Technology Landscaping: A Q & A with NineSigma's Stephanie Orellana 

An inside look at one of NineSigma's rapidly growing service lines

Stephanie Orellana is NineSigma's Director of Technology Solutions. We sat down with Stephanie to get a better understanding and shine a spotlight on our Technology Landscape service here at NineSigma. Below is a transcription of the Q & A that provides valuable insights into this valuable service. 

When would a company do a Technology Landscaping project?

Imagine you, as a company, want to enter into a new technical area with a new product, but you’re not really sure what capabilities you need or how what you already have might stack up in this new area. You may also just really be interested in seeing what’s out there. You’re looking for information to help you make the strategic/tactical decisions needed to guide your direction and focus for this potential product/technology area. A Technology Landscape can help you determine that next step by providing a service that builds on our knowledge and experience-based repository of information that has accumulated through our years of searching for and finding solutions to technology challenges. A Technology Landscape is the perfect fit for a company looking to navigate a path toward a new technology area or in a rapidly changing one.

What value would a Landscaping project deliver?

The value of a Landscaping project lies in giving you the ability to scope out the myriad areas where a piece of potential insight might be found to inform and guide you toward the right direction for your objectives in a technology area. The vast network we access and the resourceful, creative process we use to bring information from unexpected sources can help determine the particular course of nascent and ongoing projects within a company. A Landscape helps a client down the right path for their technology innovation objectives by providing thorough, strongly analyzed data on what’s happening in a particular area of interest.

What is unique about NineSigma’s approach?

There are a few things that make NineSigma’s approach unique. First, NineSigma has an Open Innovation (OI) mindset about everything. We recruit employees based on this mindset, we build teams based on this mindset and every project that we do is looked at with this mindset. We naturally search for unobvious connections everywhere and apply our findings as needed. We encourage clients to think differently and expand their view of a search as we identify things clients never considered.

Second, we are extremely thorough and will search exhaustively for any bit of relevant information that could help inform a client’s decision. With that OI mindset in place, we will look in every obvious and unobvious place for the information that will provide a client with every piece of the puzzle so they can move forward as they see best. We often hear, “That’s a lot of information!” at the end of a landscape.

Third, we are honest and opinionated about what we find. We will tell it like it is as we uncover the details needed through a Technology Landscape. We’re not afraid to inform a client that, through our research, we’ve found little to nothing in any of our channels that supports their view of the product or technology they are looking to develop. We believe in the data we find and will help a client make the right decision for their needs. Our clients are always excited that we don’t just provide a data dump, but that we’ve analyzed and provided an educated opinion about the information we’ve found.

Last, we have a very iterative and adaptive process. We inform clients every step of the way to ensure their feedback is utilized and then we adjust as needed. That allows us to build a landscape that addresses a unique issue for a unique client- no static reports for a mass audience! We are flexible to the clients’ needs and listen to their thoughts to help best direct a project within a timeline.

What are some common misconceptions about Technology Landscaping?

Some people feel that Technology Landscaping is product testing, testing how consumers feel about new technology, market research or road mapping a business plan. While it can guide decisions, NineSigma’s Technology Landscapes are more in a middle area. And it’s not IT or business intelligence. It’s about finding the science/technologies/capabilities/processes/approaches that are out there now or emerging soon – really focusing on the technical aspects of a search. We are identifying anything that is emerging into the world that might be relevant to what our clients are hoping to achieve.

What do clients particularly like about the Technology Landscaping?

Clients really like that we are able to “bring order to chaos,” as one of our team members put it. We not only bring lots of information forward, but we categorize and organize it in a way that makes sense for the client and makes it easy for them to take action. We provide the analysis and thought behind our findings so that a NineSigma Technology Landscape is more than just information laid on their desks for them to interpret, and they appreciate the strong analytical eye we provide to the data found. This is also the most confidential of all of our innovation services, so clients feel comfortable conducting a Technology Landscape when they aren’t even 100% sure of the direction a project will go. With this high level of confidentiality, no one need know a company is looking at these new technologies and the outcomes can be used for reasons such as IP negotiation of existing technologies, deciding there isn’t a market for a technology, benchmarking approaches or pursuing further OI services to help develop avenues found within the Landscape. The flexibility and confidentiality of the Landscape combined with strong analysis of the findings are all things clients tend to really like about this service.