The Professional Development Institute
Harvard University Global System™
Harvard® Planner Group
"This is an extraordinarily thoughtful and well written book on a topic of great contemporary importance.
Its advice is detailed, practical and completely on target."
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"Information in the past tense is never as valuable as information in the future or present
tense. How often do we hear that 'the signs were all there.' Martin has created a framework
and processes that anyone or any organization can adapt and use to create information and
intelligence that will prevent or reduce unpleasant surprises in their lives or work."
"This book is crisply written, offering a conceptual framework to tie together technical
tools and practical wisdom. It is a must-read for Chief Intelligence Officers and others
focused on moving to the forefront of their industry or shaping the next competitive arena."
"Executives that are just becoming aware of the untapped intelligence potential within their
organizations need to absorb this book. Martin's prescription for enhancing traditional
market research information with intelligence activities will provide managers with the key
to strategic advantage. Martin shows how to exploit the untapped competitive power in
day-to-day intelligence. He presents ethical methods of collection and usage of intelligence
and shows how all types of organizations can identify, monitor, and exploit early detection
signals. If anticipating your competitors' next move is what keeps you up at night- start
"Alain Martin has produced a very useful guide for strategy formulation that should be of
interest to any general manager."
"This impressive book forces us all to rethink the role of intelligence in organizations. It
is an essential encyclopedia of knowledge about why intelligence gathering is vital for
businesses and it also shows how it can be carried out successfully".
"A must read for senior executives. Alain Paul Martin built his concepts very cleverly with
thought-provoking examples and jogs the minds of the readers to ponder deeper into the power
of intelligence! This is a grand slam by Martin."
"Competitive intelligence is one of the key antecedents for successful marketing strategy
formulation. This book outlines the pertinent issues in conducting competitive analysis and
provides an extremely useful tool for the practicing marketing strategist. As such, Alain
Martin's book is a timely as well as important contribution."
"Alain Martin has compiled an excellent compendium of tools and examples which define the "why and how to"
of corporate intelligence. This book is highly recommended for anyone wanting to acquire an overview of
this very complex subject."
"Alain Martin has deftly incorporated, adapted, challenged, and complemented the insights of Fuld,
Porter, Sun Tzu, and others to achieve a superb practical guide to the strategic and tactical
management of institutional information."
"This serious book is breaking new ground in intelligence production and strategic risk management.
It is well worth reading by decision-makers on both sides of the Pacific Rim."
"In today's turbulent business environment, decision-makers in global companies, particularly
financial institutions, need a clear vision, effective strategies and state-of-the-art execution.
In this book, Alain Martin provides thought-provoking analyses, a practical framework and concrete
examples of how to develop the business intelligence required to support these three major challenges.
Highly-recommended reading before taking action."
Dr. Peter B. Corr, Senior Vice President, Science and Technology
"Alain Martin provides many up-to date examples, in a concise format that allows the reader to put the
concepts to use immediately. I got ideas from the "Intelligence Insights From The Battlefield"
regarding competitive intelligence cases in the public domain that I am already using to obtain
"This book is a useful guide on frameworks to enhance intelligence gathering and strategic
planning in business."
"Alain Martin provides great insight into the competitive intelligence function. Vivid examples from
multiple industries bring the book alive. The framework and tools are practical. They would have broad
applicability across our company from guiding R&D decisions to developing strategies for our sales
"Alain Martin delivers a powerful message that the most vital determinant of a company's future performance
is not reflected on its balance sheet. Rather, it's the knowledge that's retained within the organization.
Martin's latest publication is a richly-resourced guide for the intelligence gathering practitioner,
replete with compelling examples of successful applications. And, in the process, Alain presents a
wonderful panoply of methodologies for understanding people - and their cultures."
"All too frequently the information coming into a company about its suppliers, competitors and
customers is passive, ad hoc and fragmented. In this book, Alain Martin provides a structure for
organizations of whatever size to assemble and collate the vital signs of change and proactively
and ethically search for corroborating material. The section on exploiting the power of Search
Engines typifies the extensive research input into this book."
"Alain Martin's new work is the perfect combination of practical advice and theoretical
frameworks for building effective, far-sighted strategies. It is an easy-to-read reference
source that will prove a valuable tool for strategic planning."
"This book cites pertinent reference materials and explicit examples that substantiate Alain
Martin's methodology for assessing competitive intelligence, formulating strategic plans, and
mitigating inherent risks. It provides a formidable and useful framework for a way forward in
our dynamically changing business environment."
"I have used the framework described in this remarkable book successfully for several years, first,
to orchestrate the turnaround of North America's fastest growing casualty-insurance company, and
subsequently, to craft a vision and strategic direction of a $75 billion financial institution."
"Alain Martin has created an easy-to-read primer filled with clear examples of intelligence,
counterintelligence and decision making in large organizations. This book is highly recommended."
"This book is worthwhile to read. The intelligence framework it presents helps executives reshape
their own model to better focus on mission."
"Productive corporate governance, dynamic strategic planning and focused risk analysis are inextricably
bound together. They are driven by the rigorous conversion of information into intelligence, the
identification of threats and opportunities and a foundation for proactive management in an environment
of constant change. Harnessing Intelligence, Counterintelligence and Surprise Events is a pragmatic
blueprint for this essential process."
"Competitive intelligence is one of the key prerequisites to develop a robust and deliverable set of
strategies. I found this book very appropriate to my business and I recommend it to decision makers
who must secure high performance, particularly at a time of rapid change."
"Alain Martin has presented several important concepts within a single volume which will be
beneficial whether utilized together or separately. The first is a strategy, structure and sources
for the critical task of actionable strategic intelligence gathering and analysis, which is vital
in the fast moving, highly competitive world of global consumer products. The second part is a
framework for creating the circumstances in which things can happen, not just as result of new
intelligence, but for any necessary change in business. This book should be compulsory reading
for senior executives."
"Mining intelligence is a tall order. To tackle this formidable task, Alain Paul Martin delivers
sensible advice, rich in practical ideas and real-life examples."
"In Harnessing the Power of Intelligence, Counterintelligence & Surprise Events, Alan Martin first takes the reader through the active and defensive essentials of CI, from both the process and the management perspectives. While basic, these chapters are an interesting read, particularly since he uses a number of real-world examples that are new, at least to me.
Harnessing the Power is a novel work. The core of that effort, Chapter seven 'Value incubation: a proven framework for early detection of threats and opportunities" is a real gem. It walks the reader through one model of how individuals convert raw data into useable intelligence. As you read through it, Alan links his vision of analytical phases with real world examples of successes and failures, based on such principles. He then moves on to the use of the CI you have generated. Finally, Alan has three chapters to help the CI professional understand those with whom the CI professional must deal with, in his or her own organization. I found, as I read these closing pages, that many of the tools and techniques he was using could well be applied to profiling competitors' key executives, or defining a competitors' corporate culture and view of the world.
[This book] deserves to be seen by all executives still unfamiliar with CI and by CI managers
eager to improve their own management skills."
"This book is well researched. It stimulated my thoughts on the importance of competitive analysis
and provides excellent examples of not only "how to", but also the consequences of failing to try
to understand your competitors' strategies and actions."
"Alain Paul Martin starts the book with a quote from Napoleon and ends it with one from Sun Tzu.
The book tries to be something to all people, which is normally a doomed endeavor. Paul Martin
succeeded in doing so by a clear mission definition, a wealth of information sources and practical
modeling to real-life applications. This book is highly recommended to everybody in the business
field with a need for change."
"This groundbreaking book is invaluable to decision-makers who plan for emergencies and important
risks. My fear is that most may read it after rather than prior to a major incident when it can
really help save lives and property."
"This book is focusing on an extremely important aspect of today's global business - information
and intelligence. It has a good balance between theory and practical examples and is easy to read.
Without any doubt, it is a valuable guide for senior executives not only in the US, but also in Europe."
"This book takes us beyond the rhetoric by setting out a bold plan of action for hitch-hiking
on surprise events. The combination of useful examples and a theoretically grounded approach
to navigating turbulence makes this book worth reading - and using!"
Book Reviews: Strategic Planning
Stern & Associates
Culver City, California
"In today's fast changing global markets where money and information flow at the speed of light,
intelligence tasks should feature prominently on the daily agenda of every manager. For an
innovative provider of application software like LBS, this compelling book describes a proven
methodology to implement an ethical and far-reaching intelligence program."
