By Lakshika Trikha
Strategy & Business Development
In many ways, the theme of the SCIP2017 International Conference was also its mission: to galvanize the modern intelligence workforce. Over the course of four days, over 450 professionals assembled to envision a future in which all intelligence functions and disciplines are going to be fundamentally different. They also discussed the best ways to build the necessary skillsets and processes within their organizations to thrive in this future landscape. The conference featured pre-event workshops, SCIP University certification, keynotes, breakout sessions, and networking receptions, all packed with content that covered a wide range of industries and disciplines. At the end of the event, in speaking with attendees and reviewing post-conference evaluations, it was clear thata few ideas resonated particularly well.
Diversity, Inclusion, Collaboration: Beyond the Buzzwords
A simple fact that cannot be stated enough is that learning to work with other people is critical. This is a prerequisite for getting work done within teams, but is even more important when trying to steer change within an organization. A number of the keynotes and breakout sessions made “people” their primary focus: Nicola Millard highlighted the problem of collaborative overload, and Michael Cooper zeroed in on 4 brain-types, with a special focus on how Analyzer-Systemizers (the brain type of most intelligence professionals) can effectively communicate to Controller-Managers (the most common brain type among the C-Suite).
Michelle Rozen’s Capstone presentation, ‘How to Get Along with Anybody’ included a role play that demonstrated the way clashing personalities can affect productivity in the workplace. In an effort to put the principles of collaboration into practice, the Women in Intelligence, Strategy & Analytics (WISA) forum not only generated lively discussion and debate among women, but encouraged men to join in and share their experiences. The conference also featured an international array of speakers from 5 continents,reinforcing SCIP’s commitment to bringing a wide range of diverse perspectives to every conversation.
“Don’t Wait” – Leadership in the Age of AI
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution is already beginning to transform industries, and many featured sessions examined the nature of this transformation and the pivotal role that strategy and intelligence professionals can play in helping companies adapt. Al Naqvi, President of the American Institute of Artificial Intelligence (AIAI), delivered an opening keynote presentation that emphasized the importance of AI being discussed in strategy departments rather than being confined to the technologists. His message was clear: do not wait. Lead the change. The energy in the room from his call to action was palpable, and attendees left equipped with specific recommendations on how to plan for the future. For more on Mr. Naqvi’s take on AI and intelligence professionals, read our post-conference interview in CI magazine (member login required).
Cultivating a Culture of Critical Thinking
Many of the presentations underscored the fact that, in the age of increasing automation, human contributions are going to be more important—not less—and we must reassess the kind of skills that will propel us forward.One foundational skill that will withstand the test of time is critical thinking. We will need to be more vigilant, increasingly rigorous thinkers in order to deliver sound analysis. The good news is that this type of thinking is a skill that can be mastered like any other. This is precisely what Randy Pherson described in his plenary presentation on the “Five Habits of the Master Thinker.” Major General Neeraj Bali touched on some of these same ideas in his case study from the Indian Army and shared some compelling examples that showcased the importance of unconventional thinking in high-risk circumstances.
The 2017 European Summit inCascais, Portugal and will expand on many of these same ideas in the context of European markets. As always, there will be sessions that cover the tools and frameworks that are important for intelligence professionals today—but the continuation of our theme of ‘Developing & Engaging the Modern Intelligence Workforce’ will ensure that the focus will remain on the future. On that note, be sure to save the dates on your calendar for November 13-15. The future will be here before you know it.
Lakshika Trikha is responsible for driving strategic direction for both SCIP and the Frost & Sullivan Institute (FSI). She is working on building programs that drive membership growth and lead the market in decision support analytics on the SCIP side and projects that make use of the use of business applications for social good on the FSI side. In previous roles, Lakshika has led the research, planning and execution of many international summits on topics related to business strategy, globalization, emerging markets and global economic development. Lakshika has a B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University in the city of New York.