Gen5’s approach to technology scouting is differentiated in that we do not rely on key word search or existing databases. An initial examination of the system through the lens of value drivers and functionality allows us to uncover deeply rooted problems (what to look for) and provides a roadmap for external search (where to look).
Additionally, because Gen5’s services include seed stage development (covering physical experiments, modeling, prototyping, and testing), we bring additional practicality to our technology scouting assignments. We fully understand that scouting is not just a paper exercise.
Gen5 adheres to three guiding principles to help clients avoid the traps that can derail effective technology scouting efforts.
- Function is our purpose, technology is a means to an end
Problem reframing is essential to effective technology scouting. Any technology search begins with an articulation of the parameters (MPV’s*) that define how value is created in a market. These parameters are translated into their functional underpinnings, which become the guideposts for external search. This functional lens ensures both depth (uncovering multiple avenues for attacking the target performance improvement) and breadth (exploring non-obvious domains for applicable technologies). By reframing the problem, Gen5 ensures a more effective and efficient search process to meet client needs.
- Technology search must be comprehensive, forward looking, and multidimensional
By comprehensive we mean that search should explore both commercially available solutions as well as those still in research. By forward looking, we consider not only what exists and what is needed today, but we also anticipate how systems (requirements) and technologies (enablers) will evolve in the future. By multidimensional, we acknowledge that in many cases no individual technology will meet all criteria and hybrid solutions (combinations of technologies) may be needed.
- Understanding adoption requirements is vital to practical outcomes
Arriving on a list of technologies alone is not a sufficient outcome for a technology scouting effort. Candidate technologies must be assessed in terms of both performance capacity (“how well will this technology meet my goals?”) and cost of adopting the technology into our system (“what headaches will I incur by implementing this technology?”). By stratifying solutions (individual technologies, as well as hybrid solutions) along these two dimensions, we can more clearly see cost-benefit tradeoffs and will be better positioned to make informed investment decisions.
*Main Parameters of Value (MPV’s) are the features and functionality that drive customer purchase decisions.