On the relationship between competitive intelligence and innovation

Jonathan Calof    
Nisha Sewdass    


Innovation research suggests customer, competitor and market knowledge areimportant requirements for innovation. Researchers in competitive intelligence (CI) haveproposed that there should be a relationship between CI and innovation. Yet despite both fieldsrecognising the need for CI and related areas for innovation in their theories, there have notbeen many empirical studies that look at CI and innovation and those few studies that do existhave limited focus and have only looked at a small subset of CI variables (for example collectionsources). The aim of this study is to examine if there is a relationship between CI andinnovation. This was done by surveying Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professional(SCIP) members and those attending SCIP events, and asking them about their intelligencepractices and how innovative their company was. Ninety-five questions were asked about CIstructure and organization, intelligence focus, information sources used, analytical techniquesused, communication methods, and the management of the intelligence efforts. Of the 95competitive intelligence measures used in this study, 56 (59%) were significantly correlated withthe study?s measure of innovation. The measures within the CI organizational elements and CImanagement categories had the highest percentage of measures significantly correlated withinnovation (90% and 89%). Four of the CI measures had statistically significant correlationsabove .300. These included the extent to which business decisions in the organization werebetter facilitated/supported as a result of intelligence efforts (.355), the number of performancemeasures used in assessing CI?s performance (.322) and decision depth (.313), which is ameasure of the number of decisions that utilized CI. As a study of this nature measuring therelationship between CI and innovation has not been conducted previously, the findings can bebeneficial to organisations using innovation to succeed in the competitive environment.

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