Corporate Tech Scouting: 8 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Interested in corporate tech scouting but not sure how to proceed? We give you a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions as well as some tips to succeed at it!

In today’s hyper-connected, rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying ahead isn’t just about keeping pace — it’s about predicting the next big wave and riding it to success. For corporates, this means being aware of the latest trends and also actively scouting emerging technologies

How do industry giants seem to seamlessly integrate the latest tech? How do investors know where to put their money? The answer often is ineffective corporate tech scouting.

What is Corporate Tech Scouting?

Corporate tech scouting is the process by which companies seek out new technologies, startups, and innovations to gain a competitive edge. It involves identifying, evaluating, and potentially integrating these elements into the existing business model.

Here are some of the major reasons why looking for new technologies is important for any business:

  • Competitive Advantage: By identifying and integrating emerging technologies ahead of competitors, you are able to offer innovative products or services that stand out from the rest.
  • Cost Efficiency: Instead of investing in in-house R&D, which is usually time-consuming and expensive, you are able to identify, license, or acquire external innovations. This leads to faster, more efficient routes to market and potentially reduced R&D costs.
  • Risk Mitigation: By staying abreast of the latest technological advancements and industry shifts, you anticipate potential disruptions and challenges. This allows you to adapt strategies, ensuring longevity and relevance in the market.
  • Strategic Growth & Diversification: Through tech scouting, you identify new sectors, markets, or niches where your core competencies can be applied. This leads to new revenue streams, partnerships, or even potential mergers and acquisitions, driving strategic growth.

We are sure by now your curiosity about corporate tech scouting has peaked! So, without further ado, we answer some of the most common questions about tech scouting. Let’s dive in!

Top 8 Corporate Tech Scouting FAQs Answered

1. What are the main types of corporate tech scouting?

Corporate technology scouting is classified into two main types:

  • Internal corporate technology scouting refers to finding new technologies within your own company or group. This includes technologies developed by other business units or divisions, internal R&D teams, or employees through intrapreneurship or innovation programs. Internal tech scouting lets you leverage your existing resources, capabilities, and knowledge base. It also fosters cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing within the organization.
  • External corporate technology scouting denotes searching for new technologies outside your company. For example, technologies developed by other organizations, universities, research institutes, or startups. External tech scouting enables you to access new sources of innovation and exposes you to new markets, trends, and opportunities.

Both types of corporate technology scouting are important and complementary. You should use a balanced mix of internal and external corporate technology scouting methods to optimize your results.

2. What are the steps in the technology scouting process?

i. Define

Define your technology needs and objectives. Identify the problems you want to solve, the opportunities you want to seize, and the gaps you want to fill with new technologies. You also need to align your technology needs with your overall corporate strategy and vision. This will enable you to narrow down your focus and prioritize your tech scouting efforts.

ii. Search

Search for potential technologies that match your needs and objectives. Make use of various sources of information, such as online databases, publications, patents, etc. Out of these, the most effective source is startup databases. They enable you to identify and evaluate emerging technologies that match your criteria from a large pool of data and insights. These platforms collect and organize information about millions of startups advancing emerging technologies and shaping your industry’s trends.

iii. Evaluate

Evaluate the potential technologies based on their technical feasibility, market potential, strategic fit, and financial attractiveness. Use both qualitative and quantitative methods of evaluation, such as interviews, surveys, experiments, prototypes, benchmarks, simulations, and models. Don’t forget to consider the risks and uncertainties associated with each technology, such as technical complexity, regulatory compliance, intellectual property protection, and competitive response. Always select the most promising technologies that deliver the highest value and impact.

iv. Acquire

The final step is to acquire the selected technologies through various modes of collaboration, such as licensing, joint development, partnership, investment, or acquisition. You need to negotiate the terms and conditions of the collaboration, such as ownership rights, royalties, milestones, and governance. Keep in mind to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of the collaboration. The next vital step is to integrate the acquired technologies into your existing operations, processes, and culture.

3. What are some of the most common challenges faced in tech scouting?

Corporate technology scouting involves many challenges that hinder its effectiveness and efficiency. Some of the most common challenges are:

  • Information overload: There is too much information available on new technologies from various sources and channels. It is difficult to filter out the relevant and reliable information from the noise and clutter.
  • Information gap: Similarly, there is not enough information available on new technologies in certain niches. It becomes tricky to find emerging or hidden technologies that are not widely publicized or accessible.
  • Information asymmetry: There is an imbalance in the amount and quality of information among different parties involved in corporate technology scouting. It is not easy to verify or compare the information provided by different sources or collaborators.
  • Intellectual property issues: There are legal and ethical issues related to the ownership, protection, and exploitation of new technologies. It is difficult to secure or enforce intellectual property rights or avoid intellectual property conflicts or disputes.
  • Organizational inertia: There might be resistance to adopting new technologies within your company. Convincing the members to get rid of the status quo, not-invented-here syndrome, and the fear of failure is quite the task.

