Technology Scouting is a strategic process that serves to accomplish three goals: (1) identifying new technologies, (2) acquiring information about new technologies for the organization and (3) acquiring these new technologies for the organization. Technology scouting is one of several tasks that need to be completed to help the organization manage the external environment to create competitive advantage in the industry. Tech scouting enables an organization to connect with external sources of innovation such as universities, competitors, or research facilities.
What is Technology Scouting, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Technology Scouting
Description of Technology Scouting
In order to reap the benefits of Technology Scouting, it is essential to follow three steps:
- Identify priority customer needs. Through prioritizing the top customer needs to address in the future, your innovation team will be able to determine what technologies to learn about and obtain in order to fulfill their obligation to the customer. The best way to determine the customer’s technological needs is to engage directly with customers through qualitative research and interviews. For organizations with customer service and support functions, break down all customer complaints into smaller more manageable pieces, which will allow your team to provide solutions to specific issues.
- Narrow down the potential list of technologies. There are several ways of creating a more targeted list of technologies:
- Segment the larger list into broad categories – consider what commonalities the listed technologies share and group them based on your results. For example, several technologies might use the same program.
- Eliminate weaker categories and keep only those that best address customer needs.
- Within the remaining individual categories, order the technologies from best to worst by their feasibility and their ability to meet customer needs
- Assess the remaining technologies against a well-defined set of criteria to determine the most suitable option. The criteria measurement scale should reflect the features of the technology that are most important to the customer. Additionally, creating a measurement scale will allow your team to objectively compare one technology to another. After rating each listed technology, rank order them to understand priorities.
Some additional factors that consider when Technology Scouting are:
- Pay careful attention the obtained results at each step as they will help you to get to the best solution.
- Create an industry-specific vocabulary list. As the customer delineates their needs, take note of the words they use as that will help to create a common group for future interactions.
- Retain information on listed technologies that are not as suitable to the current client as they may be useful in the future as their needs develop. Alternatively, those technologies can be used for another customer.
Tools & Templates
Technology Scouting typically requires the use of a database to keep track of the accumulated information.
upBOARD's Online Technology Scouting Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Technology Scouting techniques, upBOARD’s online Technology Scouting collaboration software tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
Agile Innovation Process, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Open Innovation Process, Painstorming, Rapid Prototyping, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, and Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model.