What is an external TECHNOLOGY SCOUT?
Once used primarily within industries with steep innovation curves — such as technology and pharmaceuticals — a Technology Scout brings outside technology into companies that traditionally sourced innovation internally.
After all, no one company has a monopoly on all the talent in the world, and any-sized company can be more effective at innovation if it leverages great minds both inside and outside the company. The acceptance of Technology Scouts has spread to other industries, as more companies are realizing that outside guidance can be a differentiator to keep pace in an increasingly competitive and dynamic marketplace.
In our 25 years in business, JLM has learned that open innovation is not an abstract academic concept. In fact, at its core, it’s common sense. It’s about finding smart people inside and outside the company who can positively impact your business. It’s tremendously exciting to discover new technologies and partners that can drive your business forward. And it’s equally challenging as you push against a culture that was built doing things internally. This cultural shift can encourage, support and reward employees for being more connected to business objectives. That’s something that can only be accomplished with the support and persistence of upper-management.
Companies no longer need to be the only ones who discover the “Eureka" moments and great technical breakthroughs. Instead, they need to be connecting with great innovators wherever they are and leveraging their “Eureka" moments.
One obstacle that comes along with this shift is the great pride inventors take in their discoveries. When we asked scientists — the traditional inventors — to leave the lab in search of outside ideas, it’s not surprising there was reluctance on their part. However, in recent years, we have observed a significant change in the mindset of scientists as they engaged with external experts. Scientists are realizing that by working with these external experts, they can collaborate and guide basic research efforts needed to unlock complex scientific challenges facing businesses today: challenges business cannot not possibly solve by itself.
JLM is a connector for collaboration: we combine external new technology with Fortune 500 development expertise. Where a strategy may represent the most dramatic departure from its traditional research and development methods, it can also identify points were internal efforts haven’t been productive. JLM can improve the odds with investment gambles that can make or break the next new blockbuster. Now, external technologies are driving scientists to play a different role in the innovation process. So rather than being the sole creator, you’re now asking them to be orchestrators — to find interesting pieces of technology that exist outside the company, and work to bring them in and connect them to internal initiatives. In fact, at JLM, we refer to external technology as connected innovation, because at the heart of our effort, we are asking scientists to shift from an invention model to a connection model.
External Tech Scout For Professional Sports Teams
In 2012, J Lyons Marketing (JLM) was hired as a Technology Scout by a Fortune 500 company to source innovative technologies from Europe. Working closely with the CTO and the company road maps helped determine exactly what new technologies were needed to enable the company to execute on its product strategies. JLM's experience with dozens of European companies and start-ups over the years and numerous research institutes, helped them know where to find solutions that are game changers that could enable billion dollar sales. As a $19 billion company, the customer wanted to double in size within a few years through innovation and acquisitions – by buying European companies at the rate of ten a year and needed JLM to help find the right ones to buy — be they start ups or well established companies.
According to the Global Innovation Index 2012, seven of the top countries for innovation are European and the USA is in tenth place. “Europe is an amazing source of innovation,” says John Lyons, “and the US is number one for acquiring new technologies. Key sources of innovation are the universities doing blue sky research that then spin out companies to commercialize the new technologies. This non-VC based model is working well in today’s financially challenged times and is enabling Europe to be an innovative powerhouse. Our close connection with the incubator facilities at universities ensures that we know what new technologies are coming down the pipe at a really early stage so we can match-make them to the technology requirements of US companies, who can often provide financial support and advice as the lead customer to speed the development.”
John Lyons added, “A company’s road map is its crown jewels. By being an external Technology Scout, we can provide our client with anonymity during the search process so that rivals don’t know who is looking for what, preserving the secrecy of or client’s road map strategy.”
Now J Lyons Marketing wants to apply the same principals in tech scouting that are used by Fortune 500 firms to professional sports teams. Professional teams have payroll of $100M plus a year and need to gain a competitive advantage in the market place. The first step is establish new technology roadmaps for the next two years out. The selection process typically reviews 100+ advance technologies and select 5–10 to be beta tested. The results need to benchmark on increased enhanced improvement. Fortune 500 companies have may tech scouts (some 100+) that search the globe for new technology to enhance their next generation product. A sports team can develop a system with just one outside “special project” consultant. There are various grading systems that Fortune 500 firms use, but typically they like improvement levels at least 10% + with the new add features for the next rollout product. The same type of grading system could apply to an athlete and team performance.
JLyons Marketing's one “secret weapon” is MCAM technology that develops the true validation of Fortune 500 patents holdings. Most companies today 30% of the portfolio has zero value. The core technology is “trained” to find the impossible for whatever purpose.
- Originally developed to track Russia nuclear weapons development and expanded to money sources
- Funded by government intelligence community and works on a super computer (at Federal Research Lab) sourcing 800 million documents
- MCAM supplies the data for patent offices globally
- Financial Institutions use MCAM as “clearing house” on patent valuation (primary market) IE GE Plastics patent portfolio net worth was estimated prior to selling the company
- Information is “short list”— very accurate and condensed as information is query not searched. More just the facts in rank and file.
JLM is under agreement as external tech scout with Tapeta Farms' world-renowned trainer Michael Dickinson. In the Equine market, Tapeta Farms has set up an “experiment-lab’’ to test new technology for improvement of Thoroughbred race horses. Positive-test results will be published in leading-scientific journals. Website www.tapetafarm.com One of the first beta tests is with MedTec Medizintechnik GmbH for the US market. The target focus is medical OEMs which includes clinical trials in the animal science / veterinary market.