What drives the seeming relentless desire for innovation? Is it the desire for wealth, the desire for acknowlegment, the desire for power?
We have published articles stating that most companies have little or no desire to innovate, seeking rather to concentrate resources on yesterdays feature set and yesterdays business practices.
Competitive intelligence to them is more about utilising knowledge sourced from the past or in the here and now to try to predict future moves. To achieve this the analyst must develop a clear perspective on the identity of the company-self and a clear identity of the competition and customer relationships, in order to arrive at intelligence resources that support justified decision making in the here and now - for the future.
This approach is entirely opposite to that of competitive innovators, in that the innovator may develop an appreciation of the fixed reference perspective of the CI analyst, but in practice does not seek to skew analysis first toward justification, rather the innovator asks, without any restraint - "what would empower my company and what would blow my competitors out of the water?". Once the innovator arrives at the "what", they then seek to justify the "what". As opposed to the competitive intelligence analyst, who base futures on known, justifiable, quantifiable, qualitative assessment evidence, based on historical data and data in the here and now.
In essence, the "Competitive Intelligence Analyst" is driven by their desire to understand todays and yesterdays identity in order to visualise the future identity of the marketplace and dynamics. The "Competitive Innovation Analyst" is driven by their desire to invalidate the identity of competitors and to reshape the identity of the company they serve into the dominant player in the marketplace. In order to begin to achieve this the innovator much project a vision of how the scene should look to achieve an impact and then retrofit, credible, justifiable strategies to achieve this vision.
So the CI analyst projects futures on the basis of "known identities" (which he justifies against evidential data) and the innovator projects futures on the basis of "unknown identities" (which it can justify by offering influential strategies to turn "unknown identities" into very desirable "known identities" in the future). What drives innovation is the refusal to accept the world as it is - rather preferring to draw the world as it should be. It is this desire that is at the heart of the innovator.
Whilst different things drive them - both have a part to play in any serious competitive intelligence focused environment.
At BKR we believe that 'competitive innovation' is a much more motivating and lucrative device for business, likening 'competitive intelligence' to an essential 'administrative function', but one that rarely results in setting the markets alight.
So we say to students:: choose your CI path carefully. Are you an administrator or innovator?