Technology scouting is an element of technology management in which (1) emerging technologies are identified, (2) technology related information is channeled into an organization, and (3) supports the acquisition of technologies. It is a starting point of a long term and interactive matching process between external technologies and internal requirements of an existing organization for strategic purposes. This matching may also be aided by technology roadmapping. Technology scouting is also known to be part of competitive intelligence, which firms apply as a tool of competitive strategy. It can also be regarded as a method of technology forecasting or in the broader context also an element of corporate foresight. Technology scouting may also be applied as an element of an open innovation approach. Technology scouting is seen as an essential element of a modern technology management system.
The technology scout is either an employee of the company or an external consultant who engages in boundary spanning processes to tap into novel knowledge and span internal boundaries. He or she may be assigned part-time or full-time to the scouting task. The desired characteristics of a technology scout are similar to the characteristics associated with the technological gatekeeper. These characteristics include being a lateral thinker, knowledgeable in science and technology, respected inside the company, cross-disciplinary orientated, and imaginative personality. Technology scouts would also often play a vital role in a formalised technology foresight process.
Documented case studies include:
- Rohrbeck, René (2010-03-01). "Harnessing a network of experts for competitive advantage: technology scouting in the ICT industry". R&D Management. 40 (2): 169–180. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9310.2010.00601.x. ISSN 1467-9310.
- Wolff, Michael F. (1992). "SCOUTING FOR TECHNOLOGY". Research Technology Management. 35 (2): 10–12. JSTOR 24156524.
- Holzmann, Thomas; Sailer, Klaus; Galbraith, Brendan; Katzy, Bernhard R. (23 June 2014). "Matchmaking for open innovation – theoretical perspectives based on interaction, rather than transaction". Technology Analysis & Strategic Management. 26 (6): 595–599. doi:10.1080/09537325.2014.913344.
- Phaal, Robert; Farrukh, Clare J.P.; Probert, David R. "Technology roadmapping—A planning framework for evolution and revolution". Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 71 (1-2): 5–26. doi:10.1016/s0040-1625(03)00072-6.
- Brenner, Merrill S. (1996-09-01). "Technology intelligence and technology scouting". Competitive Intelligence Review. 7 (3): 20–27. doi:10.1002/cir.3880070306. ISSN 1520-6386.
- Bodelle, Jacques; Jablon, Claude (1993-09-01). "Science and Technology Scouting at Elf Aquitaine". Research-Technology Management. 36 (5): 24–28. doi:10.1080/08956308.1993.11670924. ISSN 0895-6308.
- Rohrbeck, Rene (2010) Corporate Foresight: Towards a Maturity Model for the Future Orientation of a Firm, Physica-Verlag, Heidelberg and New York, ISBN 978-3-7908-2625-8
- Spitsberg, Irene; Brahmandam, Sudhir; Verti, Michael J.; Coulston, George W. (2013-07-01). "Technology Landscape Mapping: At the Heart of Open Innovation". Research-Technology Management. 56 (4): 27–35. doi:10.5437/08956308X5604107. ISSN 0895-6308.
- Rohrbeck, René; Hölzle, Katharina; Gemünden, Hans Georg (2009-09-01). "Opening up for competitive advantage – How Deutsche Telekom creates an open innovation ecosystem". R&D Management. 39 (4): 420–430. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00568.x. ISSN 1467-9310.
- Edler, Jakob; Meyer-Krahmer, Frieder; Reger, Guido (2002-03-01). "Changes in the strategic management of technology: results of a global benchmarking study". R&D Management. 32 (2): 149–164. doi:10.1111/1467-9310.00247. ISSN 1467-9310.
- Klueter, Thomas; Monteiro, Felipe (2017-06-01). "How Does Performance Feedback Affect Boundary Spanning in Multinational Corporations? Insights from Technology Scouts". Journal of Management Studies. 54 (4): 483–510. doi:10.1111/joms.12252. ISSN 1467-6486.
- Reger, Guido (2001-12-01). "Technology Foresight in Companies: From an Indicator to a Network and Process Perspective". Technology Analysis & Strategic Management. 13 (4): 533–553. doi:10.1080/09537320127286. ISSN 0953-7325.
- Rohrbeck, René (2007-01-09). "Technology Scouting - a Case Study on the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories". Rochester, NY.
- Volker., Lichtenthaler, Eckhard Rainer (2002). Organisation der Technology intelligence : eine empirische Untersuchung der Technologiefrühaufklärung in technologieintensiven Grossunternehmen. Zürich: Verlag Industrielle Organisation. ISBN 9783857436055. OCLC 52477904.
- Savioz, Pascal. "Technology intelligence systems: practices and models for large, medium-sized and start-up companies". International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning. 2 (4). doi:10.1504/ijtip.2006.011707.