I’m in Milwaukee this evening to give a talk on principles of Intelligence 2.0 for understanding innovation dynamics and anticipating industry change. I thought everybody would like to see the slide deck in advance or in case you can’t join us in person – feel free to share with anybody. Enjoy and please let me know if you have any questions; in case you can join us after all, please see details at the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals website to get registered. I’m looking forward to the other presenter as well – Kevin Burgess will speak on Vision, Development Process and Strategy at Fly Boy Carnival – sounds like fun.
My good friend, Dr. Qihao Miao, as conference chair, opened with remarks about how the conference looks very promising and introduced Mr. Joe Goldberg, SCIP President, to keynote the conference. Joe gave the usual glad-handing and greetings from the board and so on, then got to the new international strategy of “One SCIP” and how that applies to China. Here’s my synopsis of his remarks:
The critical issue facing intelligence professionals today is SPEED. The time to make an impact is narrowing between the production and processing of CI and the ability to have an influence on the course of the enterprise. The “Time Between Surprises” is now shorter than the it takes to make decisions – this novel idea of metrics between the quarterly pressure of investor results and the fear of being surprised in a global environment make 5-year, 3-year or 18-month visions obsolete; today, intelligence foresight is defined by weeks.
During the current environment and financial climate, things like wargames and scenarios and benchmarking are far less influential; instead the focus has moved to shorter-term insights and the ability to navigate and maneuver more immediately – the luxury of long-range planning is no longer as relevant – this is Joe’s fundamental critique and recommendation for improvement. (Great observations, by the way – this is one of the best speeches on the topic I’ve heard in a long time!)
Synthesis alone is insufficient as the means by which to add value through CI – the ability to offer alternatives and recommendations for courses of action is more relevant as the requirement for speed shifts the core value for intelligence from analysis toward timeliness. Our work will have maximum value only if it can avoid the element of surprise for leaders and policy makers.
Speed is also the single key stressor in the practice of CI and may strain our objectivity and cause us to ignore the standards by which we conduct CI. Simplicity is the antidote – what are the best products, how do we deliver them, are we structured properly? These are the key questions CI must grapple with – not the more complicated, labor-intensive “insights” – complexity is the enemy of speed. (Dang, was that your own quote Joe? That’s going in my next newsletter.)
The ultimate role of intelligence then is to provide wisdom – speed makes it difficult but that doesn’t make it any less necessary.
The basic usability of our materials simply isn’t good enough and needs a tremendous amount of improvement by everyone involved – it is not as actionable when communicated poorly – but improving the quality and accuracy of intelligence products will make an immediate impact on the use and application of intelligence in the modern business enterprise. We must make our intelligence “effortless” to read, understand and take action on.
The “intelligence mosaic” is what makes up our intelligence consumers’ environment of awareness – inputs come loosely and disconnected from everywhere – family, the media, friends, colleagues and we must as intelligence professionals augment this and help it make sense to them when decisions are on the line. Information might flow freely but intelligence context is hidden within this information mosaic – end-users think of us as only one source in this mosaic and processes their decisions differently. Joe’s office refers to their habit of being “constructively annoying” – fighting through the fog of the info glut to have an impact alongside all the other sources end-users use to deploy intelligence findings in their work.
How do these observations impact business in an era of financial crisis such as today? Intelligence will either be cut, or worse, ignored. Intelligence will be tasked with evaluating the real-time issues of business – financial analysis on suppliers, customers, VC investments and other forces will help demonstrate intelligence value to users.
These are the realities of today – SPEED, TIMELINESS, SIMPLICITY – and there will always be a place for insight and analysis and the realities will cycle back, but in the meantime, we must adapt of be made irrelevant. Joe has confidence in our abilities to help decision makers meet their challenges.
I had the first question – woot: “So we must be more tactical with the understanding that strategic deliverables simply must wait. But HOW do we do that? What specifically are YOU doing to get that done day-to-day?”
