We get a lot of questions about what information sources we use in our trend analysis work. A couple of months ago we posted on our favorite trends sources.
We also follow several of the major consulting firm thought leadership sites. For example, yesterday's post on trends featured information from Bain and Company and tuesday's post had info from the Boston Consulting Group.
The consulting firm sites are interesting because they do sophisticated analytical work, but usually publish information that's easy to read and digest. Also nice is these sites are free (registration required).
While targeted at large corporations (the clients of the large consulting firms), there's a lot of information that small businesses can benefit from.
Our favorites are:
McKinsey Quarterly: Now free, we even followed this site when we had to pay for it. McKinsey is one of the oldest and most respected management consulting firms and the site covers a wide range of business issues.
Bain Insights: Bain is one of the elite "big 3" strategy firms (along with McKinsey and BCG). Bain's extensive private equity practice means they work with mid-market companies in addition to large corporations. This means their information is often applicable to smaller businesses.
Strategy + Business: Booz and Company is the strategy spin-out from the venerable consulting firm Booz, Allen. Strategy + Business has been around for a long time and has successfully made the shift from print to online. Nice range of articles.
BCG Perspectives: A new site from big 3 strategy firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG). I just started following it, but I'm impressed with what I see so far.
An interesting trend side note is how aggressive the strategy consulting firms have gotten around public thought leadership. It wasn't that long ago that these firms only shared information like this with their clients.
It shows that even these firms - once described to me as "exclusive, elusive and elite" by a Big 3 partner - are being changed by the Internet and information transparency.