Friday, September 12, 2014

Crowdsourcing Competitive Intelligence: How Collective Intelligence, Visualizations, and Social Networks are Revolutionizing the Way Businesses Compete

By Leonardo Bonanni, Ph.D., 
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sourcemap Inc.
Visiting Scientist, MIT Media Lab

Companies depend on vast global supply chains, often containing hundreds of thousands of suppliers and millions of individuals. In this excerpt from the SCIP 2014 Executive Chronicles, MIT Media Lab’s Leonardo Bonanni discusses applications of crowdsourcing, visualization, and social networking within enterprises to anticipate risks, plan for continuity, and ensure the long-term sustainability of companies.


One important tool to tackle the complexity of global business relationships, Bonanni said, is social networking, both inside the enterprise and in the public sphere. Enterprise social networking is revolutionizing access to Competitive Intelligence. Enterprise data combined with public information can help find key intelligence metrics affecting global competitiveness.


How can we leverage the collective know-how of all these actors to deliver a competitive advantage? Visualization and interface design can accelerate an organization’s competitive advantage by weeks or even months, Bonanni said.

One thing to keep in mind: Big Data doesn’t necessarily mean the right data. The most important thing is how fast you can act with the data that is collected.

Bonanni offered an example: There is a cocoa supply/demand shortage, which obviously would be a concern for chocolate producing companies. There is also a social network for farming where companies can share information not only with each other but also with competitors. That would provide a lot of public information that could be used for CI.

The reality is: Transparency is here to stay. We live in a post-transparency world, Bonanni said. There have been a lot of encouraging trends in supply chain transparency over the last couple of years. As companies start to share information about their supply chain with each other and with the public, they are able to take on risks more effectively and spread the responsibility across different stakeholders.


In this new environment, relationships with competitors are really key.

Also, as supply chains become more transparent, corporate social responsibility becomes more important for all businesses. Environmentalists and advocates for sustainability and social justice have been arguing for years to know more about where products come from.

For more valuable insight from the 29th Annual Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals International Conference & Exhibition, be sure download a copy of the SCIP 2014 Executive Chronicles, a collection of the key take-aways and best practices from all of the event’s presentations and interactive sessions.

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