Smarter searching for all – Part 1

For most people , putting a few words into the standard Google search box is about as sophisticated as their searching gets. But in certain jobs, like competitive intelligence (CI), being able to go beyond basic searching is a critical skill. Earlier this year, smarter searching was one of the topics discussed at a get together of Sydney based CI practitioners.  Inspired by the suggestions shared at that session, plus my own experience, I thought I might do a few posts on how  to improve your search for information on the net.

Racist speech – Don’t ban it, expose it

This week the West Australian government announced plans to introduce laws that could see people prosecuted for racist bumper stickers. The move was welcomed by West Australia’s Equal Opportunity Commissioner, who claimed the legislation was “overdue”. But  is using the threat of legal penalties really the best approach to dealing with this kind of racist speech?

In CI – better answers start with better questions

Competitive intelligence (CI) is a discipline with the potential to provide organisations with valuable insights in to how to perform better. But like most things, the quality of the output is influenced by the quality of the inputs. In CI, one of the key inputs is the questions that it is expected to answer. If you’re looking for a phrase to simultaneously sink the spirit of a CI practitioner and cause their blood pressure to rise, try making a request that sounds something like “Can you just tell me about our competitors…” Requests that begin like this risk turning out to be too vague, too broad or too late to be genuinely useful. Whilst it’s part of the CI practitioner’s role to help clients refine […]

Prescription insurance: Moral hazard vs transaction costs

A person with insurance for drug prescriptions is more likely to use drugs and less likely to worry about getting the cheapest or most cost effective prescription. This leads to the expectation that the demand from the insured for drugs would result in higher prices than if individuals bore most the cost of drug prescriptions, but that is not correct: Our paper provides evidence for what we consider a surprising outcome: in the case of the new prescription drug program for Medicare enrollees, moving consumers from cash-paying status to membership in an insured group lowers optimal prices for branded prescription drugs below what they otherwise would be. This is surprising because the standard effect of insurance is to create inelastic demand and therefore elicit higher […]

What’s your competitors character?

What’s the character of your competitors? Are they Guardians or Idealists? What about the temperament of their leaders? Understanding the character of a company and it’s leaders is a useful way of distinguishing between what a competitor could do, versus what it is likely to do. For the CI practitioner, this is an extremely valuable distinction. A shopping list of possibilities isn’t really actionable as there are too many ‘possibilities’ for any manager to plan for. What’s needed is a way to screen the ‘possible’ actions and create a short list of what’s actually likely to happen. This is where understanding the culture of a company and the character of it’s leaders provides a useful sorting mechanism. And this is why the Mindshift’s course on […]