Does innovation scouting deliver on its promise?

No one would challenge the value of intelligence in financial services – so why shouldn’t the decision-making of innovators also benefit from reliable, intelligence-based insights? How can innovation intelligence best be used to accelerate open innovation activities? Is ideation based on innovation intelligence even possible at all? How does actual innovation scouting influence all decisions? Is there any value in systematic technical competitive intelligence and tech landscaping?

No one would challenge the value of intelligence or research for financial services

Finding and applying information that others don’t have (yet) or making informed decisions based on systematic research are among the most successful investment strategies. We know from own experience that even blindly using even less frequent, anecdotal analysis (e.g. listening to a friend or following your bank’s general advice) can lead to the wrong decisions and disappointing returns.

We see a similar pattern in technical and business model innovation processes. While many individuals in R&D, business development or strategy functions have a complete overview and a thorough understanding of competitors, technology landscapes, open innovation opportunities, and new ideas – few organisations harness the power of systematic innovation intelligence.

So, what is innovation intelligence? At Evalueserve, we started with Innovation Scouting Intelligence … enabling and accelerating some aspects of innovation

We began our Innovation Scouting journey early (see one of our early articles published in LES Nouvelles, 2012), where we moved from helping clients on one-time scouting (e.g. “can you find me someone who has already solved or will be able to solve my innovation challenge”), to setting up Open Innovation Feeds where we provide customers with a constant feed of open innovation ideas. So in fact, rather than remaining reactive (based on a problem), it often becomes proactive (providing ideas, understanding evolving customer needs) – which we discuss below.

Understanding competitor R&D and technology roadmaps – the “house view” is required for decision making

At Evalueserve, more than 3000 analysts do research for our corporate clients every day. You could validly ask the question: “why make this investment if information is freely available on the internet and in ‘smart brains’ everywhere?” The answer lies in the annual strategy, portfolio, and/or budget meetings that we all go through in one way or the other.

We all know that there is a big difference between a meeting where decisions are taken based on valid research and analysis that forms corporate consensus – this gives business leaders and CXOs the right framework for final decisions, and managers in R&D, IP, or strategy the clarity that their business recommendations were based on solid analysis.

Ideally, such a “consensus” view on competitor R&D and technology landscapes should be updated regularly – only then does it form a basis for more reliable decision making.

Ideation intelligence is the next big thing – TRIZ and its derivatives, but also low-hanging fruits

We have now established the primary innovation intelligence use cases “understanding as a basis for decision making” and “finding solutions to innovation challenges,” and will now consider a more advanced level: can innovation intelligence actually accelerate the innovation process by generating new ideas?

This is nothing new – TRIZ introduced such concepts decades ago and various methodologies for technical and business model innovations have been developed since then – most have intelligence at their heart. But not all companies have the resources and time to do this in a systematic way.

Low hanging fruits are there to be picked – such as understanding changing customer needs (B2B and B2C) and translating into product or business model innovation.

A very simple example from our daily practice: innovation based on evolving needs. The ageing population is a big thing for all business. So, systematically mapping the needs of elderly people in your own – but also in other industries or geographies – can form the basis for accelerated product development or competitive solid differentiators. Of course, the same can also be said for technical innovation – exploring technical solutions in other verticals.

Where next?

Consider the power of intelligence in the financial services industry and it is continually upgraded (e.g. the new type of alternative data and the advantage such data provides). Reflect on the benefits of basic and advanced innovation intelligence use cases that could apply to you and get in touch with us if you’d like to brainstorm the options.

In this blog series, you can expect some deeper examination of these use cases, but we’ll also look under the hood and give you insights on how it is done – picking up and expanding on elements from earlier posts – such as the use of AI, the art of tagging and how search quality is linked to quality of insights.  And we’ll discuss how all of this can be linked to other processes in Business, IP and R&D and therefore be executed in a very efficient way.

You wouldn’t walk into the jungle without a good map or a trailblazer – we can guide you through the innovation intelligence jungle, and leave the financial jungle to others!

Urs Dommann

Urs Dommann, who heads up IP and R&D Solutions at Evalueserve, is passionate about improving knowledge processes and data science to optimize quality in patent search, and is a regular speaker on this topic at IP Service World. Urs and his team created the Information Adventures blog after recognizing that moving through the complex world of data and information in IP or R&D is like venturing high into the mountains or other seemingly uncharted territory – something he loves to do in the Swiss Alps near Zurich where he lives. He’s enjoying using the blog to share theories, insights about IP and R&D, and starting a conversation as a basis of exploring – together with clients – new paths to success.

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