Comai, Alessandro

FacultyGraduate School of International Management
PositionAssociate Professor
Last Updated: Nov. 28, 2019 at 18:50

Researcher Profile & Settings


    Comai, Alessandro


  • Graduate School of International Management Associate Professor


  • Oct. 2001Jan. 2016ESADE Business school Marketing PhD
  • Oct. 2001Jun. 2006ESADE Business school DEA
  • Sep. 1998Jun. 2000Universidad Pompeu Fabra MBA
  • Sep. 1996May 1997University of Coventry Engineering School B.Sc in Engineering

Association Memberships

    Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP)

Academic & Professional Experience

  • Jan. 2018- TodayAssociate Professor, International University of Japan
  • Oct. 2011Mar. 2012Part time Associate Professor (Type 2), University of Pompeu Fabra
  • Jan. 2005Jun. 2005Visiting Professor, TUT Tampere University of Technology
  • Sep. 2004Sep. 2011Part time Associate Professor (Type 1), University of Pompeu Fabra

Research Activities

Research Areas

  • Management / Management / Market Orientation
  • Management / Management / Social media analysis and visualisation
  • Computational science / Computational science / Text data Visualization
  • Management / Commerce / Open Innovation

Research Interests

    Market Orientation, Text data Visualization , Patent analytics, Open Innovation, Marketing Innovation, Marketing Intelligence

