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How to recognize important trends with technology scouting

Nokia, Kodak or General Motors have one thing in common. The former leading companies of the world economy have overslept an important trend and have thus slipped into insignificance.

With technology scouting, it is possible to take a structured look at new technologies and thus discover trends that are relevant for your own business.

Technology scouting would have prevented these companies from overlooking or misjudging relevant developments. Read in this blog post what technology scouting is, how it works and why you should use this tool permanently.

Digitalization is accelerating the pace of technological change. This promises many opportunities. But especially for established companies, the risk of underestimating the potential of a new technology or even overlooking it is increasing. The attitude "We have our market niche, in which we will still generate our sales in the next 10 years" can even become the fate of really large companies.

What you can learn from Kodak, Nokia and GM

There are plenty of examples of this. Nokia has overslept the trend towards smartphones, Kodak has completely misjudged digital photography and General Motors (GM) has recognized the demand for greener cars far too late. All three companies have gone from being leading companies in the entire global economy to companies struggling to survive. Sometimes even without success.

If the three companies had recognized the signs of the times at an early stage by a structured observation of technological developments, it would have been easy for them to develop and market corresponding products and services. The possibilities of the huge research and development departments of the three companies were enormous.

Every Facebook employee knows that success is fleeting

Their tragic fate is a warning to the new masters of the world economy, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Co. Facebook, for example, has moved into the Sun Microsystem company premises. This company, which developed Java technology and was one of the top IT visionaries of the 1990s, ultimately failed because of its role as a hardware and software provider and was taken over by Oracle in 2009. Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg did not remove the company sign of the Fallen IT Angel, he just turned it around. For everyone who leaves Facebook headquarters, it now serves as a powerful reminder of how fleeting success can be.


Technology scouting structures the incomprehensible world of technology

Measures like these, which of course exert pressure on every employee, are not necessarily necessary to keep you informed about relevant change processes. This works best with technology scouting. This tool makes it possible to view the seemingly incomprehensible world of new technologies in a structured way and thus discover trends relevant to one's own business. Technology scouting works best in cooperation with an external service provider such as Lead Innovation. This cooperation prevents the blindness of companies of any size from suffering. Technology scouting can be roughly divided into 4 steps:

1) Understanding

Together with the external service provider, your company should first define what is to be understood by a new, relevant technology. But you should also look around outside your industry. Because the technologies available through digitization are emerging as many new competitors from completely non-industry sectors. Think of the technology groups AirBnB or Uber, which are currently making life really difficult for established accommodation or taxi companies worldwide. Another example that technologically enabled trends do not stop at industry boundaries is the sharing economy. More and more consumers want to use things but do not want to own them. Car manufacturers such as Daimler or BMW are trying to exploit this trend, which of course has a negative impact on vehicle sales, economically through car sharing offers such as Car2Go or DriveNow. This is exactly where Lead Innovation can provide you with valuable services. The network of experts spun across industry boundaries and the comprehensive trend database offer you a perspective that you can never have on your own.

2) Classification

Once you have a common understanding of new technology, you can categorize and prioritize it. Lead Innovation's expert network and trend database are also valuable tools in this step. The result is a technology matrix linked to the timeline.

3) Adjustment

You can now compare this matrix with your own know-how. You will discover fields in which you should build up knowledge. But you can also gain this lack of know-how through partnerships with companies or organizations from other industries. Lead Innovation offers with the Lead Transfer a tool to use technologies and knowledge available in the company in completely different industries. But this tool can also be used in reverse through the Lead Innovation network. This means that it can also be used by companies that are looking for missing know-how.

4) Integrate

Technology scouting is not a project that ends. This tool is a process that you should permanently integrate into your business. The speed at which technological change is progressing will certainly continue to increase and not slow down. This acceleration opens up numerous opportunities for you if you integrate technology scouting as a tool in your business life. However, if you continue your journey into the future with tunnel vision, the times will become even more dangerous for you and your business.

Conclusion: How to recognize important trends with technology scouting

Digitization in particular creates fear among many entrepreneurs and many even fear for the existence of your company. But as with so many others, fear only ends here when you face the supposed danger. This is exactly what you do with technology scouting. Because multiple pairs of eyes see more than yours alone, you should work with an external service provider who has an extensive network of experts and trend collections. If you look at digitization in a structured way, you will see the many opportunities that can open up new growth areas for your company.


Jannik Böckenholt

As an expert for New Business Development, Jannik is your reliable companion for new commercial ventures. When it comes to the restructuring of innovation processes or the application of innovation methods, the learned project manager guides you to your objective step by step, while making sure there is fun along the way with his inspiring storytelling in the workshops he moderates.

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