Adapted from Light Strategies for Innovation, William I Zangwill


Obtaining Competitor and Market Intelligence

Competitor intelligence provides a foundation for good planning and development of competitive and innovation strategies. Planning for innovation means not only planning for specific events, but preparing to manage risk and handle future uncertainty >>>

New Product Development: 10 Best Practices

A crucial role of competitor analysis is to forecast what products competitors will come out with and when. 

  • Gather information from your sales people, suppliers, distributors, and customers. Being on the front lines, these people often hear about a competitorís move first.

  • Have a hotline so that anyone with competitive information can immediately report it.

  • Assign people to stay on top of the situation and keep in touch with the market and leaders in the field.

  • Keep in contact with the key people who are making things happen, and have a special intuition for trends and events.

  • Obtain vision from special early warning teams that monitor the major segments of its markets.

Market Windows

Integrate competitor intelligence with technology intelligence and other information to identify market windows of opportunity Ė the interval of time during which a particular type of product can be profitably sold. Market windows are important because they provide indisputable targets and goals. Engineers need market windows as deadlines driven by the external realities of the market and competition, not by executive declarations. Competitive pressures are the most important factor in creating speed. The unmistakable threat of the competition coming out with an excellent product by a certain date is a mighty motivator. Market windows thus provide both motivation and credible deadlines, and determining these windows should be part of the planning process.  >>>

Case Studies Quantum

Quantum has early warning teams for PCs, laptops, work stations, and large computers. Early warning teams keep it touch with important customers and monitor competitors and technology. The teams identify what aspects are driving the market, and they monitor how these change over time. Especially important, the teams plot curves that show trends in features, performance, and cost.  >>>

Case Studies Komatsu

Komatsu scrutinized the trash behind the service centers of its major U.S. competitor, Caterpillar, to find parts that has failed and had had to be replaced. On the basis of this, Komatsu designed new models that were considerably more durable than its U.S. competition.

Case Studies Motorola

Motorola noticed a pattern in the purchasing of capital equipment by Japanese firms, which tipped the firm off that the Japanese were planning a major move to Europe. A couple of years later, when a half-dozed Japanese firms started selling consumer electronics in Europe, Motorola was prepared for it and retained most of its market share.



Tom Kelley quotes on innovation

Empathy means challenging your preconceived ideas and setting aside your sense of what you think is true in order to learn what actually is true that people arenít conscious of.

Tom Kelley