In the ASSETs context, we coined and use the term 'Tech Seeker'
to define those personnel in major and mid-sized corporations:
- having the job description of, and professional responsibility for, identifying external sources of technology relevant to meeting the defined needs of that corporation
- AND, importantly, having either the authority directly and/or access to the resources required to institute appropriate working arrangements with qualified small firms.
Across all industry segments and technology arenas, increasing numbers of large and mid-sized firms have instituted some form of External Technology Seeking
function. Often at - and/or reporting to senior management - those charged with this responsibility are tasked explicitly to look outside the firm
for available technologies, for potential IP placement
- in- and out-licensing - and/or for complementary capabilities
relevant to addressing current problems and anticipated future needs.
- A range of intelligence gathering techniques may be employed -- from literature review and online searches to event participation and cultivating professional connection.
- The forms of relationship to those external sources may range from small-scale technical collaboration at the operational level through quite substantial funded R&D; from (cross-) licensing transactions through equity participation to important, longer-term business collaborations
More recently, a key focus of these efforts has become that of trying to keep a finger on the pulse of development of new and potentially disruptive technologies
. These are developments which will likely impact existing market conditions at some level and/or are those which could well represent new market opportunities.