Published Papers

  • A new approach for detecting Open Innovation in patents: the designation of inventor
    Alessandro Comai
    The Journal of Technology Transfer Nov. 2019 [Refereed]
    The purpose of this paper is to understand to what extent Open Innovation (OI) is utilized in R&D departments by using patents as a main source. The paper adopts the "designation of the inventor" as a new method for detecting Open or Closed Innovation, a method which examines the type of relationship that exists between the inventor(s) and the patent applicant(s). Since the openness or closedness of an invention is mainly measured by analyzing a firm’s co-applicants, the patent’s designation of the inventor indicates whether or not inventors are employees of the applicant. The paper offers new empirical evidence about whether a patent is open or not without surveying inventors and it complements previous studies that failed to describe whether a patent is based on open or closed innovation. After studying a collection of 231 patents in the wind energy sector obtained from the European Patent database (EPO), descriptive statistics show that OI Patents (OIPs) where the inventor is under agreement represent approximately 90% of the total number of OIPs, which in turn account for more than 23% of the total number of closed and open types of patent. Additionally, the designation of inventor method is also able to identify closed innovation-based patents (CIPs). The results also show that a minority of companies utilize a hybrid type of OI, in which the inventors are composed of a mix of external individuals and employees. The results suggest that the method proposed yields a better understanding of how OI as well as other innovation strategies are utilized by firms in a particular industry or technological field.
  • Beyond patent analytics: Insights from a scientific and technological data mashup based on a case example
    Alessandro Comai
    World Patent Information 55 Dec. 2018 [Refereed]
    Although access to open and commercial digital sources is easily available thanks to the proliferation of the internet, R&D departments still face the challenge of how to analyze information from several sources. This paper addresses this issue specifically when technological and scientific information needs to be analyzed in an integrated manner. 12,577 families of patents, 2601 scientific papers and 706 news articles are combined, normalized and analyzed using their own metadata and text. A software tool is used to extract insights from semi-structured and unstructured data by means of text mining. Additionally, interactive force-directed graph visualization is employed to show the multiple relations of concepts during different time periods with regard to the entire technology ecosystem. Through a case study of 3D printing technology, this paper shows how to apply mashup and obtain the benefits, and it defines the challenges of using interactive visualization representation.
  • Competitive Intelligence Expenses: Organizational Characteristics and Environmental Contingencies
    Alessandro Comai
    ESADE Business school - URL Jan. 2016 [Refereed]
  • Design and implementation of a technological surveillance and competitive intelligence unit
    Alessandro Comai with Villarroel G., Carlos; Karmelic-Pavlov, Vesna; Fernández O., Antonella; Arriagada V., Catalina
    Interciencia - Journal of Science and Technology of the America 40(11) 751-757 Nov. 2015 [Refereed]
    We present the Technological Surveillance and Competitive Intelligence Unit, designed and implemented at the Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile, with support from the Innovation for Competitiveness Fund (2011), financed by the Regional Government. Through this initiative, human resources were trained and a service platform was implemented, with the purpose of strengthening the Technological Surveillance and Competitive Intelligence for various regional productive instances. The innovative merit of the unit is linked to the lack of similar units oriented to assist the productive sector in the Southern Andean region. It employs a methodology developed to match the particular characteristics of the region, adding innovative value to the fulfillment of the needs and requirements. The productive fields initially considered in this service platform, in accordance with the Regional Development Strategy for Arica y Parinacota, are: arid zone agriculture, water resources, renewable energies and, fishing and aquaculture. This initiative allowed for the creation of a specialized supporting area for micro, small and medium business in Arica and Parinacota, with the purpose of contributing to the development of such enterprises through technical support, analysis and monitoring in high priority and emerging productive areas, within the policies of the Regional Innovative Strategy for the period 2012-2015. This initiative will contribute in solving the productive stagnation of small and medium business of the region, which have not shown a sustained development, as observed in the indexes of regional economic and competitiveness in recent years.
  • Decision-Making Support. The Role of Data Visualization in Analyzing Complex Systems
    Alessandro Comai
    World Future Review 6(4) 477-484 Dec. 2014 [Refereed]
    Nowadays, managers and policymakers are overwhelmed by the volume of information coming from databases and the Internet. The ability to zero in on significant data and form reliable information sources is even more difficult. Choosing, collecting, analyzing, and managing data about global problems such as carbon emissions, earthquake warnings, climate change, or pandemics, for example, is no easy task. In addition, the wasted amount of data available from different kinds of sources make the job of interpreting events and anticipating changes more complicated still. Business managers, analysts, and policymakers need to deal with this issue by looking to new tools or models that were not available until now. This article explores how modern data and network visualization methods can help policymakers understand an ongoing situation in a relatively short time, as well as help predict future events by interacting with it. Examples of interactive visualization and network analysis are discussed.
  • Inteligencia competitiva: Logros y desafíos
    Alessandro Comai
    Profesional de la Informacion 2(5) 489-494 Sep. 2012 [Refereed]
    Description of some of the critical issues that a competitive intelligence and surveillance technology professional has to take into account when implementing such functions in an organization. The achievements and challenges summarized in the text come from the author's experience, both in the implementation of platforms and intelligence units in government and private companies in Spain and abroad, as well as from research work done so far.
  • Technology watch software for patents: An evaluation from the user's perspective
    Alessandro Comai
    El profesional de la Información 15(6) 452-458 Nov. 2006 [Refereed]
    The article analyses the needs of users, in terms of use, and the importance attributed to the different functions of the applications. Forty seven characteristics have been identified that can be of interest to professionals in the areas of technological monitoring and competitive intelligence. The authors performed an empirical study to verify which functions are used most frequently and which have had greater importance attributed to them. The article concludes with reflections about applying the results obtained.
  • Discover Hidden Corporate Intelligence Needs by Looking at Environmental and Organizational Contingencies
    Alessandro Comai
    Frontiers of e-Business Research 2004 II 397-413 Apr. 2005 [Refereed]
    The purpose of this paper is to put forward a research framework capable of detecting the hidden needs of a firm in terms of type of formal competitive intelligence program (CIP). The model will focus on the internal and external determinants which compel an organization to establish a formalized intelligence process. This study is concerned with measuring the competitive intelligence sensitivity of a particular organization in a particular context. The first part introduces two different approaches to the examination of the corporate and decision maker's needs which are generally used in the competitive intelligence field. Subsequently, it discusses the decision maker's role and the potential failure to determine the CI needs as well as the potential value of the CI program. The second part focuses on research questions. The third part discusses which types of external and internal factors prompt a firm to establish a formal CIP. The paper concentrates on putting forward the factors which are assumed to have the most significant analytical influence and through which it is possible to pinpoint which organizations need to establish a CIP as well as the type of process required.
  • Competitive Intelligence in Spain: a Situational Appraisal
    Alessandro Comai with Joaquín Tena Millán
    Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management 2(3) Oct. 2004 [Refereed]
  • Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on Competitors
    Alessandro Comai
    Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management  2(1) 2004 [Refereed]
  • Los Propósitos de la Inteligencia en la empresa: Competidora, Cooperadora, Neutral e Rival
    Alessandro Comai Joaquín Tena Millán
    El profesional de la Información 10(5) 4-10 May 2001 [Refereed]
    This article describes the different purposes that competitive intelligence can serve in a company. Three categories of intelligence arise from corporate needs, while a fourth one stems from personal requirements. Furthermore, the article describes the links between the industrial life cycle of the company or strategic business unit and global investment in competitive intelligence and its distribution, according to the three types of intelligence previously presented.

