At an Austin area SCIP meeting I was inspired by the keynote speaker Dr. Jay Paap. Paap is a seasoned technology and innovation management professional and now a faculty member at Sloan Business School at MIT. Most companies come up with an idea and then they ask CI to determine the market. Paap suggests putting this on its head. Use CI to gather information on how the market is changing to determine how companies could capitalize on that change and create a solution to solve a new problem. Paap is a proponent of using competitive intelligence early in the process of innovation. CI can "help anticipate needs by looking at leading industries and external forces affecting your customers" and "anticipate technologies by monitoring sources of disruption..."
"Innovation starts with intelligence." Competitive Intelligence can help companies manage risk by developing business cases when hard numbers are lacking. CI can be used to anticipate the drivers of innovation, adoption of new technology, competitors intentions, and it can provide inputs for project selection, execution, and review. CI "ensures that decision about innovative activities are based on the best available information."
Paap definitely understands the value of information and competitive intelligence. Seeing how CI informs innovation adds more value to the CI service and helps companies see the return on investment.