I’m sure you’ll agree with me that today’s leaders are expected to have a strategic mindset. We are expected not only to know our company’s strategy, but also to have an eye on the market, and the emerging issues and trends that may disrupt profitability.
But there’s enough to get through in a single day, without having to scour trade journals.
What’s needed is a way for leaders to create their own market intelligence system, so they are better equipped to spot emerging issues before they happen. While there’s no such thing as prediction, there are ways to extend our foresight.
In this blog we’ll look at simple techniques that will allow you to set up your own intelligence system in as little as 30 minutes.
1. Register yourself with a good RSS feeder like feedly.
RSS feeders are a great way to aggregate different streams of content into one place. My personal favourite is feedly, which I use on my desktop PC as well as my tablet.
It’s easy to register and login to feedly. Simply use your Google or Twitter account, or an alternate login method.
2. Find blogs and sources of information that connect you with your industry.
The best sources of intelligence used to be trade information like magazines focused on a particular industry topic.
This is no longer the case. Today blogs provide direct and rapid access to expertise in any industry.
Of my intelligence system, about 70% consists of blogs written by experts. The rest is made up of internet publications that concentrate on special areas of interes. For example, NetBanker is a great source of intelligence on emerging banking technology.
Use Google to locate and create a list of blogs and websites that represent the potential sources of your intelligence system. Once you have this list, setup each source as a ‘feed’ within your RSS feeder. Here is an example of mine:
If you wish, categorise these feeds into different subjects. This is a great way to streamline your reading habits.
3. Scan your new feeds on a regular basis.
Because there’s always new information, scanning through your feeds each day will keep you on top of any fast moving trends affecting your industry.
I scan my sources at least once a day. Whether it’s on the tram to work or just having a coffee, it only takes a few minutes to take a look at my latest feeds.
4. Save and share your favourite articles.
It’s one thing to read you sources of information, it’s another thing to save or share articles with others.
I save the articles I find most interesting. Preserving these articles by saving them allows me to create a digest of the information I perceive as most important. Over the course of a few months, I then have this invaluable intelligence backlog to keep my ideas fresh.
And you never know when someone will ask you for your perspective about the future. It pays to have a list already on the go.
Another way to categorise content is to share it with others. I share articles I enjoy three or four times a day through Twitter and LinkedIn. As well as sharing high-level trends with peers, this helps me archive those articles I find most interesting. I can look back at my Twitter or LinkedIn posts at any time to see what I’ve shared in recent months. Sharing knowledge with others and hearing their views is also a fantastic way to tease out the implications of trends.
I guarantee you if you follow these simple steps you’ll build up an incredible intelligence system in no time at all. Happy trend hunting.