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Strategic environmental scanning as a management tool for innovation

: Schirrmeister, E.; Bierwisch, A.; Som, O.; Würz, T.

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Legardeur, J. ; European Research on Innovation and Management Alliance -ERIMA-:
Towards new challenges for innovative management practices. Vol.3, No.1 : Selected Papers from ERIMA 2010 Proceedings: International Symposium on Innovative Management Practices, 11-12th June 2010, Wiesbaden
Bidart: ERIMA, 2010
International Symposium on Innovative Management Practices <2010, Wiesbaden>
Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ISI ()
strategic environmental scanning; innovation management; bibliometrics; patent data analysis; dynamic capability

In times of increasing dynamics and complexities of new technologies, methods of strategic technological foresight become increasingly important. Technological developments in manufacturing industry are often intertwined with or accomplished by changes in underlying firm-level concepts or paradigms of production systems or management regimes. Thus, the assessment of future developments in manufacturing should combine both perspectives: the technological and the conceptual dimension. While the technological dimension is sufficiently covered by patent indicators, the emergence of new production concepts is more likely to become visible in scientific publications. Deployed independently, the methods are likely to draw only a one-sided, either too focused or too diffused picture of new developments which provides only a weak basis for subsequent strategic decisions of firms. This paper presents how the different advantages and explanatory values of patent analysis and bibliometrics can be integrated in a holistic tool of strategic environmental scanning for manufacturing enterprises. The results are based on a recent research project, jointly conducted with the German Machine Tool Builder's association (VDW). During the project such a tool was developed an implemented for their member firms. Based on the examples and results about technological trends in the Japanese machine tool industry and the German automotive industry, which have been generated by the use of the tool, the paper focuses on the practical realisation of strategic environmental scanning in the context of an industrial association. Besides that, the paper also elaborates on theoretical as well as on methodological aspects of strategic environmental scanning. The findings show that the integration of patent and bibliometric indicators is a fruitful approach to provide a solid basis for technological strategic environmental canning in manufacturing industry.