4. What is an example of technology scouting?

Apple’s acquisition of PrimeSense is one of the iconic examples of corporate tech scouting. Let’s learn a bit more about it:

  • Background: PrimeSense was an Israeli company known for developing 3D sensing technology. Their technology was initially used in Microsoft’s Kinect, a motion-sensing input device for the Xbox gaming console. The technology allowed users to interact with their console using gestures and spoken commands without the need for a traditional controller.
  • Scouting Process: As Apple looked to expand its technological capabilities, especially in areas of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and user interface innovations, it identified 3D sensing as a key area of interest. Through its scouting processes, Apple came to know about PrimeSense’s unique capabilities in this domain.
  • Acquisition: In 2013, Apple acquired PrimeSense, which was a direct result of Apple’s technology scouting efforts to identify companies that aligned with its future technological and product vision.
  • Integration & Result: The technology from PrimeSense played a crucial role in the development of Apple’s Face ID, a facial recognition system introduced with the iPhone X in 2017. Face ID allows users to unlock their phones, make payments, and access sensitive data using facial recognition, making it a significant step forward in terms of security and user experience.

This example illustrates how corporate tech scouting leads to acquisitions that significantly impact a company’s product offerings and technological capabilities. Apple’s proactive approach in identifying and integrating PrimeSense’s technology gave it a competitive edge in the smartphone market.

5. How to make the most out of our tech scouting efforts?

Corporate technology scouting is a powerful tool for innovation and growth, but it requires careful planning, execution, and management. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to structuring corporate tech scouting efforts. Different companies may adopt different models depending on their size, culture, industry, objectives, and resources. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of corporate technology scouting:

  • Define your technology needs and objectives clearly and align them with your corporate strategy and vision. This will enable you to focus your efforts and resources on the most relevant and impactful technologies.
  • Prioritize your technology needs based on their urgency, importance, and feasibility, and their impact on your strategic goals.
  • Have a dedicated team that is responsible for coordinating and managing the technology scouting activities across the organization. The team or function should have sufficient expertise, authority, and resources to perform its tasks effectively.
  • Leverage startup databases like the Discovery Platform to search for potential technologies in a few clicks just by providing your tech scouting criteria.
  • Use a systematic and rigorous process to evaluate potential technologies to select the most promising technologies that deliver the highest value.
  • Integrate the acquired technologies into your existing operations so that you realize the full potential and value of the technologies.
  • Monitor and measure the performance and impact of the acquired technologies. This will let you assess the effectiveness and efficiency of your tech scouting efforts and make adjustments as needed.

You might find this insightful – How to Master Tech Scouting in 2024

6. What are the most effective corporate tech scouting metrics?

Corporate technology scouting metrics are the measures used to evaluate the performance and outcomes of the technology scouting efforts. Below are some of the metrics to track:

  • Number of technologies identified, evaluated, acquired, and integrated.
  • Quality of technologies identified and acquired based on technical, business, and strategic fit.
  • Time spent and saved on technology scouting efforts.
  • The cost incurred and saved on technology scouting activities.
  • Return on investment (ROI) or value created by tech scouting.
  • Feedback from internal or external stakeholders.
  • Impact of tech scouting activities on new products, services, processes, and markets

7. How to attract the right startups with our corporate tech scouting efforts?

Startups are one of the most important sources of external technologies. They develop innovative technologies that companies leverage to solve their problems and create value for their customers. However, attracting the right startups is challenging as there are too few or too many options to choose from depending on the niche. Moreover, startups may have different motivations, expectations, and preferences compared to established companies when it comes to collaborating. Try answering the questions below to attract the right startups:

  • Define your value proposition for startups:
    • What are you offering to startups that they cannot get elsewhere?
    • Can you help them achieve their goals? How?
  • Communicate your value proposition clearly and consistently:
    • What are the ways to reach out to relevant startups that match your criteria?
    • Are you conveying your message in a compelling and credible way?
    • How to build trust and rapport with startups?
  • Provide a smooth and transparent process for startups:
    • Is it easy for startups to engage with you?
    • Have you identified and resolved the friction and uncertainty in your tech scouting process?
    • Are you providing feedback and support to startups along the way?
  • Create a win-win relationship with startups:
    • How to align your interests and incentives with startups?
    • What are the best ways to balance your needs and expectations with theirs?
    • How can you create value for both parties?

8. Should we turn to external corporate tech scouting methods?

While internal corporate technology scouting methods such as employee suggestions, intrapreneurship programs, or internal hackathons let you leverage your existing resources and capabilities, they are not enough to cover the entire spectrum of technological opportunities available in the market. Therefore, you need to complement them with external corporate technology scouting methods like tech scouting solutions, open innovation platforms, and so on.

What are the benefits of seeking external help?

  • Accessing a wider range of technologies from different domains, geographies, and stages of development.
  • Leveraging the expertise, experience, and networks of external experts who provide valuable insights and guidance on emerging technologies and trends.
  • Reducing the time, cost, and risk of finding and acquiring external technologies by outsourcing some or all technology scouting activities.
  • Increasing the chances of finding novel and disruptive technologies that have the potential to create competitive advantage and differentiation for the company.


The digital age doesn’t wait for anyone. To stay ahead, it’s essential to actively hunt for emerging technologies, disruptive startups, and untapped innovations — this is where corporate tech scouting comes into play. This multifaceted approach not only gives you a competitive edge but also streamlines costs, mitigates risks, and sets the stage for strategic growth.

We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about corporate tech scouting, from defining what it is to explaining how to execute it effectively. We’ve also emphasized the importance of balancing internal and external scouting methods to optimize results.

If you want your business to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving landscape, adopting a comprehensive tech scouting strategy should be a top priority. It’s not just about finding new technologies; it’s about adapting, integrating, and innovating faster than ever before. So, whether you’re just starting to explore this domain or looking to refine your existing methods, remember that the right technology is out there — it’s just a matter of scouting it out.

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