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Ask A Genius (or Two): Conversation with Dr. Sandra Schlick and Rick Rosner on Strategic Management Systems (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/04/15


Rick Rosner and I conduct a conversational series entitled Ask A Genius on a variety of subjects through In-Sight Publishing on the personal and professional website for Rick. According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. Dr. Sandra Schlick earned a score at 173, on the Concep-T. She is an expert in Strategic Management Systems. Both scores on a standard deviation of 15. A sigma of 6.00+ (or ~6.13 or 6.20) for Rick – a general intelligence rarity of 1 in 1,009,976,678+ (with some at rarities of 1 in 2,314,980,850 or 1 in 3,527,693,270) – and ~4.87 for Sandra – a general intelligence rarity of 1 in 1,759,737. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population. This amounts to a joint interview or conversation with Dr. Sandra Schlick, Rick Rosner, and myself.  

Keywords: Competitive Intelligence, Knowledge Management, Rick Rosner, Sandra Schlick, Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Strategic Management Systems.

Ask A Genius (or Two): Conversation with Dr. Sandra Schlick and Rick Rosner on Strategic Management Systems (Part One)[1],[2]*

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: For the starting session here, we will discuss things starting off with the information provided by Dr. Schlick. Then some commentary by Rick, and then this can provide some pace to start with the work on Strategic Management Systems, which is the specialty of Dr. Schlick. 

Sandra Schlick: I agree, best is to start with thinking about what a process is about. Within a process, you identify tasks in the first place. After that step, you need to look at how each process task interrelates with other tasks. Let’s look at the Competitive Intelligence (CI) process. Basically, the CI process deals with data identification and analysis that potentially influence a firm’s activities. There we have management tasks that highly relate to the conventional CI process (planning and focus, data gathering and analysis, communication of analysis outcomes and link to decision making). I have to show these processes, because there is no “strategic management” process per se. There are decisions, there are processes that focus on certain issues. I discuss a bid the relatedness of CI with other processes because there is a “web of processes” is what constitutes strategic management. From another viewpoint, we can say that if there influencing strategic decisions mean to relate to strategic management. I speak of two aspects here: synthesized information that can influence strategic decisions, and the varied organizational support to strategic decision making.

When looking at what strategic management is about, there is a source (The Association for strategic planning (2014) that describes criteria – which supports the arguments above:

– Systems approach (emphasizing the interrelatedness of processes)

– Change management

– Information for decision making

– Assessment

– Prioritization

– Supporting toolkit (terms, concepts, steps, tools, techniques)

– Integrate systems and align around strategy

– Deliver simple, clear, and practical benefits

– Incorporate learning and feedback

When looking at the link of the CI process to other processes, there are internal activities (Knowledge Management (KM) that deals with internal data of the firm), just because the data are analyzed in the firm and some firms (especially the big ones) are the main influencer of the market themselves. – please be aware that I try to explain rather complex processes in a short way, therefore I will skip some issues here. The main important is that the KM process (a process of data gathering and analysis itself) underpins the CI process by bridging the information gap between the CI analysis and the information to management for decision (an important step when doing CI).

Then we have quality, because we need to know the validity of our data. Because the term “validity” is too narrow (it is associated with the goodness of data), we enlarge that concept to “effectiveness” and “sophistication”. Hereby we refer to the process of CI as a whole. Its effectiveness is not just the goodness of its data at the usefulness of a decision (eg was it a good idea to expand, merge, or to launch a new product?). Sophistication looks at the construct of the process and the tools (eg advanced analysis methods? Advanced software? Emphasis on CI by issuing large teams or secondary tasks?)

Rick Rosner: From a personal perspective, I studied a lot of statistics. I took many semesters of it. I’m good at it in terms of my understanding of the concepts, but I can do zero statistical work because I don’t code. Statistics is all coding now, as far as I know. You have to be able to run sophisticated, multidimensional, and super powerful data analytics to do acceptable statistics now. All the classes I took; maybe, the last semester we worked with some statistics semester. Before that, all the former semesters were pencil and paper, which are obsolete.

When I think of “Knowledge Management,” I think of stuff going on, which is not entirely opaque to me but not entirely accessible to me. Because I do not even have the coding chops to get anywhere near it. That being said, the initial producers and the final clients/recipients of the knowledge management are people. So, at some point, you’re dealing with people and their limitations. I cannot talk about Knowledge Management in particular. I can talk about this: you can get information to any information-based questions, even non-information-based questions like opinions, via Google.

The percent of questions where I had to go to the library when I was a kid to look up stuff for a paper due on the theories of the universe. I had to go to the library and slog through books. Then maybe, something would have a pertinent point. However, close to 100% of the questions of some kid might have had to look in then library in 1991 can find through Google in a minute now, you would think that this would everyone smarter. In a lot ways, it has made people smarter. In some obvious ways, it has made us stupider.

We really can do amazing things with the access to knowledge, including things like driving, whether you use Google Maps or Waze or some other thing. You’re not going to get lost. You may be able to come up with ways to go, which saves 20% of your travel time. The ways in which easy access to knowledge makes us stupider is how everybody has been rendered pissed off and crazy by political propaganda coming at us in ways we can’t defend against it.

Because it comes to us via social media. We are adequately resistant to it. Another way that we are stupider is our constant use of devices. And our preference for the more delicious forms of information. Everybody loves information. But a lot of the information that we love is garbage, e.g., endlessly texting with your friends, endlessly posting nonsense on social media. So, one thing that Knowledge Management has shown is our strengths and limitations. Because we have unlimited access to knowledge now.

It has shown us to be limited in what we can do with it, as humans. We continue to behave in schmucky ways. Let’s use Star Trek, which first ran in the early to mid-1960s, it showed a world in which technology made people behave better, generally. It was a naively idealistic idea of the future, where Roddenberry wanted a flight deck that had people from a variety of nations and races, and genders. All getting along to achieve a common goal.

A lot of science fiction, I think, was sterile and naively thought that people would get smarter once we had adequate technology. Our current situation shows that that is not the case. I talk a lot without any basis in expertise in how we will work more and more intimately with AI in the future and more and more directly with AI and more and more directly with each other, as we invent ways to better and better transmit information among ourselves.

The deal is, one big problem is the end users are people and the objectives are people’s objectives. In the way that Gene Roddenberry hoped people would get better in the future, I can hope people plus AI will be less shitty than people. The more and more imbued with technology and Ai that we get, the more we will change.

We have been the same people genetically for 100,000 years. We aren’t any smarter; in that, we don’t have more native mental resources than the ancient Etruscans. So, to be optimistic about the future, you kind of have to hope human shittiness can be managed and mitigated by people becoming more and more intimately linked to each other and to AI.

So, the limitations of a single brain trying to process the information on its own will lead to the limitations gradually becoming ameliorated, I guess.

2. Jacobsen: Dr. Schlick, how does Rick’s more colloquial presentation of an understanding match and contrast with the more robust expert comprehension of the research and practice of Strategic Management Systems? When you’re looking at data identification, what are the types of data taken into account for these operations? What are the more common types of data one will find in a firm compared to other areas in which Strategic Management Systems are relevant? What about the idea of something less process-oriented and more decision and issues-focused? This is a counterintuitive idea.  How are these synergized decisions part and parcel of an overall “interrelatedness of processes”? What is “Change management”? Information for decision-making seems covered in the types of data question. What is an assessment for a firm in this context? How does one prioritize within a particular industry for the needs of said industry? The toolkit mentions concepts, steps, techniques, terms, and tools as foundational in the “supporting toolkit.” How are these defined within the context of Strategic Management Systems? How does one “integrated systems and align around strategy”? When selling the benefits to a firm of formal analysis, how do you “deliver simple, clear, and practical benefits? Finally, what are common forms of learning and feedback for a perpetual improvement of firms’ overall integrated operations, according to the Strategic Management Systems model?

Schlick: We have to either look at processes in a management-oriented way that means, in support of a company’s needs and in identifying patterns that potentially match for an industry, thus, an economic perspective. In contrast, we can look at it in a technical way by analyzing data or in a philosophical way by discussing similarities of processes and the way people conduct their lives and plan these. Therefore, I would not call my view a “robust” one or Rick’s a “colloquial” one but just different viewpoints from different angles of the same basic idea. I work mainly with qualitative data that allow me to either find patterns in similar processes, embed processes in the context of operating, strategizing and norming within a company, or to understand what processes are potentially about and when we have to stretch these into ad hoc formations or formal procedures. I also use qualitative data to understand how people can work along with processes and to identify their needs concerning a process – thus, being more flexible or predefined.

Talking about other huge concepts as change management and decision making, we need to be careful, because, when working with processes we always have to consider the unknown and implicit changes. The other side is that change management can be seen as a process itself – when working in an agile environment. The concepts of “decision making” are often overused, that is, despite we started with those concepts in a managerial view to identify strategies, sometimes it is overused for a single customer doing a decision – and mostly, it is not very fruitful. The reason is that decisions are coming from an analysis of data with an outcome and a recommendation – be it yourself analyzing a situation and then doing your decision, be it a management board receiving an analysis from his analyst team along with their recommendation. This is, of course, my view. When looking at the process of analyzing, we can find outcomes that put forward options. We can not say that there is “one” assessment” or “one prioritization” as this a) depends on a specific decision situation and b) on the competitive pressure of an industry and c) on the way a management board and their analyst team see “the world” and its challenges and opportunities. Concerning benefits: it depends if these are meant to be operational, strategic, or norm setting. Therefore, the outcomes of an analysis must match the targeted query. If a query (a question to the analyst team) is clearly formulated, we expect a clear answer – be it a solution for the problem or be it that a problem just does not have one. There are also no “common forms”, there are suggested ways of interactive development within companies for the employees, but the learning path of individuals is in a way individual. Lately, a lot has been done to offer online learning opportunities for all kinds of needs and stages – be it a single course, an academic grade, or professional development. On the other hand, online development within companies also became more relevant. We can see this happening in company databases for knowledge exchange and in their development of using offsite tools for their employees. The bottom line is that despite the learning abilities and the potential of processes, allowing employees following distinct steps being from onsite or offsite, much work is left to allow for flexibility at work. The key is that there is a need for interaction between the two poles of flexibility in tasks and work seeking big picture and innovation, and crystalline attitude that come from a) experience and b) from the depth and dedication for perfection.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Dr. Sandra Schlick has the expertise and interest in Managing Mathematics, Statistics, and Methodology for Business Engineers while having a focus on online training. She supervises M.Sc. theses in Business Information and D.B.A. theses in Business Management. Managing Mathematics, Statistics, Methodology for Business Engineers with a focus on online training. Her areas of competence can be seen in the “Competency Map.” That is to say, her areas of expertise and experience mapped in a visualization presentation. Schlick’s affiliations are the Fernfachhochschule Schweiz: University of Applied Sciences, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences, and AKAD.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 15, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020:

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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