National Security And Competitive Intelligence: The Top Obstacle To Applying Intelligence Effectively To Decisions? A Reluctance Of Those At The Top To Listen To Anyone But Themselves

Ben Gilad Founder, Academy of Competitive Intelligence published the following article on LinkedIn. With the necessary recognition and citation I would like to share his article on the IBIS blog.

“Yesterday I videotaped an interview for Georgetown University’s Masters in Applied Intelligence Program. My host, Prof. Rohin Sharma, asked me to tell his class about competitive intelligence. Since part of the FGH-Academy of Competitive Intelligence’s mission is to lead the discussion among professionals and executive circles about the correct application of intelligence, and to dispel the many incorrect definitions that are hurting both the profession and organizations (for example that intelligence analysts and information practitioners require the same skill set), we take these educational efforts seriously. The application of intelligence in business is a new initiative by traditional intelligence studies programs in major universities who are looking to stay ahead of their competitors. It’s kind of ironic: while the integration of CI education in business schools remains marginal at best, leading edge intelligence studies departments who in the past ignored CI are waking up to the essential role of intelligence across many domains. There is something to this idea: in every domain, the role of intelligence (as opposed to mere information) is first and foremost to identify early signs of threats and opportunities. To do that, one must understand what an opportunity or risk means. That’s why training in the latest tricks in information search does not prepare practitioners to be intelligence analysts.

“In the context of business, the identification of risk or opportunity requires industry expertise. In the context of government, it requires geopolitical expertise. Though the knowledge base is very different, all intelligence analysts must possess one skill in common: an ability to understand the playing field and the perspective of major players in it deeply enough to guide decisions. Looking at the world from Putin’s perspective or the market for Cloud services from Satya Nadella’s perspective shares a common analytical framework (though different specific elements). I had a lot of fun defining competitive intelligence for the graduate students in the Georgetown program. Who knows, one of the students might become the FBI director in 20 year time and may be able then to put an end by then to the Russian collusion investigation. But more to the point, I was struck by what Rohin and I saw as the number one obstacle to applying intelligence effectively to decisions: the reluctance of those at the top to listen to anyone but themselves (or at best their “trusted circle” which is already close-minded and biased). The more we are different, the more we are the same.” Ben Gilad is the President of the FGH-Academy of Competitive Intelligence (

Submitted by Marie-Luce KUHN

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