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Focused Vs Unfocused approach for building an Early Warning Process by Alessandro Comai & Joaquín Tena University of Pompeu Fabra

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai, A. & Tena, J.

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Content/Agenda

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Introduction Some definitions Why an Unfocused approach Techniques: Focused Vs Unfocused Conclusion

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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Introduction

We have been working so far on …

…an early warning approach and method for detecting weak signals in an industry or around specific business strategy issues, built around the cause-effect relationship of the actors that play in the competitive landscape.

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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But our model … …embeds only the focused perspective, which may limit the competitive intelligence capability in delivering new insights to decision makers. The model begins identifying the strategic issues of the organization. This is the starting point of our Early Warning model.

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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…we want to explore how an Early Warning system can be established without having identified previously any strategic issues ... … being unfocused, that is.

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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4 types of uncertainties:

A clear-enough Future

Alternative Futures

A range of futures

True Ambiguity

Source: Courtney, et al (1987) Strategy Under Uncertainty. HBR

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - Š Comai & Tena

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Content/Agenda

• • • • •

Introduction Some definitions Why an Unfocused approach Techniques: Focused Vs Unfocused Conclusion

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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Some definitions • Early Warning… is a structured process that analyses the competitive landscape with the purpose of detecting and anticipating strategic surprises as threats and/or opportunities. • Weak Signals … are signs, clues or hints that directly or indirectly indicate a change relevant for a strategic or tactical issue. • Piece of Information… is any fact, news or additional knowledge (we also say “Bits” of information) • System of Relevancies … represents the model or paradigm a management team uses to make its strategic choices. SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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Two views/perspectives for early warning • Focused. The early warning process is based on a specific need. Management has identified a range of strategic issues that does not want to become surprises. (Searching) Spot light

• Un-focused: The early warning process remains open ended, looking for seemingly unconnected pieces of information, that may be related to the decision maker needs or strategic issues. The analyst and the management do not have a precise idea were the changes may come from. (Finding) Bulb light

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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Why an Unfocused approach

The purpose of applying an un-focused Early Warning framework is to gathering pieces/bits of information in order to create a new system of relevancies for the decision maker or modify it according to present and future trends. An un-focused Early Warning process also feeds the system with new information Thus the unfocused model will open the door for unexpected weak signals To cope with this challenge management needs tools and techniques to activate the unfocused early warning process SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - Š Comai & Tena

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Content/Agenda

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Introduction Some definitions Why an Unfocused approach Techniques: Focused Vs Unfocused Examples of applications Conclusion

SCIP 2008 European CI Summit – Rome, October 21 - © Comai & Tena

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Focused versus Unfocused Early Warnings