Is Competitive Intelligence Without Key Assumption Checking Just Lots of Words?

Is Competitive Intelligence without Key Assumption Analysis just lots of words?

We have mentioned this once or twice. But in case you haven’t read one of our articles before, we will repeat it. Great Competitive Intelligence is about asking great questions. And spending time doing excellent analysis of the information you find is the cherry on the cake. In this article, we ask, is Competitive Intelligence without Key Assumption Analysis just lots of words and graphs on a page?

Key assumptions checking is critical

So you get it. Key assumptions checking is critical and should be the foundation of all the analysis you do.

If you are not doing Key Assumption Checks

And guess what? If you are not doing Key Assumption Checks, then you are likely to make faulty conclusions. And you are creating more uncertainty within your Intelligence. A wrong assumption can change the perception of everything.

Benefits of Key Assumption Checks

Conducting Key Assumptions Checks are excellent for the following reasons:

  • Reduces the chances of jumping to conclusions.
  • It makes you look closely at the information that contradicts a fundamental assumption.
  • Isolates hidden relationships and links between key players.
  • Identifying assumptions helps explain the logic of the analytical arguments.
  • Isolates and questions potentially suspect logic.
  • Assists you in finding indications to cause doubt or support an original assumption.

Another viewpoint

Another perspective could be better or complement your viewpoint. So, before you start anything, write all the assumptions associated with the situation. Brainstorming with post-it notes and whiteboards. And work through the following process and ask these sorts of questions about the assumptions made:

  1. Articulate the stated and unstated premises, which are accepted as true
  2. Challenge every assumption. Ask why it “must” be true? Determine if every assumption remains the same under all conditions. Ask questions like this:
  • How confident are you that your assumption is true?
  • How strong is the evidence that supports your assumption?
  • What if the assumption you knew to be true in the past is no longer correct?
  • What evidence do you have to support your assumption?
  • Have things changed that makes your assumption no longer valid?
  • What circumstance or information will undermine this assumption?
  • Do you agree that your original assumption is no longer valid based on new information? If not, why not?
  • If your assumption is wrong, why do you think it could have happened?
  • Have you found any new insights during this process that could help your analysis?
  • What are the key assumptions that you’re making about your competitor?
  • What key assumptions are you making about your market?
  • Why must this assumption be valid?
  • Does the assumption remain steadfast under all conditions?

CIA Key Assumptions

Here are some Key Assumption questions directly from a CIA analysts handbook:

  • How certain are you that the validity of this assumption is accurate? And why?
  • What can explain the degree of confidence in the assumption?
  • What circumstances or information might undermine this assumption?
  • Could the assumption have been valid in the past but less so now?
  • If the assumption proves to be wrong, would it significantly alter the analytic line? How?
  • Has this process identified new factors that need further analysis?

Is Competitive Intelligence without Key Assumption Analysis just lots of words?

Great Competitive Intelligence is about asking great questions. And then doing the analysis. In this article, we asked is Competitive Intelligence without Key Assumption Analysis just lots of words? The analysis matters. It will make you stand out from the crowd. And Key Assumption Analysis should be on top of your to-do list.

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