firefox-gray Knowledge based economies are not only increasing in numbers but they are part of an intense worldwide competition. As the pace of innovation accelerates so does the need to remain continuously updated on the global market situation. Time is of essence. The impact is felt at the basic science level just the same as it is at the industrial production level. This is enhanced further by an effort to eliminate the innovation gap which links product innovation ever closer to academic research. Knowledge based companies and institutions rely therefore increasingly on critical information which helps them to make strategic decisions regarding their partners and the innovation cycle of their products in order to maintain a competitive advantage on a global scale as local, regional and national barriers are eliminated. Such critical information combined with a strategic reflection and implementation process calls for specific expertise and an extensive network of contacts which often do not exist in house and are increasingly brought in from outside on an ad hoc basis.