Best Practices for Scouting Trends and Emerging Technologies

February 5, 2018

How are the best companies structuring their scouting organizations to identify the customer trends and emerging technologies that will be relevant to them? And what are the challenges they encounter?

Tied to the release of our research report on Scouting Trends and Emerging Tech, we explored those questions and more in a webcast with InnoLead members. The webcast featured Scott Kirsner, InnoLead’s Editor and Co-Founder, and Kyle Nel, the former Executive Director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. Nel discussed how Lowe’s set up its global network of innovation labs; used storytelling (and a comic book!) to get executives bought in to the vision of the labs; and worked with startups and other outside entities to build prototypes and test them in stores.

Nel says that while it can be helpful to get input and feedback on how colleagues around the company see the business and its context changing, you shouldn’t expect them to give specific direction as to what you should be scouting. And that includes the C-Suite and business unit leaders, he says. “When you deal with high-level executives, they grew up and were successful operating in the old or the current model,” Nel says. “To ask them to be radically different or think outside the proverbial box — we’ve naturally selected them not to be that way, and that’s why they’re in the positions that they’re in…It’s up to us as those innovation leaders…to create those cohesive visions of the future, and then to go find those uncommon partners to make that happen.”

Slides from the webcast are available in our resource center. The complete webcast replay is below, as is a larger version of the comic book page that Nel and Kirsner discuss in the webcast. To join us for an upcoming webcast or conference call, see IL Live schedule.