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What if you are wrong but right?

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

Sometimes highly intelligent people get stuck on a nail about a theory and will not budge even when everyone is telling them they are wrong.

Something they believe to be true because that’s always been the way or it was how it was taught at university.

Just look at the political situation in your country or Brexit. You will see perfectly intelligent people on both sides of an argument fighting and falling out for what they believe.

Some even argue their view even when they know, deep down, they are wrong themselves.

Point to the data

They point to the data and use it to argue their point. They ignore information which disagrees with them, distort the evidence.  They try and explain why they are right, and you are wrong. If they are the boss, then it is view easier to push their viewpoint wrong. Any alternative theory will not sway them.

There are also those who come up with great theories but reject immediately upon seeing the first piece of opposing information.

What if you have ingrained belief built on unstable foundations of weak data? You are not going to gain any intelligence; you are not going to answer the questions.

Amazingly, some people carry on with their plans as it saves face and the effort of having to build a new strategy.

A military example: Market Garden

An excellent example of this occurred in the Netherland in 1944. On the 17th September, the Allies launched Operation Market Garden. And sent paratroopers to capture and hold bridges along a 64-mile section of the Rhine. Once the bridges were captured, an armoured spearhead was to smash into the industrial heartland of Germany.

It was Intelligence which told the decision-makers that there was a German Panza Division outside the town of Arnhem. And that they could come to the aide of the final bridge.

In the film depicting Market Garden, “A Bridge too Far”, the actor playing Brian Urquhart showed an overhead photograph of German tanks hidden under trees.

There may have been photographs, but it was Signals Intelligence from Bletchley Park who isolated the German forces.

Cancelling or changing the plan at such a late stage of the game was politically and practically very hard to do. Any delays or failures in the plan would see the whole operation fail. The generals were too eager and wanted to downplay bad news.

They also questioned the interpretation of Intelligence. After all, this SS Division had retreated battered and bruised from the fighting after D-Day. So it was assumed it must have been weak. Also, Intelligence only confirmed the location of German forces outside Arnhem.

The British could not use the Dutch the resistance to take a look to see how many tanks were there.  They had been compromised and not to be fully trusted.

Now there will be counter-arguments on why the generals were right not to use the Intelligence. It was a tough decision, and they did not have the benefit of hindsight.

Listing our inbuilt beliefs

Neither do we.  So listing our own inbuilt , theory, beliefs and biases is an excellent way of increasing the awareness. And reveal better insight.

That’s why Competitive Intelligence is best used independently to decision-makers. The truth may not always be popular, but it is still right, and I, for one, would rather make a decision knowing I have the best possible Intelligence to hand.

Intelligence is just knowing…

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Birthday cake celebrating 11 years

Birthday celebrations for Octopus turning 11. Thank you.

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

It’s our 11th birthday and everything’s looking rosy here at Octopus.

Thanks to the support you give we’re growing fast and 2020 will be a gamer changer for us. Our 12th Birthday will hopefully be even bigger.

We’re working with some amazing people, winning new clients and continuing to delight existing ones.

We really do love what we do. It’s in our blood and remember the only way any company can win is having the Kevlar of knowing the answer.

And that’s where Octopus comes in.

Thank you for allowing us to help and support you. We really appreciated it.

Intelligence is just knowing…

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Or do you have a birthday to celebrate? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

What are the massive changes in these unprecedented times? Octopus Intelligence

What are the massive changes in these unprecedented times?

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

Unprecedented change

We are living through unprecedented times, and it’s increasingly the case what we did in the past is not repeatable.

Here are a few just overarching observations are shaping our world today:

Retail markets

Online retailing is superseding bricks and mortar retailers. Especially those who are not adapting to online offers. The Amazon factor. Then the big shopping centres unable to trade by offering just small unique retailers. They can’t afford rents and rates and will be out of the game. Shopping centres want the big brands.  Until very recently they are the ones that can afford the rents and rates over a sustained period of time. On line, retailers don’t pay rates. The consequence for suppliers is that the big online players will soon also own the supply lines. Our town centre’s containing the same retail/food brands, charity shops, barbers and kebab shops . The same as the next town centre, as well as, making shopping experiences more tedious than it used to be.

Transport and infrastructure 

The vividly ambitious intent to thrust driverless cars onto the populous will mean fewer cars.  And fewer car sales, fewer suppliers, monopoly of the giants etc. Even in remote areas? Either this is true, or there are other elements involved that seem unmoved by whatever reality presents them. None the less this, in either case, represents substantive future disruption.

Debt

Millennial debt, a lack of money management skills and a limited understanding of how to build value. And the startling absence of how to develop their self-reliance has to be a concern. This situation will inevitably prompt money lenders to make more debt-based products.  In turn this will undoubtedly increase individual debt burdens. This debt will change the property market as home ownership will almost certainly continue to decline. People will expect to be perpetually in debt.