Here’s Joe’s GREAT answer to my hardball question:
None of the products they produce are longer than one page – and must be immediate in their scope and important to getting the job done THAT WEEK – really no farther out than that. The heresies of the short term be damned (I’m paraphrasing) – that’s what they really need now but still trying to decide how to keep the longer-term topics that are so important in the mix – “cash” being king, that might be it – but the important thing is not how long but what is the topic. The selective hearing about the long-range issues dictates that decision-makers just won’t listen to stuff longer than one page.
Dr. Tao Jin from LSU was next with a question on the current financial crisis – “Was the current credit crisis a failure of intelligence?”
Answer: Not in his opinion as intelligence practitioners cannot get absorbed in something so overly broad as the international financial system.
Question: “What does Joe do now to adapt to the changing circumstances?”
Answer: Are we adding value? If we have an idea, we get together as a group and one person would write it up, the rest would review it and then put it out. It used to be they generated 70 percent of the topics they wrote about; today, they are responding almost 100 percent to things top management are looking for RIGHT NOW!
Kent Potter takes the stage. Topic is the Implications of Financial Crisis to Chinese Companies Interested in Doing Business in the U.S. At the moment, we have a “firesale” on U.S. assets – China lacks the brand-value of American companies but has the capital and reasons ($1.6 trillion reasons) to acquire those turnkey assets cheaply. But there is a backlash in the form of protectionism against countries like China and on the global integration of world markets. Kent believes that good CI can help even there – who are the people building this lobby against free markets. CI can help put their best case forward.
The key point of the whole talk is that BRAND is almost never a key reason for an M&A deal but should be particularly for the Chinese. Then went into the classical steps for a successful merger or acquisition, but a key piece is missing: organizational culture. The reason most M&A deals fail is because of culture – how does the other company operate and make choices versus that of the other company on the other half of the deal?
DaimlerChrysler is used as the example: Kent had a client there so he knows them well, but almost all of the trouble they had in the integration and ultimate failure of the integration was due to the culture clash between the Germans and the Americans. Hewlett-Packard (another client of Kent’s) bought Compaq and only recently was able to turn the buyout around and make it successful at the expense of a lot of pain and lost market share. References the speed problem Joe focused on and said that being in too big a hurry is the root cause of many of the culture problems that cause the deal to fail.
Solution to all this is the ability to integrate the decision making styles of executive management, which will facilitate the success in the other areas of potential risk or trouble. Likewise, understanding the probable reaction of surrounding companies, markets and other forces to the tie-up transaction must be considered before the deal is done.
Because either lawyers or accountants are involved in the evaluation due diligence, a problem arises: paraphrasing Drucker – the inside of a company consists of only costs, the opportunity to make money only exists outside and therefore the big upside opportunity is lost when the external view is lost.
Question: Is it more difficult for a U.S. company to acquire in China or for a Chinese company to acquire an American one?
Answer: (A little impolitic since it’s basically illegal in China for U.S. companies to buy Chinese ones…) Kent focused on the Chinese acquisition of U.S. companies (since there’s no answer the other direction) it’s fairly easy for a non-strategic U.S. asset to be acquired by a Chinese company, but strategic ones will get lots of Capitol Hill oversight and potential interference (ref, CNOOC and Chevron).
Kelvin Zhang was all in Mandarin but the slides looked interesting… nonetheless, definite language barrier – I didn’t really get any of it.
Panel Discussion with the following speakers from today – (did I mention I was in the front row?)
Holger was first to talk about the life sciences industry, his focus, and answered Qihao Miao’s question about how CI can help during an economic downturn – Joe asked about the time horizon in life sciences being years, rather than months… comments in response to these questions was centered on staying nimble as a CI team and dealing with the trends in the industry – that outsourcing has risen up to make pharma/biotech companies more flexible. Miao asked about the influence on R&D pipeline because of the absence of P/E ratio measurements due to the pipeline – Holger replied that pipeline was the key issue with the ability to project their decline as generics start to eat away at the indication. Prices are making money tighter and CI becomes very important to understand where competitors are at in development when moving from Phase II to Phase III. Holger used to work for Bayer for 20 years and was asked about his thoughts in response to what the company needs to do today.
