Innovation within large companies: from technology watch to technology scouting

– By Lucas Colney



In your opinion, what is the difference between technology scouting and technology watch? 


Many people mistakenly think that these terms are synonyms. However, although they have similar objectives, the two approaches differ in their methodology and use.   


Technology watch versus technology scouting 


Technology watch and technology scouting are two approaches used to identify emerging trends and the most promising technologies in a given field.


Technology watch is a continuous process of collecting and analyzing information on existing and emerging technologies in a predetermined sector of activity. It aims to identify the most important trends and advances to enable companies to understand the technological environment in which they are evolving and therefore make the right decisions.   


This can include collecting data on patents, scientific publications, press articles and analysis reports. It is often done internally by a dedicated team or outsourced to a business intelligence firm.  


Technology scouting, on the other hand, is a targeted scouting and analysis process that aims to identify the most promising technologies to meet a specific need. It is typically done by companies and investors to identify new investment or collaboration opportunities. However, many companies are increasingly turning to external resources or incubators and accelerators to meet their scouting needs.   


It is important to note that technology watch and technology scouting are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are often used jointly to maximize the benefits of both approaches. Technology watch helps to understand the overall technology environment in which a company operates, while technology scouting helps to identify specific opportunities that may arise from it.   


More precisely, it can be said that technology intelligence makes it possible to identify needs and trends that will be used as a basis to identify solutions and startups through technology scouting.  


Finally, technology scouting is certainly more recent and less known, but it is certainly not to be neglected. 




Technlogy scouting: a key approach to business innovation in the years to come 


“Technology scouting is a process that makes it possible to identify, evaluate, and select skills, knowledge and technologies that are useful for the future of the company. The goal of technology scouting is to identify and integrate solutions from outside the company to solve internal problems.” Lucas Colney, Open Innovation Advisor at Centech 


This process is often performed by investors, companies, and organizations looking to identify new technologies and ideas that they want to invest in (financially or otherwise) in the future.  


There are several methods for conducting technology scouting for startups. One of the most common methods is to use online tools. This can include searching for startups on social networks (primarily LinkedIn), crowdfunding sites, search engines, and investor-startup matching platforms (otherwise known as startup databases, including Crunchbase or Pitchbook). It is important to note that the preferred methods depend on a number of criteria, the main ones being the field of application and the degree of technology sought.  


There are also dedicated startup events and competitions, such as pitch competitions, trade shows, and innovation conferences, which can be a great way to discover the most promising startups in a given field. Investors and companies can also search patents and scientific publications to identify companies and individuals who have developed innovative technologies.   


This practice has several advantages for large companies, such as:  

Practical innovation


Performing technology scouting helps instill a culture of innovation within your company. First, discovering new technologies or solutions not only allows you to build collaborative relationships but also to introduce new ideas or solutions internally. Moreover, as we have seen previously, scouting, unlike technology watch, allows you to explore real world solutions and therefore have a much higher potential for collaboration.

Save money


By identifying the most relevant technologies for your business, you can avoid development costs or the acquisition of technologies that don’t meet your specific needs. As a result, you can optimize your budget and improve profitability.  

Highlight innovative solutions


Performing technology scouting in addition to technology watch allows you to identify the major players in terms of future trends in order to approach them before your competitors do. The in-depth work of technology scouting makes it possible to evaluate the different solutions to highlight the best ones.  


In conclusion, technology scouting for startups is an important process for companies and investors looking to stay competitive and invest in the future. It’s a recent and growing open innovation process, but it is also technical and complex to carry out.    


At Centech’s Collision Lab, we offer technology scouting that is customized to your company’s needs in addition to privileged access to startups and tomorrow’s technological innovations. 

Want to learn more?