Competitive Intelligence Strategic Foresight
|Member Intel Q&A - Jonathan Calof|
Dr. Calof is recognized as one of the leaders in intelligence and foresight. A professor of International Business and Strategy at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Calof combines research and consulting in competitive intelligence, technical foresight and business analytics to help organizations develop key insights on their competitive environment. We recently spoke with Jonathan about the moment he discovered competitive intelligence really was a field, the importance of putting the customer at the center of your intelligence strategy, and why, when in doubt, we should just "ask Lois".
Members - click here to read Jonathan's latest article for SCIP, Working with Friendlies at Trade Shows – Broadening your Event Intelligence Reach.
I am a professor at the University of Ottawa where I specialize in strategy and competitive intelligence. Not only do I get to mold young (and not so young) minds, each year I get to take a group of executive MBA students on an international competitive intelligence related project that results in significant business opportunities generated for several Canadian companies. I also have honorary positions around the world that give me the joy to work with wonderful students and colleagues in many places. Spreading CI to students and organizations around the world is my passion.
What was the reason that you got into intelligence?
I'd like to say that intelligence got me into intelligence but unfortunately, that is not the case! I had been doing a lot of work on how companies make their international decisions and was asked to develop a seminar around the information needs of Canadian companies for the Canadian diplomatic service, Foreign Affairs Canada. While I was developing the seminar, one of the Department officials said "You're really teaching them about and doing research in competitive intelligence." I had the normal knee jerk reaction and said, “No, I'm not teaching them to spy. I'm teaching them about figuring out what information is needed and how to get it”. The official then handed me Leonard Fuld’s book on competitive intelligence and told me to read it. After reading it I went "Holy crap, THIS is competitive intelligence, and I've been doing this all along!" The book and then subsequent material about CI showed me that while I was not doing a bad job on “competitive intelligence”, there was a formal field about it and materials that would help me do it a lot better. That was in 1992 and after that not only did I read a lot more about it but was so committed that I participated in the opening of many SCIP chapters around the world.
What's been the best piece of career advice that you've received?
What's a business or academic book you recommend?
Competitive intelligence, while important, is just one piece of the puzzle. What advice do you have for taking a more holistic, expansive view of intelligence?
How do you see CI evolving over the next 5 years? What skills will be important?
What's a productivity tip or lifehack that you use often?
How has SCIP helped your career?
One of greatest values of SCIP is the power of our member community. The experience, knowledge, and intellect of our members are unparalleled. To build off these strengths, SCIP is launching a program to highlight our members and the great work that they do. Are you interested in sharing your story? Please contact us to nominate yourself or a colleague.