We will be presenting our upcoming book, “Constructing Cassandra: Reframing intelligence failure at the CIA, 1947-2001” at the 28th Annual Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) International Conference & Exhibition in Orlando (FL), USA. The conference runs from May 6th to 9th.
Big data evidence hiding in plain sight
The rise of big data – the ability to gather massive amounts of information about both environment and operations – rests on the assumption that having more data gives organizations better control and the ability to avoid nasty surprises. It doesn’t. To understand why, consider the Cuba missile crisis that started exactly 50 years ago today.
Read more on our latest Forbes piece here.
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The difficulty of anticipating strategic surprises is often ascribed to a ‘signal-to-noise’ problem, i.e. to the inability to pick up so-called ‘weak signals’ that foretell such surprises. In fact, monitoring of weak signals has become a staple of competitive intelligence. This is all the more so since the development of information technology that allows the accumulation and quasi-automatic processing of massive amount of data. The idea is that the identification of weak signals will enable an organization to detect a problem (or an opportunity) early and, hence, to react more quickly and more appropriately. For instance, a firm can detect a change in attitude of consumer behavior by spending time with the most advanced of them, as Nokia did in the early 1990s, a move that enabled the firm to realize that the mobile phone was becoming a fashion item.