An interactive map for competitive intelligence?
John Battelle is one of the best thinkers about online business. Recently, he decided to (literally) map the competitive landscape in that industry. His Points of Control map is an interactive, online tool for analysing who owns what, where there are conflicts between companies and where there might be opportunities. As Battelle himself says, the idea is not completely original, but the details, the interactivity and the later iterations have made it a unique tool.
The tool gets even more interesting, for example, each company's expansion routes are mapped:
A new iteration of the map focuses on potential/suggested acquisitions; while a crowdsourcing feature lets people vote on who should acquire whom. Some of these are not to be taken seriously (Dell to buy Apple) but some are more thought-provoking: SAP to buy Salesforce.com? Salesforce.com to buy LinkedIn?
The map is certainly fun to use, but that does not undermine the serious potential of this tool for competitive intelligence planning. Many wargaming and horizon scanning would benefit from something like this.