Joe Goldberg addressed Miao’s message by responding that it was all about value and everything they write gets circulated in order to have a “seat at the table” – except that table of top management is a pretty nasty place to be… in response to the whole strategy admonition… intelligence people are relevant if they’re doing relevant things for their company, not if they’re “being strategic”. Joe emphasizes that it’s not about writing the best product or looking smart or fancy – it’s about value – helping the company make money while he delights his customer. You don’t need to be at the CEO’s office, though Joe’s group has been since the beginning – but trying to obtain that level of influence often gets in the way of producing value – and eventually the boss starts to ask “what do you exactly do again?” which is a REALLY bad question to have asked.
Question about ROI and how to measure value – Kent took over – during a downturn as the shift goes toward tactical rather than strategic questions – it’s easier to measure impact on the tactical results – Joe grabbed it back and said, the reason he went door to door to ask users questions is because he has no other feedback mechanism.
Tactical versus strategic is really emerging as the topic of the day here…
Tao Jin (CI professor I had dinner with last night from LSU in Baton Rouge) asked about quantitative ways to measure value – Joe says is really a lot softer than that – a qualitative response is the best he has – are his users satisfied. The real quantitative value is “what would you have spent to obtain that piece of intelligence” and that’s the value – however, if they zero, then you’re in trouble.
Kelvin Zhang took over answering the question… but in Chinese… alas, my Mandarin is about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. Sorry. Mr. Miao said that he commented on how during the downturn it’s sometimes a good time to skill up their CI group. Sounds good to me..
Question about counter-intelligence – Joe says there’s a need to create awareness throughout the company, but that the electronic authenticity of sources is a big issue and the frontier of the future.
Kent jumped in and talked about two changes – what practitioners are doing must shift from the protective and defensive (competitor-focused) rather than winning the company money – sales driven exercises, for example. The need to partner with marketing and sales people – he mentioned Miller-Heiman decision mapping for sales processes – and CI people. The other change is in the government’s role – for the first time in Kent’s knowledge, since the USA has taken on substantial capital assets and around the world central governments have become owners of businesses in a big way – perhaps, there will be a reversal of the poisonous issues of economic policy being connected with economic intelligence. (ed: Quite a shift!)
Question about CI software – in Chinese, awaiting translation… what kind of software does Joe use at Motorola?Nothing – Word and their brains. What separates intelligence people from everyone else is our passionate curiosity – by reading something and being immediately unsatisfied by what is read and compelling that person to learn what’s behind the story. The critical skill is, communicating – and being able to be concise, a better writer, succinct and clearly explain a complex topic in a very simple way.
I tossed out the “Made to Stick” book which grabbed Joe and he launched into the principles (we’d just been chatting this morning about how much he loved the book) and that was it – Obama as the example – “Change we can believe in” and “yes we can” – these simple ideas that people just get and get behind.
Tao Jin gave many comments about “human factors” – again in Chinese, but I think I’m starting to get better at picking out a few key words – anyhow, supporting Joe’s earlier comments, it’s not about software or technology but about people and how they react to ideas and information. Whoa – I heard “John Prescott” and “APQC”!
So, time’s up, break for lunch… good stuff and had a nice follow up with Joe and a few others on his thoughts from this morning.
After lunch, they made half an hour for a little rest and then started back up around 2:00 – I sat in on the English language classroom – there was an all Chinese down the hall – and Holger Meissner was first from Adler, then Keith Ruark from AVOS – both focused on healthcare, pharma, biotech and life sciences – pretty interesting overall but I didn’t blog it directly – mostly about how healthcare is reinventing itself and how CI is done or should be done. Then, stayed for the English language panel on the changing world of CI. Here’s the rundown from the CI China website:
Interactive Roundtable Sessions:
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
Building World Class Business & Competitive Intelligence in China Holger Meissner ADLER-LS President, Former Head of Global Competitive Intelligence with Bayer HealthCare LLC.
Building CI system for Chinese Fortune 500 Company Biaofeng Chen China famous CI expert Former scout of Shanghai Municipal Police Station
5 min for comment presentation by session chair 10 min for Q&A for audience
3:00 PM-4:00 PM
The Pharma CI using in USA Keith Ruark Global CI Expert AVOS Life Sciences Founder Partner Keith has 14+ years experience in the healthcare industry
The 10 Steps to Selecting the Right CI Software for china user Lily Liu China CI Expert 20 years IT working experience. Former market promotion director of Autonomy More consulting experience for CI system
5 min for comment presentation by session chair 10 min for Q&A for audience
The Changing World of CI
Kent Potter Kelvin Zhang
Keith Ruark Holger Meissner
Is there any difference Between CI professionals work in reality:across Canada and China Tao Jin Qihao Miao Biaofeng Chen Benjamin Feng CHEN Lily Liu
Exhibition for trade visitors:
All of CI experts Solve Day-to-Day Problems for audiences
Exhibition for trade visitors Networking & Consulting in Exhibition Hall
Ken Garrison (SCIP Executive Director) introduced Joe Goldberg (SCIP President) for opening remarks. Joe commented on how sure he was it would be a success since he had nothing to do with it. Joe recognized Milena Motta (Conference Chair) and her program committee for their work on the conference agenda as well as SCIP staff and the vendors who were sponsoring and exhibiting… here’s the list:
Fuld & Company
Global Intelligence Alliance
Institute for Competitive Intelligence
AIM Strategic Management Ltd.
I.S.I.S.: Integrated Strategic Information Services, Inc.
Strategy Software Inc.
Finally, Joe thanked all the attendees and volunteers as well for their work and engagement. Joe then presented the SCIP strategic plan. First and foremost – Certification – the core “nugget” as Joe called it of the strategic plan going forward. Time horizon is 2009 to 2013.
Next, Joe introduced the slate of candidates for the three open seats that will be available on the online ballot for election – October 27th thru November 7th. Also, Eduardo Florez-Bermudez was elected Vice President of the SCIP Board of Directors! Huzzah all ye committed volunteers.
Milena Motta took the dais next and made her introductory comments and housekeeping before introducing…
After graduating in Pure Chemistry in 1981 at the University of Perugia where she obtained top marks, she then attended the school of Business Administration at the Milan Bocconi University.
Initially Project Leader at Montedison for the Strategic Composite Materials Project, then Project Manager for “Biodegradable Materials from Renewable Sources” at the Ferruzzi Research and Technology Center, Ms Bastioli entered Novamont in 1991 as a Director, becoming Technical Director in 1993, and then Managing Director in 1996. Today she is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Catia Bastioli sits on various prestigious committees and associations such as ERRMA (European Renewable Resources & Materials Association), ECCP (European Climate Change Program), she is a member of the Board Directory of PlasticsEurope and AGRINNOVA (Center of Competence on Agro-food Innovation). She was recently elected President of Assoscai, Italy’s Association for the Environmental Sustainability and Competitiveness of Enterprises. Since 2004 she has been a lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmacy/Biotechnology, at the “Amedeo Avogadro” University of Eastern Piedmont. Author of more than 100 papers on various scientific and industrial subjects published in International Journals, she has also contributed to international reports dealing with renewable materials on behalf of leading institutional organizations.
She is the author of the “Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers”, published by Rapra Technology Limited in 2005.
Ms Bastioli is the inventor of more than 70 patents and patent applications in the sectors of synthetic and natural polymers. The patents in the sector of starch-based materials are a significant part of the Novamont patent portfolio. Catia Bastioli has won numerous international awards for her discoveries in the field of starch-based biodegradable materials; one of them, on April 18, she has been nominated for the “European Inventor of the Year 2007” for her patents filed in the years 1992-2001.
