Wednesday, September 20, 2017


At SCIP, we believe that everyone can play a role in making an impact to improve the lives of others—regardless of professional sector. In fact, in the face of increasingly complex and wicked challenges in areas such as global inequality, the environment, and education, we believe that an interdisciplinary approach that brings together actors in business, technology, politics, and academia is most likely to generate effective and long-lasting solutions. 

It is with this outlook in mind that SCIP has been developing its social impact programs under ‘SCIP For a Better World.’ For the last several years, we have been been leveraging our association’s global reach to inform and engage our membership on issues that could benefit from our involvement. The same strategic frameworks and tools that we equip strategy and intelligence professionals with can be applied to problem-solving in the public sector: leadership, decision-making, intelligence processing and data analysis are necessities across the board for successful projects. Furthermore, as digital technology, big data, and the internet of things make waves in the corporate competitive landscape, so too can they drastically impact the communities that are most in need of education or healthcare.

As described in our video, we have a number of projects both local and global to further our commitment to applying intelligence for social impact, but we are always on the lookout for proposals of new projects and initiatives. We invite you to get in touch with us at with your ideas. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Regional Perceptions and Differences in the Importance of Ethics

By Alessandro Comai, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Miniera SL

When it comes to discussing ethics, you are diving into a very subjective field. For instance, if I were to ask what people think about collecting information about a competitor’s facility using observations from open sources, I will probably get different answers. Different opinions can be found not only between people from different groups, industries and countries but from the same organization or even family. Ethical behavior can also vary depending on the time and the situation a company is dealing with. For instance, it is not the same when you have to find some evidence of possible fraud or when you are interested in discovering the strategic plan of your direct competitor. Ethics is fundamentally whether people believe conduct is right or wrong. 

Since the beginning of the 2000’s, business ethics was a very common practice in the corporate responsibility field. Specifically, some companies took ethics very seriously and dedicated full time people to build corporate and business codes. For instance, one of the most sensible industries, where ethics is treated very carefully, is the pharmaceutical industry. Similarly, ethics became an important topic in competitive intelligence (CI). I remember many presentations about CIat SCIP conferences covering what is and isn’t CI. One of the main concerns of CI consultants and vendors was avoiding positioning intelligence as a spying activity. 

Now, although several cases suddenly mislead the nature of business and competitive intelligence by confusing it with spying or any other illegitimate activity, the practice is a trustful, respectful and professional one. This is simply because CI practitioners use environmental data and information as many other professionals in other fields do. For instance, the R&D, Marketing, HR or Financial fields. Perhaps, the more sensible activity is when firms engage in the collection activity directly or by subcontracting it to external research firms. Indeed, it is not surprising when a company hires a market research firm and has it agree to ethical conduct by including it in the contract. In my experience, good CI vendors also propose a code that they believe beforehand. The SCIP code in this case can be a good reference and it has been widely used in the past by many practitioners and professionals. 

As discussed, ethics has been and still is used by many companies. Having a corporate social responsibility protocol helps:

A) Keep the firm out of trouble
B) Educate employees in understanding where the limits are
C) Keeping the CI practice healthy
D) Building a better society

In Spain, ethics in CI is not very commonly discussed. In my opinion, it is not because ethics is not important, but because CI in Spain is still in its infancy. Although CI was introduced more than 20 years ago, decision makers do not perceive CI as a avalue-adding activity. Additionally, a good number of firms still employ mainly secondary data information and therefore do not use interviews and other primary research techniques. Thus, ethics becomes a less relevant topic and probably even less understood. Similarly, this situation can be found in Latin American countries were CI is less far developed.

I believe that Spain is not very different from other Mediterranean based European countries such as Portugal, Italy or Greece. The culture and the style adopted in the decision process may differ quite significantly from northern European countries. One indicator we can use to see how far a profession is developed in Europe, is the CI job offering. Countries like the Netherlands, lead in the “Intelligence” job offering. In contrast, very few jobs about CI appear in the Spanish press or specialized webs. This may allow us to think that decisions are not data-driven or based on hard facts, but instead are based on beliefs and/or unchallenged assumptions. Thus, ethics and other topics are not at the top of the priority list.

Finally, when ethics get closed to the legal border, then things change. For instance, as EU was a front runner in data privacy, any European firm needed to apply this policy. Keeping or storing private data, without expressed permission, can be a serious trouble. This example shows how a particular ethical issue can evolve into a legal issue.

