Return of the Expanding Bookshelf Part 3:

Authored bycascade

Four Voices That Aren’t Right Under Your Nose

Despite one’s best efforts, it is part of the human condition to become complacent with familiar tools, techniques, and perspectives. It is worthwhile for anyone to shake things up a little with a fresh perspective from outside the everyday, and that is especially true for competitive intelligence professionals, who depend on being able to see through the clutter. The following books can help you do just that:

  1. Investigative Reporter’s Handbook (B Houston) illuminates some proven journalistic approaches to uncover facts that otherwise would hide below the surface. Investigative reporting is a mature field, with methods and techniques that are directly applicable to competitive intelligence practitioners. Particular attention is given in this book to mining open source intelligence from public information sources.
  2. Certain to Win (C Richards) applies the OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, and act) concept developed by military strategist John Boyd to business. In this model drawn from strategic combat operations, the goal of the competitive intelligence professional is to penetrate the recurring series of intertwined OODA loops that constitutes an adversary’s decision cycle, which allows one to gain the competitive upper hand.
  3. Reverse Innovation (V Govindarajan et. al.) posits that competitive strategy should be driven in large part by the fact that innovation no longer travels on a one-way trajectory from its initiation in the “first world” into developing nations. The book offers techniques for adjusting competitive strategy to account for technological and other innovation that may originate from anywhere in the world.
  4. The Wide Lens (R Adner) draws attention to the dangers of a competitive intelligence organization placing too much of its attention inward to its own company for the business insights that drive competitive strategy. To avoid the traps associated with that orientation, the book provides a lot of good content about ways to analyze factors such as co-innovation and adoption chains, drawing attention to the broader ecosystem.

This is the third entry in a set of three that recommends books to help competitive intelligence practitioners hone their craft. The first part of the series, “Three Sources for Toolsets on Your Utility Belt,” suggests places to look that can add resources to complement your everyday mainstays. The second entry, “Four Ways to Go Beyond the Five Forces,” lists some titles that can make it easier to get your arms around the main work of Michael Porter.

By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart

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