Technology scouting can be regarded as a method of technology forecasting or in the broader context also an element of corporate foresight. At the same time Technology Scouting also contributes to technology management by (1) identifying emerging technologies, (2) channel technology related information into an organization, and (3) in a corporate context supports the acquisition of technologies. It is a mechanism to practically implement and managing open innovation. In this context, technology scouting is the starting point of a long term and interactive matching process between external technologies and internal requirements of an existing organization for strategic purposes.
The technology scout is either an employee of the company or an external consultant. He or she may be assigned part-time or full-time to the scouting task. The desired characteristics of a technology scout are similar to the characteristics associated with the technological gatekeeper.
Technology scouting is a systematic approach by companies whereby they assign part of their staff or employ external consultants to gather information in the field of science and technology and through which they facilitate or execute technology sourcing. Technology scouting is either directed at a specific technological area or undirected, identifying relevant developments in technological white spaces. Technology scouting relies on formal and informal information sources, including the personal networks of the scouts.