Many Dimensions of Technology Assessment
If you're like most, you know what
is, but you view it through the distal end of a telescope. In other words you see this process as one of limited scope. That's because you and your organization probably carry out this process only sporadically and in a limited number of ways. It's my privilege to expand your view.
Technology assessment can be many things, for example:
Competitive landscaping - What are your competitors up to? What are their current products' characteristics? What new technologies appear to be in their pipelines? These investigations are best conducted on a regular basis, not only on the occasion of a competitive threat.
Due diligence - Most view technology assessment through this lens. You're offered a technology for in-licensing or acquisition. What are its attributes and limitations? What is its commercial potential? Exactly how can you adapt it for inclusion in your product line?
Supply chain advances - Few pay attention to this one. What are your suppliers up to? Which of them, or which other suppliers, are offering a breakthrough technology that could dramatically affect your competitive position, favorably or unfavorably? How can you exploit that technology, and will it be worth it?
- This one is familiar to most. The IP landscape must be tracked regularly for both offensive and defensive purposes. Sometimes it's best to engage the services of an expert, such as my associate Bruce Horwitz of
New concepts and product improvements - There are two sources for these ideas, internal and external. Most handle the internal assessments quite well, but external ideas generated by customers are often much more important. You must have a robust system in place for gathering and responding to customer recommendations.
Opportunities for disruption - Be on the lookout for technologies that could change the face of your business - or put you out of business! Engage an appropriate resource or internal team skilled at discovering these game-changers.
Crossovers - No, it's not an auto/truck thing. These are technologies originally applicable to one field but potentially important in yours. Think wireless networking suddenly essential for programming implantable medical devices. Keep your eyes and ears, and most importantly your mind, open.
See, it's more than you thought. We at
do all of this stuff. And you may find
of some value as you dive into the details for any of these assessment processes.