On July 4, 2008, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural and Physical Sciences of the University of Genoa granted her an ‘Onoris Causa’ degree in Industrial Chemistry.
Ms. Bastioli focused her remarks on the need for finding new orders of development as the great challenge of the future – how to create a systems-based economy as a transition from our product-based economy.
The recipient of the first Bioplastics Award for Personal Contribution to the Bioplastics Industry – Catia Bastioli – has spent more than 15 years working to develop both bioplastics materials and end-use markets.
Bastioli is an internationally recognised expert on all aspects of bioplastics, has filed more than 50 patents covering synthetic and natural polymers, written close to 100 scientific papers, and has edited several definitive publications about bioplastics.
She is the leader of a dedicated team of researchers and marketing specialists and has worked hard to develop not only the materials, but also the structures that will eventually lead to a sustainable bioplastic economy.
The latest – and perhaps the biggest – step in that direction was taken earlier in 2006, when Bastioli launched her vision of the bio-refinery. This ground-breaking project aims to bring together an integrated network of agricultural producers to create a machine for bioplastics production.
I found some awesome graphic representations of Novamont’s products too:
Here’s a more specific description of why their biodegradeable plastics are so cool:
Poly(lactide-co-glycolide). Using the polyglycolide and poly(l-lactide) properties as a starting point, it is possible to copolymerize the two monomers to extend the range of homopolymer properties. Copolymers of glycolide with both l-lactide and dl-lactide have been developed for both device and drug delivery applications. It is important to note that there is not a linear relationship between the copolymer composition and the mechanical and degradation properties of the materials. For example, a copolymer of 50% glycolide and 50% dl-lactide degrades faster than either homopolymer Copolymers of l-lactide with 25-70% glycolide are amorphous due to the disruption of the regularity of the polymer chain by the other monomer. A copolymer of 90% glycolide and 10% l-lactide was developed by Ethicon as an absorbable suture material under the trade name Vicryl. It absorbs within 3-4 months but has a slightly longer strength-retention time.
Another excerpt on the systems-centric consequences of the bioplastics innovation Novamont is engaged in from a 2006 research report:
Biodegradability and compostability
Certain blends of polyethylene and starch can be degraded by physical agents (such as light). Indeed, a type of polyethylene is being marketed that includes a catalyst prompting the polymer’s thermal degradation. Nevertheless, biodegradation is quite another thing .
ASTM standard D-5488-94d defines biodegradable as “capable of undergoing decomposition into carbon dioxide, methane, water, inorganic compounds, or biomass in which the predominant mechanisms is the enzymatic action of micro-organisms, that can be measured by standard tests, in a specified period of time, reflecting available disposal conditions”.
Composting is an accelerated biological decay process viewed by many to be a potential solution to the solid-waste management crisis existing in many parts of the world. Compostable is defined as “capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available program, such that the material is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganics and biomass, at a rate consistent with known compostable materials.”
Management of solid waste should include a critical understanding of the fate of synthetic polymers which may be disposed as solid waste in municipal landfills. Research, marketing and regulatory reviews of degradable polymers should take into account the characteristics of true landfills-not just lab tests of degradation.
To meet the compostability requirement, all of the blend components have to fully biodegrade under composting conditions and within the timeframe of the composting process. Draft national and European test standards for measuring biodegradability under composting conditions are currently under development. The key issue is whether the biodegradation material (ie the residue left by biodegradation) is harmful to the environment. Testing the amount of mineralization alone does not take into account the nature of the residue left. Furthermore, biodegradation of blends of non-degradable synthetic polymers and starches, which can actually ‘biodisintegrate’, is doubtful.
Germany is dealing with the issue of plant health in its biodegradability/composting standards; ‘a product must be fully biodegradable under composting conditions and the compost material cannot be phytotoxic or ecotoxic it will support plant and microbial activity. In fact, the assumption that using natural ingredients always leads to harmless products is not true. Most important is the final destination of the biodegradable material.
