Government sponsored competitive intelligence for regional and sectoral economic development: Canadian experiences
Can competitive intelligence (CI) be used to assist in regional and sectoral economic development? This article looks at intelligence initiatives (largely around training) sponsored by various government departments and agencies in Canada and their link to regional and sectoral economic development. The article provides examples of the kind of intelligence initiatives that have been used in Canada to support regional and sectoral (industrial) economic development. The article proposes a method for categorizing these regional and sectoral intelligence programs and suggests methods for assessing the impact of these programs on regional and sectoral economic development. The Canadian programs are divided into three broad categories 1) Government programs aimed at enhancing their own ability to develop competitive intelligence 2) Programs that are sponsored by the government for industry and others to develop competitive intelligence and 3) Programs sponsored by the government to help communities develop competitive intelligence for local economic development. Positive economic impacts were identified using program review documents, government officer reports and anecdotal evidence from program participant surveys. However, while the evidence does support positive impact a more comprehensive approach to evaluating these impacts should be considered in the future.