Changing times, changing targetsPosted: May 5, 2015
May 5, 2015
An article in the May 1, 2015 issue of Fortune, “Startups… Inside Giant Companies”, details efforts at huge companies like MasterCard, Coca-Cola, and General Electric to graft the “elixir of creativity” onto their multi-thousand person corporations by authorizing internal small unit “startups”.
Whether that works or not is still up in the air. Some corporate leaders already describe this as an eventuality, and praise it as being able to attract the millennials who would rather work at a startup than in a giant corporation.
For those of us involved in competitive intelligence changes like this, which impact particularly new product development, change the way our CI will have to be conducted.
It is one thing to seek to understand the research and development process, targets, and goals of a public company by analyzing the annual reports, the 10Ks, quarterly reports, public statements by senior management, patent filings, and the profiles of dozens of employees as posted on LinkedIn. It is quite another to have to determine the very existence of a 3 teams, totaling no more than 25 employees sited in 3 countries, inside a company of 100,000 employees, and then to determine not only who is on the team, but what it is likely that they are focusing on and developing.
Here, social media, including both the business ones such as LinkedIn as well as the non-business ones such as Facebook, and YouTube, will come into prominence. When you try to dissect the future business development of major competitors, you can no longer be content in the knowledge that such companies do not change direction quickly. More and more, it will be from the detail, the micro elements, and not the body of past work, and the executives supervising the work today, the macro elements, that actionable CI will be developed.
 Jennifer Alsever, “Startups…Inside Giant Companies”, Fortune, May 1, 2015, 33-36.