"This book - well structured, excellently documented and easy to understand - represents a great
step in mastering this extremely difficult subject. What fascinates me is that Alain Martin not
only encourages to improve your management skills but awakes in you a strong desire to do so. He
also shows insight stressing the difference between human capabilities and supporting tools. With
this book you can conduct your business according to the French saying "Diriger c'est prévoir".
"Alain Martin has deftly incorporated, adapted, challenged, and complemented the insights of
Fuld, Porter, Sun Tzu, and others to achieve a superb practical guide to the strategic and
tactical management of institutional information."
"Harnessing the Power of Intelligence, Counterintelligence & Surprise Events provides pragmatic
tools to tackle the uncertainties associated with risk assessment between R&D and new product
development. The methodologies provided by Alain Martin are instrumental in diagnosing, prioritizing
and deciding between technical and commercial factors. The book is lively and its scope is both deep
and broad in applicability."
"I found this book interesting and thought provoking. As Alain Martin clearly indicates, running
an honest and ethical business does not mean that one should not do everything to understand and
anticipate market and competitive activity. I have found over the years that these activities can
and must be conducted fully consistent with the highest business principles. I found Martin's Factional
Grid an interesting tool, as well."
"What is called intelligence in Alain Paul Martin's book may be thought of by others as gathering appropriate information for which organization leaders should position their organizations to successful capitalize upon. This is the message that senior leaders--in DOD or outside of DOD--should take away. Intelligence, from my viewpoint, is only a subset of information and the concepts described in the book really provide a useful framework to grapple with this larger problem.
This book has a range of excellent concepts that are useful to DOD organizations
to improve their awareness of internal and environmental factors. This increased
awareness could help leaders anticipate emerging issues and concerns to DOD at
large. Mid-level leaders should know that the book is really about how an
organization can gather and manipulate information that is relevant to their
organizations and not get caught in the trap of thinking the book is primarily
about intelligence in a military sense. As we operate in increasingly
complex environments, information gathering, synthesizing, filtering, and
distributing are incredibly important organizational tasks. This book
helps people think about and approach the complexity and uncertainty
organizations face today."
"Alain Paul Martin has produced a book that allows decision-makers to improve their ability to understand
how intelligence professionals link the dots between collection, analysis and interpretation."
"Decision-makers who carefully read this remarkable book will improve their ability to connect the
often-neglected dots between intelligence collection, analysis and interpretation. Alain Paul
Martin's framework and road maps are excellent."
"At present, one of the most important strategic management challenges is understanding and
enhancing the process of transforming vast amounts of information into useable knowledge.
Alain Martin's book is an excellent guide to meeting this challenge. He provides a structure
and format that enhances our understanding and creates useable knowledge. I highly recommend
that all managers and leaders read this book with a view to gaining informational insights and
practical knowledge that can be applied to either everyday or crisis situations."
"Must Reading. Alain Martin proposes a solid contemporary vision of risk management, with a rigorous
method that is simple, practical and very effective, regardless of the size and current situation
of the firm. Today, no organization is immune to surprises or perturbing events. We must learn how
to promptly decipher the meaning of these events in order to manage their impact. Martin's framework
is equally useful to effectively plan and manage strategic change involving stakeholders with various
vested interests. I recommend this excellent book to those who must lead their organization to the
cutting edge, or simply wish to be equipped to better manage uncertainty."
"I sincerely hope incumbent members of the Defence Department will read this book, and that it be used
in the instruction of all at military staff colleges, so that application of its guidance will assist
all levels of national defence management in "harnessing" the powerful intelligence factors. Not only
will the lessons be instructive for all, but also, the book will be an invaluable resource for its
"Ninety percent of the information used in organizations is internally focused and only ten percent about the outside environment. This is exactly backwards." -- Peter Drucker
As usual, in one pithy phrase, the management sage Peter Drucker captures the central problem facing organizations in an uncertain environment -- they are looking in the wrong place. This sin has an even greater cost when things are volatile -- as they are today. The natural human tendency in rocky times is to pull in antennae, and hunker down in the cocoon of the controllable. However, the effective leader understands that volatility is an opportunity for achieving greatness because the prepared organization can jump ahead of its ostrich-like competition.
