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War rooms and Competitive Intelligence

The term “War room” comes from the military practice.
It refers to the HeadQuarters where the officers would decide how many soldiers should be sacrificed, and how to avoid the so-cynically-called “friendly fire”.
Now War has somewhat changed. It’s all business related.

Nowadays information is power. Only connect. Information streams are everywhere and you make your own mashup of it. You base your decisions on what you think you perceive of the situation and what you believe the right methodology is. For the best decision to be chosen, you would try to have identified the situation and the proper solution accordingly to the most objective point of view.
Reading multiple sources of information gives you multi-layered intelligence, and this way you can gain the edge against a less informed competitor. (e.g a market need, a Request for proposal, whatever can make you rich).
The problem is that if information is money, people tend to rush and soon your so precious information becomes outdated. Monitoring what is happening in real time is indeed the thing you want to do if you consider Business situations like War Games.

During presidential campaigns, a specific war room is often created, and all the thinking heads gather to coordinate the actions, the counterattack to be as efficient as possible.
Mediatic noise is always hard to follow, it can spread in minutes, and get out of hand.

In the specific case of French presidential campaigns, Segolene (left wing) has been under the constant pressure of the right wing War room, making each of her blunder visible on every blog, every newspaper articles, giving each right-wing politician the exact counter arguments to bash her. She has been so much attacked, that she spent her time trying to defend herself to gain a bit of credibility. She could not pass a single positive message. And each person defecting under her, was immediately interviewed and exposed to the journalists.
Nicolas Sarkozy (right wing), made some blunders, as well. But no blunder was left without a justification within the hour, and famous politicians would be podcasted on youtube explaining, or refining what the leader exactly meant.

A journalist asks Segolene,
Journalist: “how many submarines does the French army have?”
Segolene: “uuu? one?”
Journalist: “You sure?”
Journalist: “No, seven”
The day after, journalists were wondering if a woman like her should be given the power to use the atomic weapon.

But Sarkozy was asked the same question.
Journalist: “how many submarines does the French army have?”
Sarkozy: “four”
Journalist: “You sure?”
Sarkozy:”Yes, it’s four”
Journalist: “No, it’s seven, France owns 7 submarines”
Sarkozy:”You’re wrong. There are four submarines”

The following minutes, the war room went up a few degrees.
“We have actually four submarines at sea, the three others are not at the moment. Can we use that?”
“Not credible. Anyone has something else?”
“Yes, 4 of them have the ability to launch nuclear weapons. I think that’s the right argument”.
“Let’s go for that”.
Finally, everyone admitted that the journalist didn’t ask the question properly, and that Sarkozy answered correctly.

So don’t forget to bring your War room with you. It can be very handy.

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