CI 303 – Structured Intelligence Analysis Techniques

WHEN:  November 1, 2024 Virtual
SUMMARY: This course introduces students to a class of analytic techniques that contribute to the disciplined and objective analysis of intelligence.  The techniques covered in the course come from both business and intelligence community sources and will add to students’ toolkits of relevant analytic frameworks for competitive intelligence analysis.

Instructor (Heather) was fantastic – very knowledgeable and personable. She brought amazing first-hand
industry knowledge & real life application. Great course. – GENESYS

kevin curren

In this course, you will develop a toolkit of structured analytic techniques (SATs) that have been selected by ACI faculty as very relevant and valuable frameworks for competitive intelligence analysis.  They are highly complementary to traditional business techniques (such as Porter’s Five Forces and Value Chain Analysis) and provide analysts with strategies for managing, organizing and evaluating data in a structured and unbiased way. The SATs also enhance critical thinking skills and improve the impact and quality of intelligence findings, insights, and recommendations.  Using a combination of lecture, case studies, and exercises, students will have the opportunity to learn and work with this class of analytic techniques in a practical, collaborative, and challenging class environment.

You will learn:

  1. Novel structured analytic techniques to improve critical thinking skills
  2. How to select the right SAT for your intelligence projects and problems
  3. How to deploy techniques including the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses, Key Assumptions Check and Devil’s Advocacy in a series of fast-paced, practical class exercises
  4. How to use SATs to bolster the credibility and accuracy of your intelligence analysis

Here we list the key questions that this seminar addresses. If you can answer “yes” to three or more of the 10 questions posed for this course, it will meet your needs.

Do you need to: 

  1. Learn how to create measurable impact around your analysis?
  2. Better assess the credibility of your intelligence?
  3. Understand how to properly conceptualize intelligence problems independent of your customers?
  4. Identify the right questions to ask to support answers conducive to decision-making?
  5. Know how to generate a solid hypothesis and understand its importance to intelligence analysis?
  6. Understand the importance of critical thinking and how to apply it to the analysis process?
  7. Recognize cognitive bias and understand how it can affect your analysis?
  8. Learn how structured analytic techniques (SATs), like Analysis of Competing Hypotheses and Key Assumptions Checks, can increase the effectiveness & efficiency of intelligence?
  9. Know how to construct an analytic framework to conduct an intelligence assessment using various SATs?
  10. Learn how to become a credible objective devil’s advocate?

All ACI programs teach students how to overcome the most challenging competitive intelligence issues. The following are sample lessons taught in this course:

Critical Thinking

The industry your business has been leading for years is undergoing change; the company is facing significant external forces. There are multiple factors disrupting the business that everyone is generally aware of, but management needs to identify the biggest issues and understand how to address them to find a way forward.

  1. Is there a clear understanding of the question that needs to be answered?
  2. Is the team focused on the right issues?
  3. How can you help your stakeholders objectively consider multiple viewpoints and think independently of their expectations?
  4. Can you effectively challenge stakeholders’ beliefs (play devil’s advocate) to help them see other possible outcomes?

Understanding Bias

A key business category is suddenly seeing significant growth. The company wants to ensure it maximizes this opportunity and maintains its competitive advantage but is basing many of its decisions on what has worked in the past and what it assumes about the present without fully understanding the current climate and assessing likely futures. You must help them move quickly while testing their assumptions with the right data and insights.

  1. How do you provide an understanding of the unconscious bias that’s happening in your company?
  2. How do you identify stakeholder bias and effectively respond to it?
  3. Can you run alongside the development process once it’s underway to help guide decision-making for an optimal outcome?
  4. Can you recognize your own biases?

Structured Analytic Techniques (SATs)

Your company is considering expanding into an undefined market but is unsure of how the market will evolve and who its competitors are. While the team responsible for creating the new business believes it knows enough to successfully enter the space, they are looking to identify who else might enter this market and understand the ways in which it might develop over time.

  1. How can you determine which structured analytic technique would be best suited to helping the team understand the market it’s entering?
  2. How can you help the business assess a new market and guide them in understanding their competitors?
  3. Have the decision-makers thoroughly explored the question from all angles?
  4. Does the team have enough information to make informed decisions, or does it need more?
  5. Do you know the assumptions under which the team is operating and whether it has considered multiple outcomes?