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Scouting in Large Companies
Environmental Scanning | Trend & Tech Scouting | Startup Scouting

Why Companies Should Scout New Technologies, Trends and Startups

As a key environmental scanning activity, scouting refers to the process of observing shifts and developments. It involves collecting pertinent data, contextualizing change to uncover discernible patterns as weak signals, and identifying trends, technologies, start-ups, and potential partners that hold both impact and relevance.

We distinguish here between three pillars: technologies, trends, and startups. Even if not all identified trends or technologies are applicable to their current business needs, innovation forerunners should always be on the lookout for the latest developments to proactively address challenges as they arise.

Trends (the so-called market pull) origin from specific or potential customer needs. By understanding the basic needs that are being addressed throughout trends, companies can align their products, services, and business models more reliably to markets instead of making decisions simply by looking at historical business figures and customer segmentation. Being capable of identifying changes and assessing their relevance for your business, you need a systematic way of conducting holistic trend management. The aim is to identify, describe, and collaboratively rate trends to derive strategic fields of innovation to innovate and grow in. To understand the impact of a trend on the business environment, companies must determine the strength of change and its timing. So-called "weak signals" are the first signs of change. 

Technologies | Technology push

The technology push drives a lot of disruption and origins from technical inventions. Which upcoming technologies and related patents are game-changers in my business? Emerging technologies enable new business models, products, and services and can genuinely expand a company’s existing product portfolio. By identifying, selecting, analyzing, and disseminating large scales of information on novel technologies and technological trends, companies can sustainably push their innovation and R&D performance.

Which internal skills do I need in order to use new technologies to my advantage? After mapping technologies with your internal capabilities, you can identify and evaluate the available or required knowledge assets for specific technology applications and uncover fields of action relevant to your business. From this point on, startup scouting proves to become a relevant factor to support a company’s innovation ability when knowledge, skills, or tools are lacking internally. Who out there already has concrete answers to the questions that we are just beginning to recognize?

Startups | To fuel innovation

The startup boom in recent years forced all big players to not only observe trends and technologies but also startups intensively. One of the fastest-growing sources of innovation for big companies are newly established businesses. Startup monitoring and potential future partnerships play an important role in creating disruptive products, services, and business models. Startups are much more aggressive, closer to their customers and more willing to take risks with disruptive technologies than large companies ever could. Which startups are already actively involved in certain technologies or meet the emerging needs of customers? How could your company use this knowledge for future businesses? These insights enable larger companies with lagging processes to speed up their innovation efforts and establish a sound innovation portfolio. Watch also: Startup Scouting Webinar by ITONICS.

Start with scouting

Scouting activities of the corporate environment help companies to analyze business opportunities and risks of emerging technologies, trends and startups. Within our methodology, trends, technologies, and startups are all interconnected and influence each other. So what do you do with all of that information? How do you get from trends, technologies, and startups to strategic fields of innovation? Relevant trends in conjunction with matching future technologies and disruptive startups create a big picture defining threats and so-called opportunity spaces. This construct, which is also to be understood as an innovation field, defines an opportunity out of which new and innovative products, services or business models can emerge. Opportunity spaces form the basis for a company’s innovation strategy and future innovation portfolio. Always keep in mind: Before you start ideating and innovating from scratch, it is important to know where you want to innovate and grow by defining your most promising strategic innovation fields.

Trend, technology & startup radars

Scouting, evaluating, and comparing thousands of emerging technologies and trends are true challenges for businesses that face time and resource constraints. Therefore, having a dedicated software solution to depict and analyze trends, technologies, and startups can be a huge driver of growth. ITONICS Trend, Technology and Startup Radar provide valuable insights into hundreds of technology and business trends, as well as startups and innovative use cases on a comprehensive platform. The radars contain cutting-edge and regularly updated content that is specifically tailored to your individual interests and industry. While certain trends can offer opportunities for organizational growth and transformation, others can pose a threat to established businesses.

An example from real life gives insight into how this process can be actively assisted: within a few months, a mobile carrier company in the Middle East was able to launch a mobile health solution by partnering with a startup that provided this service. Within dozens of possible solutions, we helped by identifying the ideal match with our Startup Radar. Throughout our work, we also see that startup scouting is important in areas where developments in larger organizations take much longer to be publicly known. Especially when talent is hard to find, scouting becomes a significant factor. Currently, the Radar is helping clients to identify relevant companies using blockchain technology, an area where it is sometimes extremely difficult - and requires some experience - to filter weak signals from noise.

Leveraging ITONICS for trend, technology, and startup scouting

Change is constant; flourishing new market possibilities, alterations of original demands as well as ever shorter product life cycles oblige companies to be more adaptable. Of course, nobody can predict the future – but companies can try to work towards it. Companies need to rapidly spot changes, weak signals, and promising future opportunity spaces in their business environment. Proceeding, they need to make first-mover steps accordingly, which will enable them to acquire a significant competitive advantage in the long term. This is where ITONICS comes into play, offering a comprehensive software solution that seamlessly bridges the gap between environmental scanning and actionable innovation strategy.

ITONICS provides an integrated innovation management platform that empowers your organization to systematically manage the entire lifecycle of innovation – from scouting emerging trends, technologies, and startups, to deriving strategic fields of innovation, and finally, to executing actionable innovation projects. By centralizing and streamlining these processes, ITONICS facilitates a more efficient and effective approach to innovation management.

Key features of the ITONICS platform include:

  • Comprehensive scouting tools: With ITONICS, you can continuously monitor the evolving landscape of trends, technologies, and startups. Our advanced scouting tools help you to identify and evaluate potential opportunities and threats, ensuring that you stay ahead of the curve.

  • Collaborative environment: The platform fosters collaboration across different departments and external partners. This collaborative approach ensures a more holistic and inclusive innovation process, leveraging diverse perspectives for richer insights and ideas.

  • Strategic alignment: ITONICS aligns your scouting activities with your organization’s strategic goals. By connecting trends, technologies, and startups with your strategic innovation fields, the platform ensures that your innovation efforts are always relevant and focused.

  • Idea to execution: Beyond just identifying opportunities, ITONICS supports the entire innovation process. From generating ideas based on scouted insights to prioritizing and transforming them into real projects, the platform guides you through every step of your innovation journey.

  • Customizable dashboards and analytics: Gain insights and make informed decisions with ITONICS’ customizable dashboards and analytics. Visualize the impact of trends, assess the potential of new technologies, and track the progress of your innovation projects, all within a single platform.

  • Agile and scalable: Whether you're a small enterprise or a large corporation, ITONICS scales with your business. Its flexible and modular design allows you to tailor the platform to your specific needs and growth trajectory.

Incorporating ITONICS into your innovation strategy not only enhances your environmental scanning capabilities but also ensures that these insights are effectively translated into tangible innovation outcomes. By bridging the gap between scouting and strategy, ITONICS positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, ready to capitalize on emerging opportunities and navigate the complexities of today's fast-paced business environment.



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