The Backstory, and an explanation…
My entire 20+ year career is about research. For nearly a decade, I wrote a popular column for Competitive Intelligence (“CI”) Magazine and traveled the globe to give countless conference presentations. That all took place while running Clew LLC, a “CI” firm.
My audiences included researchers and business leaders of all stripes. Topics were always about “finding stuff out,” with emphasis on “researching people.” That means understanding who does what in this world, who they do it for, and how all those people, places, and things relate to one another.
Well, that last sentence kind of oversimplifies what my presentations really covered.
They were much more granular, from in-depth person profiling to modeling and mapping networks of people and organizations, alongside dozens of other topics. All material came from a lifetime of consulting experiences, including real projects for my clients.
The conference speaking invitations became incredibly diverse, and tied to multiple professions that obsess over “finding stuff out.” That includes conferences for fields like HR and recruiting, sales and business development, competitive intelligence, market research, information management, library science, journalism, and so on.
Day-to-day consulting led me to identify one key strategy that produces the best project work: target human sources.
That might feel like the exact opposite of online or electronic research, though those are still critical. For context, here’s a look at what a “researcher” typically does:
Looking back, the most effective approach feels obvious: