Peripheral vision

Five things that caught my eye:

Intelligence Briefs

Innovation metrics?U.S. Department of Commerce advisory committee will report this fall on its effort to define metrics for measuring the impact of innovation on the economy. / CFO magazine (June 2007)

Avoiding group-think: U.S. spy agencies are starting to acknowledge that they need to recruit more racial and ethnic minorities, especially first-generation Americans who could help fill critical gaps in knowledge and analysis. The Washington Post (15 August 2007)

Age discrimination: Employers must prepare for more age discrimination claims by unsuccessful job candidates age 40 and older, as the labor pool ages and courts reject traditional legal defenses. — Workforce Management (20 August 2007)

Prices & Costs: Record prices for wheat, the main European Union grain crop, are driving up costs for livestock producers, millers and biofuel refiners. The Wall Street Journal (4 September 2007)

Kiddie domains: A small but growing number of parents are getting domain names for their young kids, long before they can do more than peck aimlessly at a keyboard. It’s not known exactly how many, but the practice is no longer limited to parents in Web design or information technology. — Associated Press (discovered via Innovation Watch / ABC News)

Online market insights: Consumer research firm Packaged Facts has unveiled a series of reports that offer consumer goods marketers a look at product trends and retail insights about eBay Inc.’s online marketplace (which has 241 million users worldwide). —

CFOs predict: The top business risks through 2009

Top five business risks through 2009:

  1. Competition
  2. Pricing and currency
  3. Economy
  4. Supply chain
  5. Property*

* Fire/explosion, mechanical/electrical breakdown, natural disaster

Note: 62% of financial executives expect risk from competition to increase through 2009, while only 4% expect it to decrease.

Top five emerging business risks through 2009:

  1. Change in competition
  2. Government/regulation
  3. Pricing volatility
  4. Variable client demand
  5. Political threat

Note: Terrorism, and pandemic, ranked very low.

Base: Survey of 500 financial executives in North America and Europe (including CFOs and treasurers) who work for companies with at least US$500 million or more in annual revenue.

Source: “Managing Business Risk Through 2009 and Beyond,” FM Global, a property and casualty insurer, Johnston, R.I., May 2007

Related: What CFOs worry about

Higher gasoline prices may boost online shopping

Higher gasoline prices are causing consumers to change their driving behavior, as well as to cut spending on luxury items and even groceries, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers commissioned by Online retailers may see benefits from higher gas prices as 22% of the respondents indicated that they’re making more online purchases to save on the cost of driving to the store.

Furthermore, 10% said that they’d canceled all or part of their vacation plans as a result of higher gas prices; and 12.8% said they had chosen closer vacation destinations.

Online survey with 1,000 respondents resulting in a +/- 3.1% maximum sampling margin of error at the 95% confidence level. Survey conducted by Amplitude Research, April 2007


Consumers have boosted online spending in part as a way to save on gas, according to a new report released by Decision Direct Research, the marketing research division of Millard Group Inc. The survey of 55,000 consumers showed that 19% of respondents have “significantly” increased their online spending over the past year and another 39% report that their spending has increased “slightly.” When asked why they increased their Internet shopping, “saves gas” posted an increase of 13 points over 2006, while “saves time” increased by six points. — DM News, 13 September 2007