decision-making process 3. Excessive harmony–a dysfunction that occurs when intelligence analysts and/or managers and decision-makers become overly deferential to one another Leads to tunnel vision FOR AN EXPANDED DISCUSSION ON BIASED INTELLIGENCE, SEE: ROVNER, J., 2009. Politically-Biased Intelligence: Causes and Consequences. Paper presented at the International Studies Association 50th ANNUAL CONVENTION "EXPLORING THE PAST, ANTICIPATING THE FUTURE", New York Marriott Marquis, NEW YORK CITY, 15 Feb 2009 © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 8
  • 9. Key issues Balancing objectivity with intelligence utility Intelligence production should be driven by the decision-making process CI practitioners should clearly understand the action agendas of their core clientele Serving as servants Objective professionalism involves adhering to a self-imposed injunction against the unsolicited tendering of policy advice CI exists to provide a service as defined by company decision-makers and to focus its attention on areas selected for it by those masters, not on other areas it might find of independent interest Overcoming ‘cultural’ differences, or “tribal tensions” Executives value intelligence on the basis of brevity, timeliness, and relevance, in that order – Is this what you’re delivering? Intelligence producers tend to reverse those priorities – whereas decision- makers are driven by current needs, intelligence analysts are thinking and planning for the long term Adapted from: KOO, G.J., 1997. ‘Producer-Consumer Relations’. In: A Perspective on Intelligence Reform from Outside the Beltway: The Final Report of the Snyder Commission. Princeton, NJ: The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 9
  • 10. But beware! The CI process can be undermined both when analysts are too close in their ties to ‘consumers’ (inadequate independence) as well as when they are too distant (inadequate guidance) © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 10
  • 11. Intelligence analysts are deemed most useful when they ... Clarify what is known by laying out the evidence and pointing to cause- and-effect patterns Carefully structure assumptions and argumentation about what is unknown and unknowable Bring expertise to bear for planning and action on important long-shot threats and opportunities Dr. Paul D. WOLFOWITZ, former: • President of the World Bank • US Deputy Secretary of Defense © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 11
  • 12. In short The job of intelligence analysts is to provide direct support to decision- makers’ efforts to define and defend the objectives, strategies, operations, and security interests of the firm They accomplish this by telling decision-makers what they KNOW, what they DON’T KNOW, what they THINK, and WHY © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 12
  • 13. Consumer-Producer relations Is the glue which pulls together the Intelligence Cycle © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 13
  • 14. What’s the problem? Decision-makers Intelligence analysts Enjoy possessing and using power Tend to distrust power, and those Generally prefer to make hard who enjoy exercising it decisions quickly–active rather Tendency toward extensive than contemplative examination of issues View the world has highly Essentially objective–rewarded for personalised–anything that identifying problems and obstacles impedes their preferred actions Have greater latitude to be seen as amounts to personal attack ‘wrong’, usually without risking Do not like to be seen as wrong self-esteem Seek consistency, simplicity, and Have the potential to disrupt stability in their external decision-makers’ lives environments © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 14
  • 15. Lyndon Baines Johnson “… simply could not tolerate the thought of being the President who presided over the first military defeat in American history.” Thus “the President did not explore the likely consequences of an unfavourable end to the war in Vietnam even when they were presented to him as a reasonable gamble.” HELMS, R., 2003. A Look over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency. New York, NY: Random House © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 15
  • 16. CI and decision making Why do many decision-makers not make good use of intelligence? They’re not interested in anyone else’s input Some executives want only supportive input, and shut out all contrary views Some decision-makers prefer ‘crisis management’, in which events make their “decisions” for them Many managers do not understand what intelligence can and cannot do, or how it works © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 16
  • 17. The role of the intelligence ‘consumer’ Explicitly articulate decision challenges/intelligence requirements What do you really need? Why? What impact will the intelligence have if you receive it? Be willing to face the facts, and act on them Refrain from dictating the ‘line of march’ that the analysis should take Understand what CI can and cannot deliver Provide feedback to the intelligence team Suspend your ego © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 17
  • 18. The role of the intelligence analyst Keep senior management “well enough informed to make sound decisions and avoid catastrophic mistakes” 1 Speak up when assumptions and information that form parts of management dialogue are at odds with the facts as you them Lay out options, not policy recommendations 1 HELMS, R., 2003. A Look over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency. New York, NY: Random House © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 18
  • 19. For CI to be effective it must make a material difference to its consumers This involves … Causing decision-makers to change policy or course of action Enabling different or better implementation of a chosen policy or course of action Playing a central role in the strategy and other key decision-making processes of the firm Helping company executives to force rivals to change their policy or course of action Enhancing the effects of chosen policy, or diminishing the adverse effects of competitor actions © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 19
  • 20. The big question for CI analysts Does the intelligence you deliver cause management to ‘think the unthinkable’? © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 20
  • 21. In conclusion CI analysts are in the business of forecasting, not predicting “Prediction is concerned with future certainty” 1 “Forecasting looks at how hidden currents in the present signal possible changes in direction for companies, societies, or the world at large” 2 The focus of CI must be on ‘what the product does’ rather than ‘what the product’ is CI departments should concentrate their limited resources on the kinds of collection (e.g. HUMINT) and analysis where they have a clear comparative advantage over traditional information streams and sources Without routine involvement on the part of management CI programmes have little chance of achieving success – ongoing dialogue between intelligence staff and decision-makers is essential 1 SAFFO, P., 2007. Six Rules for Effective Forecasting. Harvard Business Review, 85(7/8), 122-131 2 Ibid. © 2010 Douglas C. Bernhardt 21