Technology Intelligence & Forecasting By Dr. Vijay Kr Khurana
What is Technology Intelligence ?• Technology Intelligence (TI) is an activity that enables companies to identify the technological opportunities and threats that could affect the future growth and survival of their business.• The Centre for Technology Management defines Technology Intelligence as "the capture and delivery of technological information as part of the process whereby an organisation develops an awareness of technological threats and opportunities.”• Technology Intelligence aims to capture and disseminate the technological information needed for strategic planning and decision making.• Companies install an intelligence system (technology, market, business or competitive intelligence) to collect and analyze information on market, product, and technology changes and on other environmental transformations in order to increase their decision-making quality and competitiveness.
What is Technology Intelligence ?Why Technology Intelligence? • As technology life cycles shorten and business become more globalized; having effective T I capabilities is becoming increasingly important.• T I provides an understanding of current & potential changes taking place in the environment.• T I provides important information for strategic decision-makers• T I facilitates and fosters strategic thinking in organizations.• If conducted properly, T I leads to enhanced capacity & commitment to understanding, anticipating and responding to external changes
Levels of Technology Intelligence ?Three levels of T I• Macro level – technological trends & developments which can influence entire economy / major sectors• Industry or business level - technological trends & developments which can influence specific industries / businesses• Program or project level – technological trends & developments which can influence specific technology related program or projectThe above three levels differ in terms of• Breadth of technology• Clarity of trends• Degree of precision of trendsDifferent levels of technology intelligence can be applied / useful in different context
What is Technology Mapping ?• Technology Intelligence could be both internal as well as external. Internal technology intelligence is called technology audit.• External technology intelligence is called technology mapping.• Mapping technology environment refers to the process of gathering external data and analyzing it to derive the intelligence for major strategic decisions.
What is Technology Mapping ?Process of mapping the technology environment consists of four interlinked steps:• 1. Scanning the environment to detect ongoing & emerging changes• 2. Monitoring specific environment trends & patterns• 3. Forecasting the future direction of technological changes• 4. Assessing the current & future environmental changes for understanding their strategic & organizational implications
Elements of Technology Forecasting1. Time of the forecast – a single point of time, or a time span.2. Approach in Technology Forecasting3. Statement of functional capability / performance characteristics of technology – a quantitative measure of its ability to carry out the functions.4. Statement of Probability – Probability of achieving a given level of functional capability by a certain time; or – Probability distribution over the levels that might be achieved by a specific time.
Benefits of Technology Forecasting ?Since 1990s rate of technological change has become faster. Individual, organization or nation affected by technological change as it invalidates previous resource allocation based on historical facts / data.Therefore technology forecast is no more avoidable.Following factors necessitate forecast of technology:• To maximize gain from events external to an organization• To minimize loss associated with uncontrollable events external to an organization.
Benefits of Technology Forecasting• Contd …..• To maximize gain from events that are result of action taken by an organization.• To offset the actions of hostile or competitive organizations• To forecast demand for production and /or inventory control.• To forecast demand for facilities and capital planning.• To forecast demand to ensure adequate staffing• To develop administrative plans & policies internal to an organization.• To develop policies that apply to people who are not part of the organization.
Benefits of Technology ForecastingContd …..According to Ralph Lenz, technology forecast can play following specific roles in improving the quality of technology decisions:• The forecast identifies limits beyond which it is not possible to go.• It establishes feasible rates of progress, so that the plan can be made to take full advantage of such rates of progress,• It describes the alternatives that are open for choice.• It indicates the possibilities that might be achieved if desired.• It provides a reference standard for the plan. Thus the plan can be compared with the forecast at any point in time to determine whether it can still be fulfilled or whether because of changes in the forecast, it has to be changed.• It furnishes warning signals which can alert the decision maker that it will not be possible to continue present activities.
Techniques of Technology ForecastingIdeally technology forecasting should be rational and analytical based on available pertinent data. In following three situations / circumstances expert opinion may be sought for making technology forecast:• No historical data exists – as it could be new technology / new area of research & development• Impact of external factors may be more important than the factors which governed previous development of technology- i.e past data has become irrelevant and cannot be relied for making technology forecast• Ethical or moral considerations may dominate economic & technical considerations thus seeking lesser reliance on available data.
Techniques of Technology Forecasting• In above three situations, as the historical data is either not available or it has become irrelevant, group of experts are used to make technology forecast; as there is an old saying -- “Two heads are better than one.” By involving a number of experts, there is pooling of divergent ideas and various dimensions may be analyzed in better manner thus leading to a better technology forecast.• A. Techniques involving a group of experts are : – 1. Committees – 2. Delphi• B. Other Techniques based on historical data are : – 3. Exploratory Forecast – 4. Normative Forecast
1. CommitteesKey advantages of committees are as under:• Sum total of knowledge is greater than individual knowledge• Number of factors considered would be more than those considered by an individual• There is pooling of divergent ideas and various dimensions may be analyzed in a better manner• Helps in avoiding individual biases• Better knowledge & awareness of one member may compensate for lack of knowledge of another member.