Books etc

  • Establishing a World-Class Competitive Intelligence Function
    Alessandro Comai and John E. Prescott
    Joint Work
    Barcelona, Emecom Ediciones ISBN 13: 978-84-935178-2-3  Mar. 2007  978-84-935178-2-3
    This workbook is the essences of a multistage research project and provides the foundation for building your World-Class Competitive Intelligence function. Competitive Intelligence represents a formalized, yet continuously evolving process by which the management team assesses the evolution of its industry and the capabilities and behaviour of its current and potential competitors to assist in maintaining or developing a competitive advantage (Prescott and Gibbons, 1993). The CI function can be divided into two main activities: (a) the operation, which includes working on intelligence products and project involving the gathering, analyzing and dissemination of intelligence based on intelligence requests from managers and (b) the administration, which focuses on the activities, actions and resources needed to manage the operational activity. These two activities interact; both are necessary for an e.ective world-class CI function. Most of the literature has focused on various aspects of CI operations such as collection techniques and analytical methods. Designing the administration structure of a CI function has been primarily examined in an ad hoc manner. The workbook, based on systematic research, reveals how to design a CI administration to achieve a world-class standard.
  • Mapping and Anticipating the Competitive Landscape
    Alessandro Comai with Joaquín Tena Millán
    Joint Work
    Barcelona: Emecom Ediciones ISBN 13: 978-84-935178-1-6  Dec. 2006  978-84-935178-1-6
    Anticipation is now an essential key for strategy! New disruptive business models, innovation, geopolitical forces, emerging markets all require constant attention and anticipation if a firm is to sustain its competitive position. Mapping and Anticipating the Competitive Landscape is a book in which a new perspective is introduced. The book helps identify which actors are sources of the critical changes in the environment having a significant impact on the organization. The anticipation of these changes means that the right action/decision can be taken in the right time frame. The model proposed in this book is practice-oriented. We consider that it can be used by private and public organizations for strategic purposes. It becomes a strategic weapon once the organization has included it in the strategic planning process. We therefore invite you, not only to read this text in detail, but also to procure success for your organization using the tool presented herein!
  • Software for Technological Patent Intelligence
    Alessandro Comai with Juan Carlos Vergara and Joaquín Tena Millán
    Joint Translation
    Emecom Ediciones, Barcelona ISBN-10 84-935178-0-1.  Sep. 2006
  • Inteligencia Competitiva y Vigilancia Tecnológica: Experiencias e implantación en España y Latinoamérica
    Alessandro Comai with Joaquín Tena Millán
    Joint Editor
    Barcelona: Emecom Ediciones ISBN-10: 84-611-0314-9.  May 2006
  • Software para la Inteligencia Tecnológica de Patentes: Evaluación de aplicativos informáticos y necesidades de inteligencia tecnológica
    Alessandro Comai with Juan Carlos Vergara and Joaquín Tena Millán
    Joint Work
    Emecom Ediciones, Barcelona - ISBN-10 84-609-9829-0.  Mar. 2006
  • The development of the Business Intelligence function in 4 Finnish case Companies
    Alessandro Comai
    Single Work
      Jun. 2005
    To manage the BI process effectively, companies have to manage the different kinds of resources which are available inside the firm, and also in the external environment, into an organized system. This process will give rise to the establishment of a BI function: a set of specific competencies focused in such a way as to help managers take better decisions and thus add significant value to their decision making process. The Purpose of this Visipro project is to understand how Finnish companies have developed their own BI function and how this process has been evolving with time. The research is also concerned with the understanding of the following: what are the tangible and intangible assets which have been used, what are the critical activities and stages which must be considered during the establishment of a BI capability and what level of BI processes have been achieved in the Finnish companies. To answer these questions 4 Finnish case companies will be studied between February and June 2005. The project is concerned with the establishment of a general BI framework which will be based on the experience of the Finnish case companies.
  • La Inteligencia Competitiva y el Contexto Estratégico de una Organización
    Alessandro Comai
    Inno-pharma  May 2005
  • La Inteligencia Competitiva en las Mejores Practicas Españolas
    Alessandro Comai with Joaquín Tena Millán
    Joint Work
    Emecom, Barcelona – ISBN 13: 978-84-935178-3-0  Oct. 2004
  • La Inteligencia Competitiva en las Multinacionales Catalanas
    Alessandro Comai with Joaquín Tena Millán
    Joint Work
    Emecom, Barcelona - (DL B. 24392-2004) ISBN-13: 978-84-935178-4-7  May 2004