Taxation 

Taxation increase, per capita in developed countries will become much higher. Cost of living will continue to rise. Governments will be essentially less solvent, and surplus income will likely stop becoming an objective (due to its almost impossible attainability). Baby boomers and Gen Z will be most likely to liquidate their assets during their lifetime due to the expected retirement circumstances changing. So only 20%, or less will have substantive estates.

Brain Drain 

A prevalent and pervasive skills deficit will mean that retirement expectations will diminish for Generation X’s because millennials and Gen Z will have less inclination and insufficient skill sets to inherit many skilled roles. Already most countries are raising the retirement age.  Likely to be exacerbated by the influx of more unskilled workers. On top of this there will be technology shortcomings meaning further dependence on less-skilled workers.

Social 

Bipolarity between low paid options will be a massive social challenge (highly qualified, student debt, working perpetually as baristas). A middle cohort of older professionals who continue to have none of their earlier aspirations of a ‘lifestyle’ because they will be much in demand and possibly will be overworked. Then there will be a more remote uber-wealthy class who can sustain their positions by mutual interdependency with each other.  Mostly because of tradition and legitimate self-preservation purposes. This gap will almost inevitably lead to less social freedom, more legal and legislative controls and higher regulation.

Political

Current events within the global political sphere are undoubtedly challenging.  It is no underestimation to state that the implications and impact on all sectors will be significant. Now more than ever it is vital to understand not just what is happening or what the potential impact on any given industry sector is. What’s most critical is to understand what options are available to your organisation.

The future looks interesting; it is not all bad news; many opportunities are prevailing for those who mobilise to ‘rearguard’ risk and capitalise on their advancement.

There are many measures and countermeasures and challenging every assumption is important.  Every opportunity must be analysed and every decision must be made against a much more stringent focus on how the circumstances will continue to move and change faster and faster and to truly succeed it is vital to have to keep constant vigil in every direction.

By Darrell West

Intelligence is just knowing…

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Desk with paper and pins

How about putting the phone away as it’s time to think?

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

We live in a world where there is always too much data, a lack of intelligence, independent thinking and empathy for the other person’s point of view. A world where we are all attached to our tiny little screens it is good to take time to think. Thinking in the real world, not just using the latest App or dataset. Decide on a question or two you are looking to answer. Print out articles, webpages and press reports or write keywords, phrases and thoughts on a piece of card?

Cut important items out and spread them on a table. Use a highlighter as you see fit and put them into piles. The choice of how you sort the piles and their meaning is completely up to you. Now take each pile and lay them out in front of you. Sort them again, perhaps chronologically, geographically or any way that feels right.

What patterns are revealed? Are there any patterns? What’s the information telling you? Then, look at the other piles and do it all over again.

Intelligence is more than just collecting data.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Does your competitor possess those two killer things? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

5G what are the risks and opportunities from Octopus Intelligence

Opportunities and threats of 5G Report

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

“Potentially, this 5G technology will become more important than the range of missiles and fighter jet capability. Think about it. Control the 5G network, and you don’t need anything else”.

 

5G is going to change our lives according to Kevin Bacon.

There has been a lot of talk about 5G in the newspapers and television over the last couple of years.

We have written a report and enclose a complementary copy for you. – Download here or email us and ask for a copy on hello@octopusintelligence.com

This report sets out to explain the development of the 5G network. We aim to answer:

  • What’s happening?
  • What does it mean?
  • What’s the risk? – Geopolitical, security and health concerns
  • What can we do about it?

What does it mean?

Increased efficiencies in bandwidths, energy usage and potential utilisation to deliver a dramatically improved quality of three-level service grades. Excellent mobile broadband that delivers a high rate of mobile internet rates over larger areas.

Massive Machine type device to device communications and ultra-reliable and low latency communication. Instant information transmission for devices such as autonomous cars and robots. 5G will open up new possibilities with the internet of things and navigation. Also, fixed (gigabit per second bandwidth) wireless data urban connectivity. Edge computing services, enabling computing power closer to the sensor.

The elimination of latency. Video delivery services that will compete with today’s multi-channel distributors.

Opening up new uses that have not even been invented yet.

5G is a game changer, and it will be no longer acceptable for leaders not to understand technology.  5G and it’s associated technology will put unprepared businesses on a slippery slope to demise.  Modern technology has already transformed our lives, much more than most think it has.

With 5G there will be soon no doubt.

It’s all about finding the right Intelligence to create certainty so you get the most out of your investment. We hope you find this report a useful summary.

Download here or email us and ask for a copy on hello@octopusintelligence.com

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

What are your competitors ultimate goal?

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

Do you hear that?

That’s the sound of your world changing, of competitors, growing, customers needs evolving and disruption in your market. You can’t avoid or stop it. But you can stay ahead by innovating, modernising, delivering what’s needed, and knowing what could be happening next. Business is hard enough when your industry stands still. Unfortunately, it never does, and those pesky competitors are out to beat you. Sure, short term wins should not kill you, but if you are to outlast them, you need to know what they are up to.

