August 12, 2010, 8:35 AM — by Jennifer Ernst, PARC - Technology scouting has been happening for many years. But as companies increasingly look outside for opportunities, it becomes even more important to have clear practices associated with each step of the process. One popular technology scouting framework to address this is "Want-Find-Get-Manage", which I've expanded below for the purpose of sharing advice.
THE WHY & THE WHAT: A refresher on how to define what you want
In part 1 of this post, I shared some advice for ways to define what you're looking for, and adding the crucial first step of defining why you're scouting at all.
Just a refresher: I believe that technology scouting mandates should be defined as part of a company's technical and product roadmaps. At that level, leaders can concretely say what they will invest in creating internally, what they want to get from partners, and where they want to place multiple bets as a risk-mitigation strategy.
THE WHO & THE WHERE: How do you find what you're looking for?
The amount of available technology has exploded. At conferences like TechConnect and World's Best Technologies (WBT), scouts can see hundreds to thousands of technologies in just a few days. Pharmaceutical companies' technology scouting offices are used to seeing several thousand submissions per year. One veteran technology scout from the aerospace and defense industry told me he wish he'd known, when he started years ago, "just how much technology is out there".
Finding "potentially interesting" technologies is easy. Finding great business opportunities is not.
There is an important difference between the role of a corporate venture group and that of the scouting organization: