Who benefits from technology scouting?
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Who benefits from technology scouting?


June 2020 | Technology Management | Florenus

In order to ensure the long-term competitiveness of a company, it is crucial to be able to assess which developments might be in demand in the future. If a company pioneers a new technology, it offers a significant competitive advantage. The company thus acts as a market-shaping pioneer. In the best case, the company even acts without competition for a while.
In 2017, around 147,160 employees worked in research and development at German universities. Often the knowledge gained helps the researcher to obtain a doctorate, some publications in specialist journals and sometimes patents. But beyond that, the results of years of work mostly have little practical use. So-called technology scouts close the gap between basic research at institutes and universities and industrial application. These have taken on the task of transferring knowledge from theory to practice.

Early detection of new trends also makes it possible to revise and adapt the company model in good time.

This is often underestimated in established companies. In general, there is a trend of decreasing risk appetite for large companies to invest in long-term development projects. With the help of technology scouting, new technologies and innovations that reinforce the company along its own core competence can be implemented with a higher capital expenditure, but at the same time with a high chance of integration.

The consequences of inadequate innovation management and inadequate technology scouting can be assessed using the example of Kodak. Kodak, once a pioneer in photography, relied on the wrong technologies in the rapidly growing digital camera market, which resulted in later bankruptcy.

Innovative young companies and start-ups that lack the capital resources to gain a foothold with their innovations benefit from technology scouting by creating a close network with well-known companies or business angels. Convince the innovation of the start-up with a sustainable business model, provided venture capital or the technology transfer allows the further development of the innovation Furthermore, technology scouting can be used to establish a cooperation project between a company and a research institute or a university. Such cooperations on the part of the university offer the possibility, for example, of integrating more practical relevance into training.