With over 140,000 novel compounds analyzed before selecting one for commercialization, Dow AgroSciences depends on technology scouting to continually fill its global R&D pipeline with new opportunities. Even with 8,000 employees, this is a task too large to be done solely through internal research.
To accomplish its ambitious technology and innovation goals, Dow AgroSciences uses a tight-knit and interconnected team of tech scouts to scan the field for new scientific research, emerging external technologies, and competitive intelligence. This helps the company identify new opportunities and to understand what technology trends are driving the market.
Given the huge volume of opportunities that Dow AgroSciences goes through before finding one with commercial viability, how does the tech scouting team manage this flow of activity? In order for Dow’s tech scouting teams to succeed, they have developed and executed a defined and process-based technology scouting methodology that is able to handle the high volume of opportunities.
Even for experienced teams, technology scouting in high-intensity R&D fields like agriculture and biotechnology is much like drinking from a firehose, the sheer load and volume of published research, opportunities, and complementary technology can be overwhelming. Processes function by creating a linear path for technologies to flow and be triaged through the technology pipeline.
While technology teams at other companies function through the use of adhoc tools and solutions like Excel, SharePoint, and email, these tools are ineffective and unable to scale along with a technology scouting workload without the addition of new team members. To succeed, Dow AgroSciences uses Wellspring to manage the end-to-end innovation process. By using Wellspring as a knowledge database and using its reporting capabilities to identify metrics, determine progress, and move a technology through the pipeline, Dow AgroSciences is able to lead in the industry in technology scouting and innovation.
Here are a few tips on managing technology scouting from Dow AgroSciences: