The Problem With Innovation Scouting

Erick Schonfeld

If you work at a big company, check out the latest HBR article by Scott Kirsner on How Big Companies Should Scout New Technologies. It really hits the nail on the head when it comes to the gaps most companies fall into between finding emerging technologies and actually implementing them.Did you know that most innovation executives give their companies a 4.8 rating (out of 10) when it comes to taking action on emerging technologies? How would you rate your company?According to the article, the top five challenges to doing better are:

  1. Connectivity to the business.
  2. Identifying what areas to scout.
  3. Time to do it.
  4. Sufficient staffing.
  5. Sufficient funding.
Most companies, it turns out, spend more time and money scouting trends and emerging technologies than they do sharing the results of that scouting work with others in their organization, or creating ways to run pilot tests related to what they see. Solving those two problems is a big opportunity to create competitive advantage — or perhaps just survive as an organization that is relevant to your customers in the 21st century.

So what does that mean for you?Well, you can either:1) Keep doing what you’ve been doing, and see all your innovation efforts fall on deaf ears throughout the rest of your organization.2) Help the rest of your colleagues connect the dots between today’s emerging technologies and tomorrow’s market fact, you can get an edge on most of your competitors simply by both finding and testing the right emerging technologies for your business faster than they do.This HBR article struck a nerve for me because it’s exactly what we do at Traction Technology Partners—we help our Fortune 500 clients every step of the way from scouting to piloting new technologies through custom Innovation Discovery Programs and our Traction Tech Council (try it free for 30 days to turbocharge your innovation scouting abilities). And those five challenges? We address each one with our services and our new Traction SRM (Startup Relationship Management) software we are developing that creates a central repository where all stakeholders can view, share, and contribute information on emerging technology projects.If you’d like to learn more about how Traction can help your company's innovation efforts, or get a demo of the Traction SRM, please feel free to contact us to set up a call with one of our consultants.

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