1. CommitteesFew limitations associated with committees are :• Ther is no guarantee that misinformation will be cancelled out by using a group of experts. There is no guranatee that wrong ideas / judgements will be cancelled out by good ideas / judgements.• There is usually social pressure to agree with majority, which may be implicit or explicit.• Reaching agreement becomes a goal in itself. Good forecasts may thus be watered down in a bid to reach a consenus.
1. CommitteesContd …• A strong vocal minority may overwhelm majority , thus making process vulnerabe to hijack by dominant individuals• Vested interests may be presented very strongly in the beginning thus setting defined direction in the beginning• Entire group may share a common bias if a common culture is shared by all of them thus nullifying advantage of the group.• There may be emotional involvement of certain members, leading to conflicts • Lot of time and efforts may be consumed in reaching to a consensus
2. DelphiThree characterstics that distinguish Delphi from conventional face to face group interactions ( like committee) are as under:.1. Anonymity - anonymity is maintained through questionnaire as under :• Avoids possibility of identifying a specific opinion with a particular person.• Originator can thus change his mind without publicity admitting that he has done so.• Each idea can be considered on its merits, regardless of the fact whether group members may have high or low opinion about originator.
2. DelphiContd …2. Interaction with controlled feed back• Group interaction is through questionnaires and answers to questionnaires• Coordinator / moderator picks relevant informations & each group member is informed of status of group’s collective opinion & arguments for & against each point of view.• Controlled feedback prevents group taking rigid stand & helps to concentrate on its original objectives.3. Statistical Group response• Delphi presents the statistical group reponse that presents the opinions of entire group giving both the “Centre” of the group and the degree of spread about that centre
2. DelphiLimitations / Disadvantages of Delphi• The success of Delphi mainly lies in coordinator.• The experts must carry relevant experience• Further like committee, Delphi is based on opinions and not on data.
3. Exploratory Forecast• An Exploratory Forecast starts with past & present conditions and projects these to estimate future conditions.• The exploratory forecast is based on technology push and is opportunity oriented i.e. searching for future opportunities.• Exploratory forecast implicitly assumes that required performance can be achieved by reasonable extension of past performance.• Commonly used techniques of exploratory forecast are : Trend extrapolation.
3. Exploratory ForecastTrend Extrapolation• Assumption: Time series data from the past contains all the information needed to forecast the future.• The forecaster extends a pattern found by analyzing past time series data.• For example: A technological forecasting to forecast future aircraft speed …. by studying historical time series of aircraft speed records, by finding a pattern (trend), and extending it to the future to obtain a forecast.
4. Normative Forecast• A Normative Forecast starts with future needs and identifies the technological performance necessary to meet these required needs.• The normative forecast is based on market pull and is mission / need –oriented i.e. finding ways for meeting future needs.• Normative forecast implicitly forecasts the capabilities that will be available on the assumption that needs will be met . Thus in case of normative forecast, meeting needs on defined future time is highly important
4. Normative Forecast• Few techniques of Normative Technological Forecasting are as under: – Relevances Trees – Decision Matrices : Horizontal or vertical – Morphological Analysis – Network Techniques – Mission Flow Diagrams etc
4. Normative Forecast• Morphological Analysis - It is a normative technique developed by Fritz Zwicky which provides a framework for exploring all possible solutions to a particular problem. The morphological analysis involves the systematic study of the current and future scenarios of a particular problem. Based on this study, possible gaps are identified and the morphological analysis further provides a framework to explore other alternatives to fill these gaps.• Relevance Trees - It is an organized ‘normative’ approach starting with a particular objective and used for forecasting as well as planning. The basic structure looks like an organisational chart and presents information in a hierarchical structure. The hierarchy begins with the objectives which are further broken down into activities and further into tasks. As one descends down, the details increase at every level. The entries when taken together at each level describe the preceding level completely. Also, all activities and tasks depicted should be mutually exclusive
4. Normative Forecast• A mission / control flow diagram (CFD) is a diagram to describe the control flow of a business process, process or program• Mission Flow Diagrams - have been originally conceived by Harold Linstone as a means of analyzing military missions. This involves mapping all the alternative routes or sequences by which a given task can be accomplished. The analyst needs to identify significant steps on each route and also determine the challenges/costs associated with each route. The performance requirements can then be derived for each associated technology and the same can be used as normative forecasts.• .
4. Normative ForecastNetwork Technique• Firstly, the elements of a technological forecasting network are formulated for the purpose of converting the qualitative description of a technological system to a stochastic (non- deterministic) network form.• Then, an analytical procedure for the synthesis of the network is given.• Finally, examples are included for the purpose of illustration.
Technology Intelligence & Forecasting By Dr. Vijay Kr Khurana