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Foresight | Trend & Tech Scouting

How to Monitor Drivers of Change to Maintain Competitive Advantage

Constant monitoring of trends, emerging technologies, startups, and competitor activity is necessary to see what is happening in your business environment. Companies can identify disruptive trends and be early adopters by recognizing emerging opportunities. Environmental scanning can also be helpful in addressing potential risks before they impact your business. However, companies need a system to constantly monitor and analyze the drivers of change in the market. This blog provides guidance on how to effectively monitor your business environment.

The process of environmental scanning is a necessity for any innovative organization to keep up with the market and plan for the future. Although this is a difficult task, it doesn't have to be a chore. By regularly monitoring trends, technologies, startups, and competitor developments, you can use this information to assess whether your company's strategy is in line with the market scenario and to update your portfolio of trends and technologies.

Why you should monitor your business environment

The different facets of environmental scanning can help you track various changes in the market. A simple scan of existing market trends and technologies can show how they are changing and fitting into other businesses or sectors. Similarly, a scan of startups shows that new ideas are being developed by entrepreneurs who understand the needs of the market, while monitoring competitors' activities provide insight into what similar companies are doing to improve their market presence. The ITONICS Innovation OS can aggregate and manage all this information on one platform. Visualization tools in the software such as Radar, Matrix, Network Graph, and Roadmap help in presenting the data. They allow you to streamline the monitoring process and simplify the tedious task of drawing useful conclusions for the ideation process.

4 ways to monitor drivers of change

Monitoring drivers of change is one of the most important steps in end-to-end innovation management. If you want to track activities related to existing trends, technologies, inspirations, etc., you can use the corresponding Signals Feed. On the other hand, you can search for Signals related to new topics in ITONICS Insights using relevant keywords. To monitor the drivers of change, you can use various tools of the ITONICS Innovation OS, some of which are listed below.

1. Use the ITONICS Signals Feed to search for signals

You can start using Signals search for a holistic environmental scanning relevant to your business. The Signals Feed is a collection of the latest news articles, patents, and scientific publications sourced from thousands of verified online news sites, hand-picked RSS feeds, the US and European patent offices, and open-access scientific publications. The ITONICS Insights tool can be used to search for Signals. You can improve the quality of the Signals search by refining the search using Boolean queries and filtering options. This helps you to narrow the results to your areas of interest, allowing you to quickly search for the latest developments in the industry. The queries and search fields can be saved for later use to keep track of developments from time to time. Below is the Signals Feed for the 5G Mobile Network Technology search result (filtered to show only patents). Learn here how to create effective queries in Power Search.

ITONICS Signals Feed showing signals for the technology "5G Mobile Network"


In addition to the Signals Feed in ITONICS Insights, each Element in our Trend, Technology, or Startup Radars has its own automatically generated Signals Feed. Content (trends, technologies, startups, or competitors) in ITONICS that is used in the different modules of the software are called Elements, short for Elements of Change, which can be used from time to time to quickly monitor new activity in a particular area.

Adding Signals to existing Elements

The ITONICS Signals Feed can be an excellent starting point to monitor the activities on the market. Signals from ITONICS Insights and the various Elements can be used for this purpose. You can turn Signals into inspirations and link them to relevant trends and technologies to track activity in the field. Outliers can be collected by linking them using a common tag to identify them in the future. Elements with common tags can be viewed together using the Tag Filter visualization feature.

2. Use visualization tools to observe developments

Tools such as a timeline and geography visualization can be used to graphically display results in the Signals Feed of ITONICS Insights. The Timeline Visualization shows a representation of the peak or slowdown of news, patents, and other publications for the search criteria. This gives a good indication of how the popularity of a particular search field is affected by various environmental variables.

The World Map Visualization can be used to see which regions are influenced by terms in the search criteria. This helps determine market saturation and make an informed decision about the next market area for business expansion.

Timeline and World Map visualizations for the technology "5G Mobile Network"

In the above visualizations generated for 5G Mobile Network patents, the timeline shows that research in the technology has an increasing trend, while the visualization on the world map shows that 5G is more prevalent in the US, Europe, and China.

3. Tag and relate Elements 

The Elements in the ITONICS Radar can be tagged or related to each other to show their relationship to other Elements such as trends, technologies, inspirations, startups, and competitors. Elements with similar tags can be easily searched for using the tag filter. Since other similar tags are also displayed, you can browse them to find specific and relevant content grouped together. The Elements in the Radar can also be related to each other. Relationships such as "Relates to", "Consists of", "Implemented by" ,"Drives", "Is driven by", "Disables" etc. can be useful when you want to find out how Elements influence or are influenced by other Elements. In this way, you can track how the market is developing and what factors are responsible for the popularity or failure of certain ideas or businesses.

Relations for the technology "5G Mobile Network" in ITONICS

4. Use the Network Graph to analyze relations between Elements

Once relations to the Elements are added, the Network Graph is a useful tool for visualizing the overall scenario. If you want to see which trends and technologies in a Radar are related to each other, you can hover over the Element and see the relationship with other Elements.

Network Graph showing relations of the technology "5G Mobile Network" to other Elements in ITONICS

In the network diagram above, all trends and technologies related to the 5G Mobile Network have been linked. Innovation managers can use the graph to analyze the potential impact of the 5G Mobile Network on other areas and vice versa. For example, to promote the growth of the 5G Mobile Network, innovation managers should develop strategies to improve related trends and technologies such as the Internet of Thinking and the Gaming Metaverse.

ITONICS provides various collaborative business intelligence tools that can augment your scouting, scanning, and monitoring activities. In the video below, our continuous foresight expert guides you through the steps on how to use ITONICS to monitor drivers of change.

Monitoring drivers of change: What’s next?

The ITONICS Innovation OS provides a single source of truth to help you monitor and track minute changes in the marketplace to optimize your innovation efforts. From tracking signals to visualizing collected data in graphs, maps, and charts, our tools and features help you define a path for strategic decision-making for your business. With ITONICS, the discovery of early indicators of market change in the form of signals to the use of planning and execution tools such as the ITONICS Roadmap to execute your business strategy, all from a single source.

If you want to learn more about the features and functionalities of ITONICS to enhance your environmental scanning process, get a free demo.



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