Chapter 15

Emerging Functions for Driving Competitive Intelligence at Regional Level1

According to Gonnot [GON 94], competitive intelligence (CI) offers a new way for the state to act in relation to businesses and offers new perspectives for the definition of development strategies of industries and service businesses. Consisting of research, the use and the protection of economic information, “CI aims to establish a new ‘partnership’ between the State and businesses, a partnership made possible by breaking down barriers to the circulation of information”. This initiative is linked to the defense of national interests: “for the State, support for economic information is also an aspect of the defense of national interests, while preserving the principles of a liberal economy open to outside competition”. To assist and to structure this partnership between state and businesses, CI structures have been established little by little in France, beginning in the period 1997–2000. Clerc and Pautrat define CI structures as follows: “a national competitive intelligence structure is conceived as a combination of practices and knowledge for the production and interpretation of knowledge, developed at national level with the participation of different institutions (the State, administrations, businesses, universities, networks of chambers of commerce, professional unions, etc.). A structure of this kind is distinguished by three aims:

– to develop specific and specialized teaching to increase ...

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