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Instinct: n the high seas or in the corporate jungle, a highly developed sense of instinct is the single most valuable tool an explorer can possess. An instinct for danger protects him from harm; an instinct for opportunity often leads him to unexpected riches.

Corporate Instinct is a company's collective "sixth sense"--its ability to see and think beyond purely rational information in order to react quickly to please its customers, outdo its competitors, and take advantage of new market opportunities. 

Corporate Instinct, according to Thomas Koulopoulos, president of the Delphi Group and author of Corporate Instinct, is more important than ever in the uncharted, ever-growing world of Internet information. Siliware customized search software has been designed with that in mind—to turn an ocean of information into a profitable stream of knowledge. 

Companies with well-developed CI succeed because they can: 

  •  Unlearn as quickly as they learn—to let go of outmoded ways and even workable ideas as they identify new ideas that better serve their markets. That is, they overcome "process memory," the deeply ingrained culture that can hobble a company and prevent quick, necessary change. 
  •  Set broad goals and be willing to “turn on a dime”—to act without all the information ordinarily considered in traditional decision-making.
  •  Use tools and a unifying framework to organize the sea of Web information into a relevant knowledge stream – for the most intelligent decision-making possible. This Herculean yet essential task is easily done with sophisticated, fully customizable search software like Siliware.
  •  Distribute that knowledge consistently and appropriately, via channels that network across the entire company—another benefit Siliware provides.
  •  Promote equal awareness and responsiveness: to external customer needs and to internal staff needs, ideas, and strengths at every level. Fully 50% of companies surveyed by Koulopoulos said "a good idea has more chance of resulting in a new start-up, or ending up at a competitor, before (their) own organization takes action on it.” 
  •  Encourage good ideas to thrive, even in a bureaucracy, with information that flows up as well as down--unimpeded by narrow job descriptions, committees, and endless meetings.
  •  Treat corporate change is a constant, not a crisis response.
  •  Share essential “corporate DNA” via virtual documents and knowledge with new team members, who now change constantly as old-style lifelong teams become outmoded. Siliware’s basic platform and custom-tailored suites of agents make sharing consistent, intuitive, and simple.
  •  Maintain the value of their unique intellectual capital by:
    •  digitizing and storing relevant, useful information;
    •  facilitating the connections among people;
    •  encouraging practices that create reuseable knowledge. In each case, Siliware provides exactly the tools to manage knowledge most profitably.
  • Treat “Process Assets” as salable products. Process assets include the tools for and results of monitoring the available oceans of internal (intranet) and external (website) information. They  include:
    •  How data and information are gathered and transformed into knowledge.
    •  How knowledge is delivered to the proper internal people.
    •  How knowledge used to improve your processes. 
    •  How much the process assets themselves can be adapted to new industries and situations—thereby becoming viable intellectual assets which can themselves become salable products. Using state-of-the-art data-mining software, Siliware is   designed to maximize the profitabiliy of any organization’s process assets. 
Intellectual capital is a company's greatest asset, says Koulopoulos, and universal connectivity  is the key to profitable Corporate Instinct.

But how does a CKO provide an acceptable level of certainty in the information to be used for decision making? How does he or she organize the company's own internal knowledge, and sort through the thousands of external websites that may hold the keys to profitable new products?

Siliware, a new generation of sophisticated, customizable, “smart” search software is designed to do exactly that. 


 When miners dig for gold or precious gems, they don’t know what they’ve discovered until they sift through the dirt and pebbles. And any gold or jewels must be cleaned, refined, and polished before they can bring a profit.

Siliware does the same with information. The software agents mine a great deal of promising data in an enormous field. The software then cleans off extraneous graphics and banner ads, and refines the text—bringing together a one-page list of “nuggets” of significant information covering hudrends of relevant sites. Only then does the human CKO step in to analyze those nuggets, further polishing the potentially profitable ones for distribution.

