Which Competitive Intelligence Productivity Tools do we Use?

Which Competitive Intelligence Productivity Tools do we Use?

Today we ask Graeme Dixon which Competitive Intelligence productivity tools do we use. All are not specifically Competitive Intelligence related, and everyone can use them. 


Maybe it’s how my mind works, but this tool has everything. Notes, pics, silly ideas, projects, articles, web clippings all go into it. I also add most documents into Evernote. So everything is in one place and their in document search capability is excellent. £4 a month if you want to upgrade is a steal. Having 22,500 plus notes on Evernote they need to be organised. So I file my notes into the following notebooks:

Evernote Notebooks

  • @inbox. – @ in front, so the notebook is at the top of the list. Here I put every incoming note—a note from an email, a web clipping or direct. When I have time, I then sort the messages into other notebooks. 
  • 1. Regular bits. – Numbered, so they follow in order. This is where I put the notes I use all the time. The information we are constantly copying and pasting, CRM codes and raw notes. Raw notes is a single note where I put my ramblings and draft stuff for the week. End of the week, I make a new one, and the old one is saved elsewhere. 
  • 2. Crazy ideas and thoughts. – Where I put my ideas that come out of my head or something interesting seen on the web. Daft and interesting pictures and info graphs etc.
  • 4. Marketing tools and words. – A place to place notes associated with our marketing and copy.
  • 5. Receipts and stuff. – Where to put all the outgoing receipts and invoices.
  • 6. Intelligence project stack. – These are a group of notebooks dedicated to projects. Each project is given a codeword, so our client’s name is never revealed.
  • 7. Personal. – Where all the personal notes, emails, and general stuff goes.
  • 8. Business Admin. – A notebook where everything about the business goes.
  • 9. Checklists. – A set of notes on which our project, quality control and other checklists go. 
  • 10. Proposal, terms, agreements and NDAs. – Where all business development and legal agreements sit.
  • 11. OSINT. – A set of notebooks broken down into the different aspects of OSINT.
  • 12. Competitor Analysis playbook. – Where the draft words go for our Competitor Analysis workbook. A book that’s being written as a tool that anyone can use on a day-to-day basis. SME and Mid Market focused.

I have got to the point where I don’t use Microsoft Word or the Mac Pages at all. I either write my documents in Evernote or use the white space provided by Grammarly.


Because you don’t need to worry about speling and grammer when the words are coming out of your head and you don’t have time for full stops and you have a habit of finishing a sentence with a preposition at the end of a sentence at. It’s good but not perfect. 🙂


Checks Grammarly text and shortens sentences. It forces you only to use the words you need. Not a trait often associated with our industry.


The best (and simplest) mind mapping tool. I have tried most of them. Great for mapping out an industry, person of interest and competitor. 


For what I do, then a massive whiteboard or cork on the walls is a must. Apart from making you think you look clever or like Carrie Matherson from Homeland, it does help with pattern forming and timeline analysis. It really does.

Notebook and pencil

Simple and still the best. Now, moving onto something we all love. They appear to be unique and game changers if you like Post-it notes. But want something different. Other than happy customers, we have no affiliation at all with the product or company.


Bravestorming has introduced silicon post-it notes with magnets on the back. You can wipe them clean and move them around your desk. You can get a metal square that helps focus your mind. Very tactile, and you can take notes everywhere. Arrange them and bingo. Simple and powerful. Love em. Not as keen as their original paper versions. Ours never stick to the casing and can see why they have introduced Silicon.

We use them to move our thoughts around the desk. Then break down our research into its component parts. We look to collate the information and put them into categories. We put the info onto Bravestorming silicon post-it like notes. Move them around on a metal desk board or with a metal whiteboard. Move them, link them. Stack them.

Competitive Intelligence Software

We don’t usually use CI Software. We prefer one to most, but it would be unfair to give any clues away. If you rely on CI Software, you miss the point on the power of Competitive Intelligence. Also, it’s fair to say that Competitive Intelligence software is not built for a company like us. Most of the solutions are excellent monitoring and reporting tools. So if you have a reasonably steady set of competitors or targets, then you will get a benefit.

Which Competitive Intelligence productivity tools do we use

Today we asked Graeme Dixon which Competitive Intelligence productivity tools do we use. We hope you found some value from it. 

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