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Technology Forecasting. Data Examples provided by Technology Futures, Inc. Austin, TX by permission. Five key impacts on Technology Forecasting. Technical Social Environmental Legal Political. Types of Forecasts. Surveillance Normative (Goal Oriented) Expert Opinion

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technology forecasting

Technology Forecasting

Data Examples provided by Technology Futures, Inc. Austin, TX by permission

five key impacts on technology forecasting
Five key impacts on Technology Forecasting
  • Technical
  • Social
  • Environmental
  • Legal
  • Political
types of forecasts
Types of Forecasts
  • Surveillance
  • Normative (Goal Oriented)
  • Expert Opinion
  • Integrative (Scenarios)
  • Projective
    • The Economist
    • Wired
      • Nov 2003: Smart Bandages, Superglue for sutures, Growth Hormones, Open source computing for medicine, Modafinil for insomnia, Heart tissue regeneration
    • Business 2.0
    • Historians
  • Groups exist that do this professionally
    • SRI
    • Technology Futures, Inc.
expert opinion
Expert Opinion
  • Seeking definition of the knowable future
  • Single Expert
  • Committee
  • Surveys
  • Groups
  • Delphi
  • Structured Interviews
nominal group technique
Nominal Group Technique
  • Outline of goals and methods by moderator
  • Silent, independent generation of ideas
  • Silent, written presentation of ideas
  • Discussion of ideas
  • Silent independent voting
using expert opinion more effectively
Using Expert Opinion More Effectively
  • Surveys-Traditional Sampling
    • effective only if the general population knows the subject
  • Groups-Focus, brainstorming, nominal group technique
  • Delphi
    • effective if it is a new technology known only by a few experts
implications wheel
Implications Wheel
  • Potential topics (select one-well defined
    • innovation, trend, decision
  • Write a concise statement (hub)
  • Areas of direct, immediate impact (1st ring)
  • Impacts of direct impacts (2nd ring)
  • Higher order impacts (3rd and 4th ring)
general rules of thumb
General Rules of Thumb
  • If a technology achieves worldwide standardization, it will tend to see explosive growth.
    • Fax Machines
  • Standardization can be through standards bodies (CCITT, IEEE, etc.) or defacto industry standard (Windows and Intel).
trend analysis
Trend Analysis
  • Looking for the roots of change
  • Trend Extrapolation
    • What happens if this trend keeps going?
      • Constant percentage rate of improvement
      • Growth models and performance envelopes
  • Precursor Developments
    • Has this happened before?
constant percentage rate of improvement
Constant Percentage Rate of Improvement
  • Most new technologies fit this trend pattern
  • Rates will remain the same if the basic assumptions are unchanged:
    • The improvement is technically possible
    • The product demand/need continues
    • Basic approach remains the same
  • Subsidies may increase short term rates
  • Laws and regulations may decrease short term rates
growth models and performance envelopes
Growth Models and Performance Envelopes
  • A frequently observed pattern for technologies which have natural limits
    • ex. how many eggs can a chicken physically lay each day?
    • therefore, what is the maximum possible egg production rate for a Tyson chicken farm?
how can you judge a forecast before the fact
How Can You Judge a Forecast Before the Fact?
  • Are assumptions specified?
  • Is quantitative evidence included?
  • Does it follow a path of logic?
  • Is the projected rate of improvement comparable to prior rates?
  • If the forecast breaks from the past are substantial reasons offered?
  • Does it provide a basis for rational discussion?