In the modern environment, like many other knowledge intensive roles within what are, let’s be honest, knowledge intensive industries, technology scouting has found itself progressively overloaded with data. If your inbox is anything like mine, then on top of the many emails that are directly linked to your work, it will contain invitations to interesting (online) conferences, possibly well-written but uninvited and often lengthy market updates, requests ‘for your expertise’ or for you to fill out short surveys and so on. The more intellectually curious you are – and tech scouts are certainly this – the more of these mails there will be. Meanwhile, Google has moved ever closer to being an out and out shopping trolley which seems to present the same set of unhelpful results in the same order, no matter how hard you try to adjust your search terms, because it is ‘guessing’ what it thinks you really want to see, based on what it thinks it knows about your age, location, social interactions and other mysterious qualities, so long as these align to marketing algorithms. If you type in a scientific search term that looks a bit like a more common alternative, Google will ‘correct’ your search term and try to find adverts that match (I had happen this recently when writing the report on Lithium Iron fuel cells, for example, which was amended to Lithium Ion and then turned into many, many adverts for AA batteries).
Covid has, naturally, made this situation worse, as people have been carrying out ever more desk research, replacing Q&A with real people with detailed background analysis of the scientific literature and other sources. Again, if you are like me, you will have been discovering many, often excellent, websites that are now captured in increasingly long lists of bookmarks. After a while, it all started to feel like way too much time looking at a screen. And the people I do get to chat to and confirmed my prejudices. People think it really would be nice if someone could just point them at the material they actually need to read and then politely bow and withdraw from the room.
It is in response to these challenges that we have decided to strengthen our pre-existing alerts offering, to make life simpler and easier for our clients. We will now set up a series of customised bulletins for each client, to arrive automatically in their inbox each week, with a summary of the latest technologies that fit their interests and a link to the material if they want to investigate further. Of course, subscribers can always do a deep dive into any area they wish, with full access to the dataset always available, as has been our offering from the start. We think this is a powerful new offering and are happy to offer a month’s free trial of the service to anyone who thinks it would be worth a try.
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