Example: a Macy’s analyst uses her specialized Siliware suite of search agents to data-mine hundreds of retail-related sites. Siliware’s knowledge-mapped “smart” agents retrieve ever-changing Internet information on new pricing models, emerging industry trends, new products, competitors’ news, consumer advocate websites, chat rooms, and so on. The information is automatically placed in a directory structure or “topic tree hierarchy,” saving days of time. The analyst need only skim the website descriptors in the knowledge repository, and direct them with one click to the proper departments. Thus the company becomes that much more collectively "intelligent,” providing a further edge over the competition. 

Siliware not only locates relevant sites that humans miss, but deposits a text-only synopsis of information into an organized "knowledge repository" without having to visit and explore each site individually. Superfluous graphics and ad banners are eliminated; so is the need for clicking on endless lists of “Items 1-10, 11-20, etc.” 

Siliware software search agent suites can be custom-tailored for firms in any field, from auto manufacturers to tour operators to pharmaceutical research. Siliware currently offers suites with 129 agents, mapped to most of the basic and general Internet resources, which automatically data-mine HotBot, Alta Vista, Infoseek, and Macromedia websites, plus JavaSoft, IBM, and Microsoft; and more.

Siliware programmers also create additional resources on demand, either downloaded from Siliware’s website or provided on a CD-rom. Siliware’s search software is “self-healing”: Once the initial customized software is installed, users are automatically requested to upgrade it (via the Internet, at no further cost) the moment it changes. 


Capturing the knowledge of experience in living, virtual on-line documents preserves the company's ever-evolving "process knowledge" better than anything in file cabinets. Such documents are fluid and easily changed to reflect what's there, what's approved, what's released...and employees have the means to propose significant suggestions as soon as they apply. In this way, adds Koulopoulos, CI involves far more than simple information management. 

In volatile industries, the traditional "team" is becoming outmoded; people are continuously replaced while the organization itself continues to function. This is why building knowledge on-line is essential, says Koulopoulos. "Losing the knowledge in people's brains (through downsizing, attrition, etc.) is a constant threat to the intellectual capital of the organization." Sharing the "corporate DNA" of the knowledge process is essential for new team members. Organizations grow because their employees learn and reuse their corporate knowledge constantly. They instinctively make new connections that suggest improved services and innovative products.


Helming your boat, you notice dark clouds on the horizon. Is it a squall, or a storm? Should you change course? Reset the sails? Use motor power? Radio for help?

According to Koulopoulos, the answers to those questions are less important than knowing, "What tools am I using to evaluate visible information about the weather?" 

"Old salts" rely on instinct--developed over years of experience. Modern captains with GPS and the Weather Channel may have more information, but their decisions depend on knowing how to read and interpret those tools—coupled with past experience. And both captains are limited by the strength and knowledge of their crews. 

In an emergency, reams of weather datate are useless; you need small pieces of information now. Using Siliware as a corporate knowledge tool finds this relevant information, and identifies the most important pieces of it—bringing useable knowledge to managers and staff at all levels, automatically making your “crew” stronger and smarter.

Developing Corporate Instinct, then, depends on:

  •  Continually capturing the right information,
  •  Making it easy to access by those who need it, 
  •  Keeping it relevant, and
  •  Coupling it with ever-updated skills and processes, including:
  •  Developing Metaskills, the skills that allow a company to continually evaluate and re-build its own key skills. That means fostering a culture that encourages constant questioning and readiness for change. And without contactly updated information, profitable change is impossible.
  •  Using Process Visualization to keep overall goals in sight. An overspecialized workforce can't see the big picture. Like galley slaves chained to their oars, they can’t report on worn sails or approaching ships; they can’t use their collective strength to head off a crisis on deck. Siliware gives employeeds at every level a “crow-nest view” of their company’s growth and their industry’s direction. 
  •  Using Information Sensors to control information overload and quickly direct information to the right people. This requires more than traditional information management, and is a premier benefit of using "intelligent" Web search software like Siliware. 


A company's marketing opportunities are limited only by the bounds of its intellectual assets--and its ability to translate those assets into profitable action. Developing Corporate Instinct is crucial in remaning competitive, and it begins with using Siliware to identify relevant information and transform it into useful knowledge. 


Adapted from information in  the book "Corporate Instinct: Building a Knowing Enterprise for the Twenty-First Century" (Van Nostrand Reinhold) by Thomas M. Koulopoulos.

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