Alessandro Comai is the Chief Executive Officer of MINIERA, a Competitive Intelligence firm which develops technological tool such as Mira Intelligence ( and Mira Analytics ( Mira Analytics uses advanced and interactive network graph visualizations to bring data into actionable insights.

Alessandro has a Ph.D.(ESADEl), M.B.A. and BSc (Honors) in Engineering. He was an Associate Professor at the University of PompeuFabra, (Barcelona, Spain) and a Visiting Professor at Tampere University of Technology (Tampere, Finland) were he researched and taught competitive intelligence (CI). He is currently doing research in Competitive Technology Intelligence, Open Innovation and Digital Marketing.

Alessandro Comai will be speaking at the 22nd Annual SCIP European Summit this November.

Monday, September 18, 2017


SCIP partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank this past spring to help fight against hunger in the Greater Atlanta/Northern Georgia area. With generous donations from our SCIP community, this SCIP for a Better World initiative allowed us  to give back to those in need in our host city of Atlanta, where the SCIP 32nd Annual International Conference & Exhibition was successfully held.

SCIP, along with many other socially responsible organizations and individuals, is leading the way with new initiatives like these, volunteering to help by asking, “What can we do?” to assist with relief efforts in Texas and other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.”

In continuation of our pledge to support victims of recent natural disasters and other unfortunate circumstances,we encourage you to donate directly to SCIP. 100% of donations from our members will be collected and sent to the Salvation Army.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Simply said, treat ourselves and others with fairness, respect, and kindness in all that we do. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Q&A About Ethical Intelligence Practices with:

Gwendoline Savoy
Market Intelligence Director
Scytl Secure Electronic Voting

By Patricia Jacoby

Publications Editor
Frost & Sullivan

Gwendoline Savoy, a distinguished participant in SCIP’s Women in Intelligence, Strategy and Analytics (WISA) Shared Momentum Roundtable at the SCIP 22nd Annual European Summit, provides an international perspective on building - and improving - ethical CI practices. Among her responses, she notes that some CI professionals are not educated enough about the ethical gray areas that invariably exist. She also believes that it is necessary to establish detailed, global guidelines for CI ethics best practices.

1. As a participant in the Women in Intelligence, Strategy and Analytics (WISA) Shared Momentum Roundtable, one of your major topics of discussion is how women—and men—are driving change in their disciplines. Do you believe women can be a positive force for change when it comes to improving ethical intelligence practices? Why or why not? 

Yes, I do believe that women can be a positive force for change when it comes to improving ethical intelligence practices.

Building an ethical culture or improving ethical practices not only requires that people be aware of ethical challenges, but also that they have a clear and sincere intention to take them seriously. Women are conscientious professionals with a high sense of responsibility who think collectively and work for the common interest. These are necessary qualities when it comes to implementing or improving ethical practices within an organization.

2. Do you think CI professionals are educated enough by their organizations about the ethical gray areas that inevitably exist inworking as a CI professional? Ways to address or improve? 

In my experience, which is based on CI practice applied to SMEs, I would say no. Having that said, I think it is the role of any CI professional to get informed and educate their organizations about good practices, clarify potential grey areas and define the processes to follow to carry out CI functions. 

3. What about European privacy laws? Can you comment on how the EU Data Protection Directive has affected or will affect intelligence practices and the use of data in CI? 

As my business relates to Governments and elections, I haven’t really been affected by European privacy laws and I don’t think the General Data Protection Regulation to be enforced next year should further affect my practice as a CI professional. 

This new regulation will affect our business which is why our R&D and security teams are currently assessing the impact of this new regulation, but from a CI perspective I shouldn’t be affected.However, for those businesses who specialize in B2C activities, I do believe EU Data Protection will affect them, and particularly from a consumer intelligence perspective. To what extent? I don’t know yet.

4. Do you think there are important regional differences in ethical intelligence practices? For instance, are there any important distinctions between different European countries and approaches? Things to learn from other countries? A need for a centralized European Code of Conduct?

I don’t think there are differences in terms of ethical intelligence practices, but I do think there are differences in how these practices are framed, documented and communicated throughout an organization. These differences are due to: 
  • Different levels of CI maturity throughout European countries. In my opinion, countries like France, Germany or Switzerland are much more advanced in their CI practice than countries like Spain or Italy, where CI is still emerging 
  • The company culture
  • The level of experience of the CI director/manager within an organization

Rather than establishing a European code of conduct, I think that organizations such as SCIP are perfectly positioned to establish detailed and global guidelines regarding best practices in CI ethics.

5. How do you see the role of social media and digitization affecting the CI industry and ethics? 

Social media usage has grown and diversified intensively over the past 10 years and its monitoring has become a globally accepted tool for competitive intelligence. Internet and digitization have made access to information much easier but at the same time CI professionals are provided with so much content that they need to be able to filter, select and process the right data to provide actionable intelligence. In this sense, I think the CI industry has evolved quite significantly.

Regarding ethical practices, it is true that social media should be used carefully--and ethically-- as misinformation is also used to confuse or undermine one’s competitors. Social media has also become a place where it is easy for an employee to “leak” internal information.

Since social media is public, and open to anyone, it is the role of CI professionals to educate employees about social media usage and triangulate any information of interest they could detect through social media.

6. What challenges do you see on the horizon for CI and ethics as globalization continues? 

As globalization continues, organizations increasingly face fierce competition as well as technological disruptions. They need to adapt to new environments, anticipate market evolutions, get ahead of their competition and maximize profit faster. 

However, getting ahead sometimes means doing whatever it takes, even if you’re acting unethically. This is the reason why I believe that establishing a global CI ethical code of conduct to which any CI professional can refer is of paramount importance. Also, considering that an increasing number of organizations are relying on the CI function to define their strategies, I would also further educate CI professionals and organizations on the potential legal and financial consequences of illegal CI practices.

Gwendoline Savoy is a market intelligence professional with over 10 years of experience in international markets, elections / B2G industries and high-growth IT companies. In her current position as Director of Market Intelligence at Scytl, Ms. Savoy supports the management, sales and product teams by delivering actionable intelligence and strategic direction. She has built the market intelligence function from scratch and assisted the company in closing a $104M funding in 2014. Ms. Savoy holds a double Master’s degree in Marketing and has previously worked for Invest in Bavaria, Germany and for the Ardennes Chamber of Commerce and Industry in France. She speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and German.

Competitive Intelligence and the Law: A Short Review

By Richard Horowitz
Richard Horowitz & Associates
Attorneys at Law


Law and ethics are important aspects of competitive intelligence, both to the CI practitioner and firm and to the corporate clients who use their services. They are also topics that have generated much concern regarding the acquisition of a competitor’s confidential information. In fact, however, CI, properly conducted, is not only legal but actually encouraged by the law.

In 1998, I published a paper in Competitive Intelligence Review entitled The Economic Espionage Act: The Rules Have Not Changed. The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA) made trade secret misappropriation – stealing a trade secret – a federal crime, this, for the first time in U.S. history. Prior to the enactment of the EEA, trade secret misappropriation was a matter of state law only. Despite the attempts by some to use the EEA to argue that CI professionals now face new legal risks, I argued that nothing really changed. The EEA only gave jurisdiction to federal authorities to get involved in activities that had already been illegal under state law. Companies that had been practicing CI legally would be unaffected by the EEA. 

In the summer of 1998, SCIP’s Board of Directors adopted a Policy Analysis I wrote at its request entitled Competitive Intelligence and the Economic Espionage Act and made the Policy Analysis public at its 1999 Convention. In 2011, I published Competitive Intelligence, Law, and Ethics: The Economic Espionage Act Revisited Again (and hopefully for the last time), reviewing the matter and further emphasizing my position.


The key to understanding the legal validity of CI can be found in the Restatement of Torts, published in 1939: “The privilege to compete with others includes a privilege to adopt their business methods, ideas, or processes of manufacture. Were it otherwise, the first person in the field with a process or idea would have a monopoly which would tend to prevent competition (Section 757).” Trade secret law allows one to “figure out” another’s trade secret or confidential information, provided all the means used to acquire that information were themselves legal. As the Restatement explains, the privilege to compete is limited “when the thing copied is a trade secret.” “It is the employment of improper means to procure the trade secret, rather than the mere copying or use, which is the basis of the liability under the rule in [Section 757] (Comment a).” 

