Technology Intelligence: un approccio sistematico al vantaggio competitivo


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Segnaliamo un articolo recentemente scritto da Letizia Mortara, Senior Research Associate dell'Università di Cambridge, con la quale S&I collabora sui temi della TI e dell'Open Innovation: secondo l'autrice, le aziende necessitano di un sistema strutturato di TI per individuare nuove tecnologie in modo sistematico ed efficiente. Nell'articolo si evidenzia inoltre che coloro che si occupano di TI devono essere in grado di promuovere e comunicare tale disciplina in azienda.

Leggi su quali basi è possibile organizzare un sistema di TI, con quali parametri valutare la sua efficacia e quali strumenti utilizzare per comunicare i risultati della TI alle altre funzioni aziendali.


Robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, nanotechnologies, synthetic biology, 3D printing: manufacturers are trying to keep up with a multitude of potentially disruptive technologies.

(...) Just searching online will not deliver sufficient insights for the identification of new technology opportunities or support the implementation of an effective strategy for businesses in today’s competitive market.

TI activities aim to identify early technology breakthroughs and trends that could create long-term competitive advantage or could impact negatively on the business.

As manufacturers come under increasing pressure to maintain a rapid pace of innovation, they are dedicating more resources to developing TI systems that can efficiently capture information from the external environment in order to develop insights that support a variety of decision-making and strategic planning activities.


What do we mean by TI?

TI covers a whole range of activities, including scouting networks, patent mining tools, calls for information via idea competitions or working with external intermediaries or consultants that can search new trends for you.

These activities can take place across all parts of an organisation and they are often informal or carried out ad hoc. When that is the case, it becomes difficult to evaluate if the TI system is making an effective contribution to the company’s performance.

A further challenge is that even if the firm has good technology intelligence, getting that information efficiently and accurately to decision-makers can sometimes be problematic.

So, how does a company know if the technology intelligence system it has put in place is performing well?


Evaluating the quality of technology intelligence

At the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), we wanted to develop a framework that companies could use to evaluate their TI system regardless of what type of TI activities they are undertaking.

TI Evaluation matrix 

(...) The matrix incorporates the main strategies being used by companies to measure TI performance and suggests that companies should use a combination of these metrics to appraise TI activities.

The evaluation matrix combines measures of the intensity of the TI activity (how much TI work has been done) with the TI impact (the quality of the outcome of TI). These can be reviewed in the short term (the success of a project) or in the long term (the health of a company).  It encompasses four types of metrics:

Activity-based and project-related: these are the most easily quantifiable metrics and are less subject to personal bias. A good example of this metric would be how many patents have been reviewed for a particular project. This type of metric is useful for understanding how far you have got in the review of available information, but stays away from measuring what the information is telling you. This can be helpful when you want to avoid forming an opinion too early, based on only partial data.

Activity-based and firm-related: this type of metric evaluates how TI is benefiting the whole company. It looks, for example, at how established and integrated the TI activity is with the rest of the organisation. (...)

Outcome-based and project-related: these metrics are typically used after a project has been completed to evaluate its success. People tend to associate the success of the project with the quality of the TI received. However, as a project’s success can be impacted by many other factors beyond the quality of TI – the resistance of a decision-maker to act on the insight, for example – this measure cannot be used in isolation.

Outcome-based and firm-related: this is important for measuring the long-term effectiveness of TI for the company. Data needs to be collected over a long–time period to understand whether TI activities are helping the company survive and prosper.

(...) As well as being a structured way of capturing and assessing the range of TI activities within an organisation, the TI matrix also has an important role to play in communicating the importance of TI across the organisation and, specifically, to decision-makers.

This can be something of a challenge. All the companies we interviewed reported difficulties in communicating their TI insights to senior decision-makers. Even when the insights are clear, relevant and well-presented, they are not always acted upon.

Much depends on the subjective perceptions and personalities of the decision-makers who sometimes underestimate the depth and complexity of the TI activity. (...)


Fonti: The Manufacturer, IfM University of Cambridge


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Tags: MC&TI Innovazione Metodo