What’s the rush?Posted: November 5, 2014
November 5, 2014
Yesterday’s US elections brought to mind an issue which is somewhat common in competitive intelligence. That is the issue of timing.
What I mean by that? Well, look at the reporting about the election. Every network, every website, and every commentator rushes to “call” the results of elections before their competition does and to get out their “analysis” even when there is little or nothing to analyze, or worse, when their analysis will probably be wrong. That is because news organizations put a premium on being first rather than on being the most accurate.
There is a similar problem in competitive intelligence. Whether you are collecting and developing CI for yourself or for others, timing is always an issue. By this time, you are probably familiar with the adage that
“Time is of the essence in intelligence, while it is usually a side issue in scholarly research.”
That is, get it in when people can use it, rather than wait to make it perfect. But there is a flip side to this. The flip side is “What is your hurry?”
In other words, whether you are in a rush to develop intelligence or someone else in your enterprise is putting a rush on getting CI on a competitor, step back for second. Assess whether or not you are compromising accuracy/completeness for speed. Now, that is a compromise which sometimes has to be made. But be honest. Is it really necessary now? Is the decision you have to make or the action at someone else has to take so time sensitive critical that you/he/she/they cannot wait one or two hours, days, or even weeks, for you to develop superior intelligence to support a superior action or decision? Where you can, take the time to do it right.
 Washington Platt, Strategic Intelligence Production: Basic Principles, Frederick A. Praeger, New York, 1957, p. 35.