These legal concepts put into perspective why properly trained CI professionals should not run afoul of trade secret law and why the EEA does not alter this perspective. As the law allows for acquiring information on a competitor as part of healthy business competition, the appropriate legal standards by which this is to be accomplished have been instilled in the CI profession over the years. The methods employed by properly trained CI professionals are therefore inherently legal, even if that professional cannot articulate the legal rationale underlying them. 


Whereas the EEA is a federal criminal statute, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 established a civil federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation, meaning, a trade secret holder can now sue someone for allegedly stealing their trade secrets in either state or federal court. As with the EEA however, this does not change the central issue of relevance for CI professionals – were “improper means” used in acquiring your competitor’s trade secret information. 

The added “risks” of these federal criminal and civil trade secret statutes are of no consequence to the professional who have been practicing CI in a legal manner all along. Moreover, in practice one will generally find that a company’s ethical guidelines or policy is stricter than what the law allows. In other words, it is common practice that matters that seem questionable or unseemly but are in fact legal, are prohibited by a company’s ethical guidelines.   

An understanding of trade secret law therefore not only leads to the conclusion that CI is legally valid but also encouraged by the law. Indeed, in my opinion the most significant passage from SCIP’s Policy Analysis on the EEA is: “Companies who have curtailed their CI efforts out of a misplaced fear of the EEA have awarded a competitive advantage to companies whose CI activities continue unimpeded.” 

Richard Horowitz is an attorney who has been consulting on CI, law and ethics for 20 years. He has spoken at numerous SCIP annual conventions and chapter meetings and has advised corporations from various industries, including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, financial services, computer and software, and aviation, regarding the legal and ethical aspects of competitive intelligence and corporate compliance. His writings on these issues can be found on his website ( He tweets @rhesqnyc.

Discussing the SCIP Code of Ethics with:

Dr. Avner Barnea
The Israeli Competitive Intelligence Forum
Affiliated to SCIP

Head of Competitive Intelligence
Netanya Academic College, MBA Program

By Patricia Jacoby
Publications Editor
Frost & Sullivan

Dr. Avner Barnea, Chairman of The Israeli Competitive Intelligence Forum and SCIP Board Member, recently answered a few key questions about the state of ethical intelligence practices in the competitive intelligence field. In particular, he commented on the need for ethics guidelines to be updated as social media continues to play a larger role in the gathering of competitive intelligence. Read on for further insights.

1. The SCIP Code of Ethics for competitive intelligence professionals, which you helped to write, is fairly widely known in CI circles and can be easily found online as well. Can you briefly outline the guiding principles that helped you to craft this code of ethics?

I thought that it was highly important to strive continually to increase the recognition and respect of the profession of intelligence for business in order to remain competitive. To do so, it was vital to provide honest and realistic recommendations and conclusions in the execution of CI professional's duties. The code of ethics seem to be in need of an update, especially after social media and other open source intelligence (OSINT) sources have become a major source for the collection of information in order to obtain competitive advantage. 

There was a need to declare that SCIP expects that all its members obtain information that is legal and readily available through social media channels without misrepresenting themselves in any manner and to disclose the use of that information openly. That's why The SCIP Code of Ethics became a set of guidelines for ethical behavior for all organizations and companies, and for all disciplines and practitioners globally that engage in conducting business of any sort. These are actually guidelines by which companies and practitioners can set their own standards along the ethical spectrum. 

2. Can you address the importance of transparency in CI?

We are living in the era of transparency as so much information is available. Actually, there is very little information that cannot be obtained. This is why it is so vital to make sure that there are constraints that limit what can be obtained, and this is guided by the Code of Ethics. It is also important to show that we rely on open source intelligence that by its nature is transparent. It is obvious that we are not involved in the unauthorized gathering of information, which is classified, and in order to get it, there is a need to commit criminal activities. 

3. Can you distinguish CI from market research and “corporate spying?”

Corporate spying is a criminal activity that uses unlawful tools and systems to gather information. This is a red flag to every business person (and citizen) including CI professionals. Market research is actually looking deeply into the behavior of clients trying to get insights how to motivate them to become "our" customers and to remain loyal customers. Competitive Intelligence is the process of legally and ethically gathering and analyzing information about competitors and the industries in which they operate in order to help organizations to make better decisions and reach its goals It should be done within the ethical boundaries established by SCIP. It is worthwhile to emphasize that CI is looking simultaneously at changes in the current business environment and also towards the future market and competitors' moves in order to support decision-makers. 