Yet, there is little business management advice on how to combat these natural human tendencies and systematically scan, analyze and act on the uncertain environment. Michael Porter, in his classic works Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage did dole out useful advice on how to gather competitive intelligence, but he did not opine on how leaders can systematically take action to turn intelligence into commercial advantage. Alain Martin's new book Harnessing the Power of Intelligence is a compendium of practical advice and well tested management processes that facilitate this transformation from intelligence to value.
Martin's competitive intelligence framework is based on research on a number of companies including American Express, Boeing, Dell, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, and Microsoft. Within the framework are a number of core tools that the author has applied in businesses, government entities and the military. In my judgment, there are three key items. First, the book has the most up to date and complete list of intelligence sources. For example, Martin cites the University of California at Berkeley "Invisible Web" project, which has shown that search engines only document about 15% of publicly available business intelligence, because the vast majority of it is, either not in a standard hypertext format, or not linked to a public domain name (the so-called "silent campers"). Second, his framework on issue incubation shows that large scale issues go through a relatively predictable process of evolution and development. Many leaders make the mistake of getting on an issue too early or too late. The issue incubation process delineates ways to recognize the progression of topics, and provides advice on if, when and how to intervene. Third, Martin has a tool called Factional Analysis Grid that helps a manager analyze who is likely to influence a volatile situation (from allies to adversaries). This tool is much richer than the traditional stakeholder analysis for it includes roles that do not fit in the normal economic calculus. For example, he includes "fanatics" in the analysis -- people whose sole purpose is to disrupt. A leader can take the advice in this book and use it to guide outward looking intelligence, assess the current state of issues (or do a triage on a surprise event), and then take concerted action.
At points, the book does suffer from the same weakness of Porter's books in that in its desire for completeness the text often has a "list-like" feel. But, on balance this book provides a framework full of tested tools to turn uncertainty into value.
* Dr. John J. Sviokla is a principal and US Advisory Innovation Leader with PwC. He also serves on PwC’s Advisory Leadership Group, the Global Thought Leadership Council, and leads The Exchange — an ongoing think tank for PwC clients and world class business leaders. Previously, he served as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Innovation Officer at Diamond Management Consultants.
With our attention focused on post September 11 terrorist threats, an explosive Middle East situation and the demands of the ever-expanding knowledge economy, a new book offers a refreshing and practical perspective on dealing with intelligence. Alain Paul Martin's Harnessing the Power of Intelligence, Counterintelligence & Surprise Events is a distillation of years of experience of working with corporate strategy, intelligence and counterintelligence.
Martin, who provides strategic
consultancy to major international clients, gives us powerful tools to better
use intelligence at the national and corporate level. For instance, his "value incubation
framework" allows the user to anticipate and see how the linkages between
seemingly isolated events can often lead to major tidal waves. He demonstrates
clearly with an analysis of major financial disasters including the $64 million
American Express Soybean Oil scandal, geopolitical events like the fall of the
Martin focuses on how intelligence can help an organization's staff make wiser choices, become well informed and be better prepared. His competitive intelligence framework uses examples from American Express, Boeing, Dell, DuPont, GE, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, Kellogg and Microsoft, among others. By considering real business and government situations, the book brings the framework alive and shows how it can be applied to win customers and allies, seize opportunities, anticipate threats, shield intellectual assets from adversaries, and learn about the key players, all by legal and ethical means. For example, his "Factional Analysis Grid" provides a new way to analyze and categorize allies, foes, and political leaders. Consider the current German position on Iraq. As early as 1999, Martin warned his clients that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is "a rider and hitch-hiker on foreign issues" who "can quickly shift his rhetoric to gain or maintain power." Moreover, the appendix on the BSE outbreak in Britain is written by Dr. Brian Morrissey, a leading authority on managing large-scale risks in health, food and agriculture. This rich case study, about a mismanaged high level of risk to a national population, will be of interest to anyone engaged in building public trust when managing high-profile issues.
While the book's style is uneven at times, the wealth of practical information it offers, including accessible resources, tools and references, cements its value. All in all, a most valuable and practical guide to an increasingly vital dimension of corporate and government survival.
* André Potworowskiis President of TMA-Technology Management Associates and Adjunct Professor in the Executive MBA program of the School of Management at the University of Ottawa. He consults to large R&D organizations on strategy and innovation. He was a Science Writer for the CBC. He holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and Computer Science from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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