One issue to be addressed is if current laboratory tests accurately reflect the biodegradability of a material in an real compost pile. The environments in which biodegradation takes place differ widely in terms of microbial composition, pH, temperature and moisture and they are not readily reproduced in the laboratory. Another issue for standards development is balancing the need for shelf life with the demand for rapid degradability. The development of more sophisticated distribution systems so as to avoid products sitting in warehouses, and the creation of more composting facilities directly related to the disposal or these products would be needed. In Japan, the Biodegradable Plastics society (BPS) has proposed a standard for degradability that has been accepted there and is being considered by the International Standards Organization.
The OK Compost Conformity Mark is awarded jointly by the international quality inspection bureau A.I.B.-Vinçotte Inter and Organic Waste System, a research institute in the field of biodegradability. Manufacturers can use this label on their material as a proof that it passes the biodegradability test and is appropriate to compost. So far, no internationally adopted standard laboratory method exists for investigating aerobic biodegradability in a composting environment.
Acceptance of biodegradable polymers is likely to depend on four unknowns: (1) customer response to costs that today are generally 2 to 4 times higher than for conventional polymers; (2) possible legislation (particularly concerning water-soluble polymers); (3) the achievement of total biodegradability; and (4) the development of an infrastructure to collect, accept, and process biodegradable polymers as a generally available option for waste disposal.
In a social context biodegradable plastics call for a re-examination of life-styles. They will require separate collection, involvement of the general public, greater community responsibility in installing recycling systems, etc. On the question of cost, awareness may often be lacking of the significance of both disposal and the environmental costs which are to be added to the processing cost.
Biodegradability is tied to a specific environment. For instance, the usual biodegradation time requirement for bioplastic to be composted is 1 to 6 months. In Europe, composting is on the increase, and the percentage of population with composting facilities available for their rubbish stands at about 80% in the Netherlands, 40% in Germany, and 30% in Belgium. Adequate regulation is still lacking however, and complaints have already appeared, for example in the Netherlands, where citizens must pay the same tax for plastics that go to composting as for those that go to incineration.
The development of starch-based biodegradable plastics looks very promising given the fact that starch is inexpensive, available annually, biodegradable in several environments and incinerable. The main drawbacks the industry is running into are bioplastics’ low water-barrier and the migration of hydrophilic plasticizers with consequent ageing phenomena. The first problem together with the cost factor is common to all other biodegradable plastics.
As far as biological polyesters (PHA) are concerned, the recent purchase of Zeneca’s Biopol business by Monsanto, who aims to expand it to include plant-derived polymers, does not suggest a bright future for microbial production of these polymers. Nevertheless, research on the production of the polymers by bacteria is worthwhile because it may be useful in helping us understand how to expand the range of polymers made by plants.
In summary, the bioplastics of the future will be produced from renewable sources, will have a low energy content and will display in-use properties similar to those of conventional plastics.
Googled a killer deck on this from a preso done for a conference in Ontario last April – many of the slides are the same:
Note slide 6 in the deck above mentions two key patent portfolio expansions – 1997′s acquisition of the Warner Lambert portfolio and the 2001 exclusive licensing of the Biotec patents for the film industry, which appear to be the basis for their business development today.
Martha Matteo complimented Ms. Bastioli on her great case study (in CTI) example, then asked about whether Novamont has tried to engage emerging economies to help clone their business model of industrial modularity? She answered on a project in China to see if they could help implement low impact agriculture that might produce more expensive products, but as a system it is much cheaper because of the end-of-life waste management issues.
This was really key answer that kind of brought it all together for me – that is, the system-economy extends the value chain through ecological impact as a key consideration of the cost structure of the business model, so that products themselves might be more costly but in total would have a much less cost structure as a system. Thanks Martha for asking the question that helped me get the big picture point.