Sit down and take some time to understand what they’re up to and want to achieve. To be successful, they need to have more about them than just make more money. What do the owners want to do, what’s their strategy, what will they need to do to achieve things? An excellent place to start is to understand what your rivals ultimate goal is. It usually consists of 3 things:

  • People
  • Places
  • Things

Collate all aspects of people, places and things.

People

What people will they need to achieve want they want? Are they around and how this compares to what they currently have? Are those skills in your organisation? Is that a threat? How are they going to resolve any skills gaps? What customers will they need? How are they going to get them?

Places

Which markets do they need to enter and which regions do they need to expand? Where will they be when they have achieved their endgame?

Stuff

What equipment will they need? What products will they need to develop? Is the tech available?
How are their R&D and product development teams performing? Will they need more people? What real estate do they need? Now turn the tables and look at yourself. This process may reveal new routes to market. If not, you will know more about yourself and your competitors.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Does your competitor possess those two killer things? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

A tiger needs two killer things before deciding to attack

Two things they need

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

For a competitor to decide on an action, they need two killer things. 2 things to enable them to move into a new market, acquire a company, attack your market, enter your country, take your customer etc. They need capability and intent. Simple and true. When assessing what your competitor will do next decide if they have the capability and intent.Both are needed to become a significant threat.

Many companies will have the capability, but the intent is not there; they will not take action, and if they do, they will do so half-heartedly. From micro to geopolitical level if the intention is backed up by capability, their chances of success are higher. You better be prepared for a fight.

Look at Iran and the USA. The USA has the capability but do they have the intent? The Iranians may have the intent, but do they have the capability?

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Does your competitor possess those two killer things? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

boy next to a wall What is Competitive Intelligence?

Press release: GTXM partners with Octopus

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

Press release: GTXM’s partnership with Global Competitive Intelligence Agency, Octopus, further strengthens a diverse eco-system of specialist capabilities.

This partnership offers an exciting opportunity for GTXM customers. Meeting the increasing need for real time market insights and providing the answers businesses need.

GTXM is quickly establishing itself as a leading business partner for tech companies. The combination of its unique approach to new business and unrivalled intelligence on new markets is empowering ambitious organisations to successfully discover and win new customers.

Graeme Dixon, CEO of Octopus said “The GTXM partnership provides a powerful extension to the Octopus offering. Their insight based programs and unique expertise will help our customers to act on the market intelligence we provide. And create compelling advantages within their growth markets”

Octopus is the UK based Global Competitive Intelligence Agency managing intelligence projects and discrete internal intelligence services. They work with companies of various sizes. So, from a UK middle market technology company to a far east multi-national television manufacturer and everything in between. Octopus answers questions. And then offers recommendations to help win more business and understand markets, as well as, protect against and disrupt competitors.

Terry Sallas, Director and Co-Founder of GTXM said: “Customers need new business activities to be intelligent and systematic.  But, also responsive to real time insights. This partnership is further evidence of our conviction to place the right market intelligence at the heart of every growth program we provide. We are excited about working with the Octopus team and what this means for customers”

So, for more information, please e-mail info@gtxm.co.uk or via Octopus get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Drivers win

Is it more than just good questions?

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

Drivers tell us it more than just good questions.

You have some great questions, and you are researching and talking to people. Now you will find yourself swamped with information on paper, Evernote, email and your cloud.  Then the realisation hits you that intelligence is so much more than researching Google really well — lots of data and no idea where to start.

It may sound simple, but the next step is to sort all the information into a limited number of piles. Then put them in order. The titles of these piles (or drivers as they a termed), the order they are to be classified and how we determine when we have big enough piles needs to be thought out and agreed. These drivers allow you to develop future actions.

For example, if you are assessing a competitor’s strengths. You need a question like: How serious a threat is this competitor to our market? Your drivers could include financials, product pricing, people, customers, future strategy, marketing message etc. A future action from products pile, for instance, could be “if our competitor introduces that product to that market we will… Or if our competitor increases their price by x, we will…

And then you are a little closer to intelligence to help you make a decision.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Have an idea what they want to do? Now disrupt them

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

Take a good look at your competitors’ leadership team. What makes them tick?

Starting with the CEO isolate their five big ideas. Alternatively, strategies as they are often mistakenly called. Most leaders will have patterns they’ve followed in the past (maybe not every time). So have their big five ideas changed over time? Are the ideas communicated well within their business? Do other members of the senior team believe in them or do they have other thoughts? Can you exploit this potential discord?

Take a look at what relationships are important to them, which bandwagon are they jumping on and what type of customers are they getting to know. Read what they are writing, listen to what they are saying (and, of course, what they are not saying). Will these big ideas affect your future business growth? Also, you may see signals of a change in your competitors focus. Can you take advantage?

Going darker, now you have an idea what they want to do, can you disrupt their efforts? If you can’t find some big ideas or isolated too many of them does this also tell you a story too? Hopefully, you see Competitive Intelligence is not analytics; it’s not research, its so much more than that.

Inspired by an article by General David Petraeus.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter