Sharp defines competitive intelligence as “the knowledge and foreknowledge about the entire business environment that results in action.” Some of her key points include:
- Competitive intelligence is NOT market research
- Being in business requires constant learning
- The gap between familiar and unfamiliar is yesterday intersecting with tomorrow, and in the middle is change
- Informed risk is a competitive advantage
- Good news is good news
- Bad news may be even better news, if it helps you make a decision and take action
- Change, not competitors, are an indication of opportunity
- Good communications are important to customers in both good times and bad
- Effective communication channels improve performance and customer satisfaction
On the other hand, if this is a topic that interests you, this is a solid book with useful content. Sharp makes a decent argument that change is not a threat, it’s a gift … if you’re prepared and know how to handle it.
The most successful companies in the future may be those who are sufficiently risk-tolerant to take action when only part of the picture or trend is evident. This raises two powerful questions to consider: Does that describe you? Your company?