Meet Dr. Avner Barnea, of BIU’s Department of Political Science. Dr. Barnea is a lecturer in the Military, Security and Intelligence Program at BIU’s Department of Political Science. His doctoral dissertation on national and commercial intelligence failures received the 2016 Yoel Ben-Porat Award for Advanced Warning Intelligence.
Putting his expertise to work, Dr. Barnea says, “A good example of a colossal business failure is Nokia.” In 2007 Apple, until then a computer company, invaded the mobile market with the iPhone. As a result Nokia, until then the world’s largest mobile phone company, was demolished. Dr. Barnea claims it was Nokia’s complacence that caused it to disappear. “Nokia knew what was going on in the mobile market, but hugely underestimated the risks involved. It’s a cautionary tale. My research examines how to correctly analyze competitive intelligence, and how to use it to stay one step ahead of the competition.”
Dr. Barnea acquired his practical experience serving in the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) for nearly 25 years, and another fifteen years as a strategic consultant for leading corporations in Israel and around the world.
Academically, Dr. Barnea conducts comparative studies between security and competitive intelligence. “Just like states, commercial organizations, too, don’t like to be caught off guard, so nearly all commercial companies in the world, Israel included, have some sort of intelligence mechanism,” explains Dr. Barnea. “If you want to stay in the game, you have to study the field, keep track of competitors and their new developments, new products being launched, and market demands.” Dr. Barnea trains his students to detect significant bits of business data and make correct use of it. “One of the great business success stories is Microsoft. In the 1980’s and 90’s it faced huge competition. Bill Gates succeeded in understanding the market needs and leveraged this information to the benefit of his company. He launched Windows, thus creating a competitive edge, preserved by the many upgrades that ensued. Today, Windows basically dominates the OS market.”
Alongside his academic responsibilities, Dr. Barnea serves as Chairperson of FIMAT – Israeli Competitive Intelligence Forum, and as a member of the board of directors of SCIP – Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals Association, which awarded Dr. Barnea the SCIP Distinguished Member Award in 2016.
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