Conference Activities & Talks

  • Cómo extraer Insights desde grandes cantidades de texto: caso práctico sobre conversaciones informales
    Alessandro Comai
    VISIO Nov. 2018
  • The power of Network Graph Viz: a visual mechanism for gathering insights form informal conversation
    Alessandro Comai
    Conference: NetSci2018 (EDSI 2017),  Jun. 2018
  • Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Network Analysis in Financial Services
    Alessandro Comai
    Goethe University Frankfurt Oct. 2017
  • Science ecosystem: Analyzing data through real-time interactive network graphs
    Alessandro Comai
    8th Annual Conference of the European Decision Sciences Institute (EDSI 2017) Apr. 2017
  • La Inteligencia Competitiva y su contribución al desarrollo de oportunidades en el Gran Caribe
    Alessandro Comai
    La Inteligencia Competitiva y su contribución al desarrollo de oportunidades en el Gran Caribe Sep. 2013
  • Inteligencia Competitiva y el desarrollo de la capacidad de anticipación frente a Oportunidades y Amenazas
    Alessandro Comai
    Talca University Apr. 2013
  • 7. Vigilancia Tecnológica e Inteligencia Competitiva aplicadas a las tomas de decisiones
    Alessandro Comai
    PROSPECTA Colombia 2011 – IV Congreso Internacional de Propecta Internacional de Prospectiva Estratégica y Estudio de Futuro – UNAD Sep. 2011
  • Early Warning
    Alessandro Comai
    PROSPECTA Colombia 2011 – IV Congreso Internacional de Propecta Internacional de Prospectiva Estratégica y Estudio de Futuro – UNAD Sep. 2011
  • Inteligencia Competitiva: Conceptos y Experiencias
    Alessandro Comai
    ESADECREAPOLIS – Barcelona, España Feb. 2011
  • El Sistema de Inteligencia Económica como Política Pública
    Alessandro Comai
    Congresso: Los nuevos desafíos de la Inteligencia Estratégica y la prospectiva frente a los mercados InternacionaCongresso: Los nuevos desafíos de la Inteligencia Estratégica y la prospectiva frente a los mercados Internacionales - University of Boyacá, T Sep. 2010
  • Inteligencia Competitiva: estado del Arte
    Alessandro Comai
    Universidad de Boyacá, Colombia  Sep. 2010
  • World-class CI function: A cluster perspective
    Alessandro Comai
    Université Europe-Méditerranée des clusters, Marseille, France Nov. 2007
  • How to select a Patent Analysis Software: a comparison between the demand and supply side
    Alessandro Comai
    DCIF - Deutsches Competitive Intelligence Forum - Dresden, Germany  Nov. 2006
  • Como desenvolver uma unidade de Inteligência Competitiva: um modelo basados nas melhores prácticas
    Alessandro Comai
    1ero Workshop Internacional UPIS de Inteligência Competitiva” - UPIS - Brasilia, Brasil  Nov. 2006
  • World-Class Competitive Intelligence Management
    Alessandro Comai
    ICC 2006 - Paris, France  Oct. 2006
  • La Evolución de la Inteligencia Competitiva en España
    Alessandro Comai
    I Congresso Ibero-Americano de Gestão do Conhecimento e Inteligência Competitiva- GeCIC - Curritiba, Brasil  Aug. 2006
  • Inteligencia Competitiva: una herramienta para la toma de decisión
    Alessandro Comai
    IV Jornadas InfoDIEZ – Business Intelligence, INFODIEZ - Universidad de Zaragoza Apr. 2006
  • La Inteligencia Competitiva como una herramienta Estratégica para la Empresa
    Alessandro Comai
    1 Jornadas de Inteligencia Empresarial Universidad de Málaga  Mar. 2006
  • Building and Managing a CI World Class Function in Japanese Technology Companies
    Alessandro Comai
    BTCI – Nihon University Oct. 2005
  • La Inteligencia Competitiva en España
    Alessandro Comai
    FESABID - Madrid  Apr. 2005
  • Discover Hidden Corporate Intelligence Needs by Looking at Environmental and Organizational Contingencies
    Alessandro Comai
    eBRF 2004 Sep. 2004
  • La intel·ligència competitiva a Espanya: desenvolupament actual I perspectives futures
    Alessandro Comai
    Bibliodoc: anuari de biblioteconomia, documentació i informació 2005  2004


