New Book Explores the Human Side of CI

A cheesehead, a gearhead and a Canadian walked into a bar . . .

No, this isn’t the set-up for a questionable joke, but there is a punchline—we’ve compiled a new book on competitive intelligence.

Here’s the backstory: After a Competitive Intelligence Fellows meeting, the cheesehead (Alysse Nockels), the neighbour from up north (Zena Applebaum), and your resident auto enthusiast (Phil Britton) were having drinks while waiting for a flight. We asked ourselves, “Where’s the book on how to actually be a competitive intelligence professional and add value? How do you measure success? How do you not get fired? How do you actually DO this job?”

Each of us has shelves full of wonderful books about intelligence, written by people smarter than we are. Many were penned by our friends, mentors, and colleagues, some of whom are legends in the CI field. They are great books, and they should be required reading for any information management or competitive intelligence professional. However, the bulk of these volumes are heavy on theory; they offer theoretical approaches to hypothetical problems.

Our intent was not to compete with or replace those books, but to provide another perspective. We figured there was white space for the human element and a more tactical approach to competitive intelligence. We envisioned a book about the practicalities, the daily minutiae, the how-to of actually doing the job. We wanted to bridge the gap between theory and practice and help others apply the theoretical in a way that makes an impact.

That’s what you’ll find in our new book, A Practical Guide to Competitive Intelligence. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the chapters:

How to survive as a “non”: Lessons learned while not being a lawyer in a law firm. This chapter is also great for those of us who aren’t engineers, salespeople, scientists, programmers, clergy, or NBA head coaches (among myriad other occupations).

Building a team using personality types: Not everyone gets to be an astronaut, and not all of the Looney Tunes you work with are Daffy Duck or Porky Pig. Figuratively, that is.

Missing signals: A frank look at what happens when you open up the news one day and say “oops.”

The accidental tourist: Did you randomly fall into competitive intelligence? Did your career path take an odd, unplanned turn somewhere? Well, pull up a chair, you’re among friends.

Adding the customer’s voice: Spoiler alert—competitive intelligence doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Learn how to incorporate insights from other teams around you to help you tell a better story.

Storytelling in CI: Speaking of storytelling, learn how to be more like a kid to tell a more compelling story to your stakeholders. (You don’t need to know how to bake a cake for this chapter to make sense, but it helps.)

How to build reports for maximum impact: If you think the only way to communicate findings is with an 80-page slide deck, we’ve got news for you.

How to use a librarian’s education: Did you really think the Special Libraries Association would allow us to publish a book without consulting an actual librarian?

That’s just about half of what you’ll find in this book. Each chapter takes a different tack on competitive intelligence, but all of them have a common purpose—to put the humans who create, analyze and consume intelligence at the forefront. This book is, first and foremost, a collection of human stories that can help information and knowledge management folks of all stripes become more effective, and more human, as they ply their craft.

Each chapter was written by an author or authors with passion as well as expertise. Their stories were founded in real-world experience, and we could not have put this book together without them. For their stories, their commitment to their craft, and their willingness to share and for that, we thank them. We would also like to thank the Special Libraries Association for helping us get this somewhat unusual book into the hands of folks who can make use of it.

A cheesehead, a gearhead and a Canadian walked into a bar, but this book is no joke. We hope you will find at least one chapter that speaks to you and helps you through your daily CI journey.

— Phil Britton, Alysse Nockels, and Zena Applebaum

Ordering Information
Click here to pre-purchase a printed, soft-cover copy. If you would prefer an e-reader version, send an e-mail to stuart.hales@sla.org. Publication of an e-book will depend on whether sufficient interest exists to justify production costs.

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