Foresight activities around technology selection have become increasingly important in an ‘open innovation’ environment in which both the range of potential technologies and the rate at which they are changing have been rapidly expanding. A variety of methods have been developed to support and improve the technological scanning process but the success of corporate foresight activities depends initially and heavily on the quality of information processing at the ‘front end of innovation’. Since this information activity involves individual members of the organization it is important to examine the general cognitive and intuitive abilities of these individuals. In order to enrich existing knowledge in this context, this paper explores the technology identification and evaluation process from a psychological standpoint, looking in particular at the concept of cognitive prototypes and intuition of technological gatekeepers. The findings of this study show that technological gatekeepers possess specific cognitive prototype models and thinking patterns, which exert an influence on identification and evaluation of technologies and that the number of features a thinking pattern contains is correlated with the number of years spent in a position in the organization as technological gatekeeper. Our exploration of the role of intuition also highlighted a discrepancy between the individual and the organization. While it is perceived on an individual level as a valuable tool, it is seen by technological gatekeepers as inappropriate on an organizational level. As a result, gut feeling is not always acknowledged or communicated within the organization in the technology identification and evaluation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.