  • Mira Analytics
    Alessandro Comai Software Sep. 2016 - 9999
  • Several consulting activities for companies like MSD, Repsol, Gallina Blanca GB, Affinity Petcare, MetroGas, AkzoNoebel, Petrobras, among others.
    Alessandro Comai The Others Sep. 2001 - Jan. 2018


  • CASE STUDY: Genbei: a Japanese company manufacturing beach sandals
    Alessandro Comai
     Oct. 2019
  • CASE STUDY: Supreme: the billion-dollar streetwear brand
    Alessandro Comai
     Sep. 2019
    Introduction Supreme was founded in Manhattan (NY) in April 1994. From the beginning, the design of this streetwear brand was inspired by skaters and artists from downtown New York. The Supreme brand rapidly became popular among the younger generation thanks to its original and disruptive style. However, the clothing is now worn by a wider audience that includes celebrities, actors and executives. The enormous success of the brand has attracted the attention of the specialist media, as well as renowned business and financial magazines, such as Business Insider, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Recently, the brand has been valued at more than one billion dollars.
  • CASE STUDY: Pink Lady®: Marketing Apple Fruits
    Alessandro Comai
     Aug. 2019
    Introduction: Since the introduction of brand Pink Lady® in 1979, this new apple fruit has achieved a leading position in the fruits industry and it is available in more than 90 countries. In 2017 Pink Lady® was ranked at the thirteen position worldwide with a total share of 3 percent according to World Apple and Peer Association (WAPA) and in Europe Pink Lady® became the number one apple. The growing popularity of the Pink Lady® brand among consumers has led to significant sales in the three main EU markets such as the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom each one with 11 percent, 14 percent and 9 percent grew respectively between 2008 and 2019.
  • The development of the Business Intelligence function in 4 Finnish case Companies
    Alessandro Comai with Virpi Pirttimäki and Mika Hannula
    Not published Report  Jun. 2005
  • La inteligencia competitiva en la planificación estratégica y financiera
    Alessandro Comai with Joaquín Tena Millán
    Harvard-Deusto Finanza y Contabilidad(56) 2003 [Refereed]

Awards & Honors

  • Jul. 2019 World Open Innovation Conference 2019 (WOIC) Reviewer Editorial Board
  • Jun. 2019 6th International Conference on Indo-Pacific Studies at MLIC Conference Chair - Marketing Track
  • Apr. 2019 World Patent Information Reviewer for the Journal
  • Dec. 2018 El professional de la Información Invited as a Reviewer
  • Dec. 2018 International Journal of Big Data Management (IJBDM) Editorial Board invited Editorial Board
  • Nov. 2018  Hult Prize at International University of Japan Selection committee
  • Jun. 2018 World Open Innovation Conference 2018 (WOIC) Reviewer Editorial Board
  • Mar. 2018 EURAM 2018 Annual Conference - Reviewer for the


  • Apr. 2018   Research Ethics e-Learning Course
    Research Ethics e-Learning Course (e-Learning Course on Research Ethics) [eL CoRE] developed by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • Mar. 2018   Assurance of Learning Seminar I, by AACSB International.
    Assurance of Learning Seminar I, Abu Dhabi organized by AACSB International. Abu Dhabi University; College of Business Administration Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 59911.

Educational Activities

Teaching Experience

  • Incompany teaching (Petrobras, Novartis, Spanish Government, among others.)
  • Marketing Management (Global Leadership Program) (IUJ)
  • Early Warning (IESE - Universidad de Navarra)
  • Global Strategic Marketing (IUJ)
  • Market Research (IUJ)
  • Consumer Behavior and Digital Marketing (IUJ)
  • Foresight (ICADE)
  • Marketing Intelligence (IUJ, UPF, IDEC, ICADE, ISM)
  • Marketing Management (IUJ)

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