A call too late

It was a weekday afternoon in the fall of 2007.  Though sitting at my desk, I was speaking “virtually” with about a hundred other people around the world who share my interest in corporate intelligence.  Specifically, I was midway through giving a live webinar (hosted by Aurora) on the Knowledge Value Chain®.

A chat message came through on the screen sidebar from the head of intelligence at a large US company.  She said her company was planning an all-day intelligence event, and they wanted to order one hundred copies of my KVC Workbook as a discussion guide for attendees.  This was the largest single order for the book to that point, on that basis I counted the webinar as a huge success.  We left it that she’d call back the following week to firm up the order details.

She did call back the following week as planned…but the content of the conversation was much different than I’m sure either of us had anticipated.  She was calling to say that the event had been cancelled and she would not need the KVC books.  My disappointment gave way to sympathy when she continued that her small CI department was being disbanded, and it was possible several of them would even have to leave the company in search of new jobs.

I realize that things can change quickly in business, and you have to learn to “roll with the punches.”  But I had a feeling of regret in that, if this person had had a working knowledge of intelligence ROI even six months prior to that, I’m confident that she could have addressed the “value” challenge, or even prevented its becoming an issue in the first place.

LESSON:  No intelligence professional wants to be on the wrong end of a discussion about return on investment. That’s what prompted me to develop the KVC approach in the first place.

Adapted from an article “Value Driven Intelligence, to be published in Competitive Intelligence magazine, spring 2009.

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    COMPETING IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY is written by Timothy Powell, an independent researcher and consultant in knowledge strategy. Tim is president of The Knowledge Agency® (TKA) and serves on the faculty of Columbia University's Information and Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) graduate program.

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