Technology scouting

Technology scouting
Primary topic
Related topics
Methods and techniques

Technology scouting is a service performed by consulting companies which consist of searching various sources for technologies potentially beneficial for the company. It consist of:

  • analysing new scientific research
  • identifying emerging technologies in products and processes
  • analysing research trends and publication of research institutions
  • analysing adoption of technology in industry
  • analysing patent databases and innovative activities
  • identifying complementary technologies

Technology scouting is defined as a systematic approach by companies in which they delegate some of their employees or employ new consultants to gather information in the field of science and technology. This information facilitates or implements the acquisition of technology. It is focused on a specific technological area or is not targeted at all. It is based on formal and informal sources of information. Technology Scouting is often seen as the logical response to the enlargement of the technological know-how market caused by the globalization of R&D (Rohrbeck,2007).

Research on the systematic search for current and future technological developments has evolved over time and covers more and more aspects. The identification of technological developments is largely based on weaker signals and aims at detecting technological discontinuity. In the 1970s, this research was conducted as Technology Forecasting and mainly focused on methods of predicting the future using various econometric modelling techniques, mainly using data from the past. Technology Foresight has significantly broadened the scope of research on forecasting technological development in the future. What is new is research into methods by which we are able to create a network of contacts to collect evaluation and interpretation of information. In addition, this technology includes research into how organisations can cope with the future. Techniques of technological forecasting as well as technological forecasting techniques were studied at the company level (Davis, 2005).

The organization of Technology Scouting[edit]

In the identification phase, technological scouts are used to gain access to various sources of information about technological development. Technologies that may be important are briefly presented with a technological description, research status and business potential, and are then reported to the Technology Exploration Unit. Both internal experts and external consultants are used as technology scouts. The selection phase consists of two screens. In the first, technologies are selected according to their degree of novelty, and the second screen ensures that the technology is not yet used by the unit to explore the technology. During the assessment phase, technologies are assessed against two criteria: the impact of the market and the complexity of technological implementation (Rohrbeck, 2007).


Author: Karina Obiegła