Designing a curriculum for training CI professionals requires an open-minded perspective and humility regarding the profession. It’s not a standard profession, it’s multidisciplinary and it requires a unique skill set.

Our latest survey asked CIPs™ which of our courses served them best in their careers.

Here is the gist of the responses: On a scale of Extremely Valuable, Very Valuable, Somewhat Valuable, Not Valuable at All, 84% of the responses marked the entire program (CIP-I™ and CIP-II™) Extremely or Very Valuable. Excluding two of the lower scored courses, the program Extreme and Very Valuable went up to 90.07%.

Individual courses

The ranking of individual courses was specifically about “value to your career”. Courses varied in their ranking. The leading course was Cross Competitor Analysis, which teaches how to draw a strategic clustering map which will start a dialogue with top management, a topic of great interest (and great pain) for Competitive Intelligence Professionals.

Next was respondents’ “wish list” which revealed pain points. Asked to rank-order 5 predetermined topics, the leading issue came out as How to use AI, followed by How to Talk to Bosses who Don’t Want to Listen and then How to Measure CI ROI. Data analytics and How to Organize a CI function topics were less popular. It seems obvious (to me) that if your problem is a boss who doesn’t want to listen, your ROI will be problematic. Alas, AI won’t help. Vendors/forums selling you AI “solutions” are preying on your desperation.

We took the survey results and adjusted our curriculum. We dropped a course with the lowest ranking and added two new ones addressing the wish list.

Fundamentals don’t change

When we asked people to free-style list any other topic they wished we offered, there were only 17 responses (out of 70), which suggests most were satisfied with what we offered. These 17 had no clear theme (word cloud came out cloudy), but one response summed it up for me:

“Whatever can help me elevate my value beyond how big of a stick I can fetch.” I hear you. I feel you. I cry with you. AI won’t help here either. Here is more evidence.

The most impressive finding

I asked: “If you moved to other functions, was the Competitive Intelligence training helpful?” The scale went from not really (0) to definitely (100).

The score came in at 93.

For decades we advocated CI training as a career tool, not just in Competitive Intelligence. Understanding industry dynamics is as critical to all managers and all executive as understanding a P&L. It is actually the reason the P&L looks like it does…(for better or worse). Even though we estimate around 50% of our ACI Competitive Intelligence Professionals move to other jobs, they still use CI: