Innovation centers at companies need to be at the center of the evaluation of new technologies. This requires them to notice technologies of immediate interest, which are ready for licensing, purchase, or other options.
The new technologies involve not only a review of technologies in the “too early” stage, but also the recognition of talent. The latest research project / patent from an innovator may not always be the best next idea, but the company may seek to develop a relationship with the innovator to be early in line for future innovations.
In certain respect, a baseball metaphor will illustrate the solution. The corporate innovation groups need a farm team. These organizations need to identify promising technologies, guide them through the advancement of the technology through grants, business development, and other opportunities, and then be available when the technology has advanced to the next level and open for corporate investment or VC development.