4. How do you think social media and digitization have changed the CI field?

Social media has dramatically changed CI practice. It became a very important source of information, including information about the competitive arena. Because of its huge volume of information, there was a need to develop highly sophisticated information technology (IT) tools in order to support the gathering process, the selection of relevant information and also to help with the analysis. Nowadays, it is impossible to see CI without a significant contribution of information sourced from the social media.

5. How does globalization affect the goal of maintaining ethical intelligence practices? (ie across different regions, cultural norms, laws, etc). Are there any sort of international governing guidelines in existence?

It seems as though globalization has emphasized even more the need for ethical intelligence practices as it is important to have a common language and understanding of behavioral recommendations when it comes to gathering business information. More countries are adopting a CI profession and discipline. The law in every country in this matter may be different, but the ethical code is relevant for all. 

6. Thinking about ethical intelligence practices in organizations, it seems that there are three key pillars: A. What is legal? B. Corporate guidelines—the practices outlined by your organization that you should follow as a CI professional C. Your personal code of ethics or what guides you in doing business. Would you agree? Can you elaborate?

Dr. Barnea’s replies:

A. What is legal?

The actual meaning is to make sure that the information gathered has been achieved by legal means. But it has to be emphasized that ethics is often beyond the legal practice. Meaning it is possible to act unethically but not against the law and from the aspects of this code, that is unacceptable. 

B. Corporate guidelines—ie the practices outlined by your organization that you should follow as a CI professional

Many corporations have corporate guidelines which are public. It is important to make sure that these guidelines are not contradictory toto the CI ethical code which deals with the practice of getting business information. 

C. Your personal code of ethics

In my capacity as the Chairman of FIMAT (The Israeli CI forum) I have the opportunity to speak often to my colleagues about the importance of working precisely according to these guidelines. Personally, I'm very keen about this issue, especially as we had a few cases in recent years when CI professionals were found to be operating against these guidelines.

Doctor Barnea is a Competitive Intelligence Management Consultant to larger corporations operating in Israel and Israeli companies operating in global markets. He is also Head of CI, Corporate Security and Crisis Management Studies, MBA program, the Netanya Academic College. He lectures on Competitive Intelligence in BA and MBA programs in academic colleges in Israel. 

Since January 2014, he has been the Chairman of FIMAT (Israel Competitive Intelligence Forum), SCIP's affiliation in Israel. Since December 2015, he has been a Member of the Board of Directors of SCIP. He has published approximately 60 articles on CI- some can be read here

Dr. Barnea will be speaking at the 22nd Annual SCIP European Summit this November.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

SCIP University: Education, Certification and Training on Demand

By Michelle Winter
Director, Global Chapter Management
and Education Programs


A SCIP Certification can improve your knowledge and expertise in a set of essential analytic skills backed by instructors with analytics expertise worldwide. With SCIP,  you can count on 32 years of training excellence, over 60,000 trained professionals, customized learning formats and instruction based on solid expertise that is designed for on the job, practical application. 

Whether an in person intensive or boot camp certification, on-demand learning or self-paced professional development,  SCIP provides training in a number of aspects of decision support across industry, discipline and region at an affordable cost.  We believe it is more important to arm you with professional skills that you can use the day you return to the office rather than instruct using abstract theory.  

What’s New at SCIP U?

Our CAP (Certified Analytics Professional) Certification is offered at our In-Person Intensives and Regional Boot Camps via structured interactive learning experiences.   Learn. Serve. Grow, is the foundation of our  CAP certification programs and is dedicated to the development of the "whole professional LEARN. SERVE. GROW.  The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) Certification Program.

Students will earn points toward a SCIP Certified Analytics Professional  (CAP) Certification by participating in a myriad of learning opportunities including traditional teaching methods, intensive in-person instruction, certificate based e-learning modules, webinar engagement, hands on training, mentoring, publishing opportunities, volunteerism, philanthropic works, local chapter engagement and speaking options.  Your training is not a set of courses but an immersion in a set of solutions that help to teach the individual necessary decision support skills [LEARN], volunteer opportunities, best practice share, chapter participation [SERVE] and enablement to utilize those skills in practical areas with hands on training, speaking and publishing opportunities [GROW] .

For more information about our Certification programs, Interactive Intensives and Boot Camp, please visit or contact Michelle Winter at