There has been a lot written about “fake news” lately. Today anyone can publish anything and put it anywhere online, even if it is not true, not proven, not fact-checked, and not really news. Where does this fit in strategic intelligence research and analysis?
To the intelligence experts, this is actually nothing new. It ranks just as opinions, others’ analysis, hypotheses, and individuals’ observations; which are all incorporated into proper intelligence research and strategic analysis. It is one small component in triangulation analysis. Triangulation incorporates what is proven and considered fact, what some might consider opinions or estimates, and analysis.
For example, to forecast the size of a particular market, we first check to see what it was measured to be previously. Then we ask industry participants to estimate what they think will happen going forward, based on that previous measure. Finally, we pull in all the opinions and trends that might likely impact the forecast, and formally analyze the numbers to come up with an approximate forecast.
Taken alone, one person’s estimate, based on nothing but conjecture, is like fake news. It’s not a proven fact, and strategic decisions should not be based on it. However, when that one estimate is a component amongst many variables, coming together to be a trend, it can help hone in on a direction or a range. This approach can help with market sizing, forecasting, competitive landscape, market attractiveness, market entry strategy, and SWOT-TOWS. It is also an ideal aspect of the What, So What, Now What, Then What framework.
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