Technology Scouting or Technology Landscaping: Tactics or Strategy?
A critical aspect of any innovation management program is thoroughly understanding your own technology portfolio and how it fits within the technology ecosystem of both known competitors and potential collaborators alike. Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum – groups need to continually rationalize their internal technologies versus external technologies in their business verticals.
Regular internal technical SWOT analysis (identifying where companies are strong / weak technically, where the technical opportunities and threats exist both long-term and near-term) better enable companies to define and own their particular technical space; as well as recognize the potential to expand their technical space over time.
Technology Scouting and Technology Landscaping are powerful tools in the innovation management toolkit to achieve better technology portfolio understanding; but while these terms are often used interchangeably, these are not equivalent activities and often require different skill sets for mastery. Here’s how we at Ezassi think about these innovation management tools.
Technology Scouting is a tactical and near-term technology identification exercise, whereby technology solutions and providers are rapidly identified and vetted to address an immediate unmet technical need. Technology Scouting is more focused on identifying potential collaborators with extant solutions or capabilities and understanding “what’s needed” to solve our most immediate technology outages or gaps. The greatest utility of Technology Scouting is problem-solving:
- Identify current technology solutions
- Verify and vet technology solutions and providers
- Establish external collaborations
Technology Landscaping is an exercise which enables strategic and long-term innovation planning by taking a broad overview of a relevant technology space. Technology Landscaping is more focused on surveying technology spaces and gaining a comprehensive understanding of “what’s possible”. The greatest utility of Technology Landscaping is setting innovation strategy:
- Identify current and future competing technologies
- Determine opportunity areas or relevant adjacencies for potential technology disruptions
- Identify license, merger or acquisition targets or other potential complimentary technologies
Technology Scouting and Technology Landscaping often require disparate skill sets relying on experience with and access to complimentary knowledge bases (intellectual property, peer-reviewed literature, conference presentation, start-up investment, etc.). Here at Ezassi, we possess both the requisite analytical expertise and documentation access to master both Technology Scouting and Technology Landscaping activities; helping our clients better achieve their long-term and near-term innovation goals and objectives.