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Forecasting and Management of Technology, Second Edition by Frederick A. Rossini, Scott W. Cunningham, Jerry Banks, Alan L. Porter, Alan Thomas Roper, Thomas W. Mason

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4.1 Establishing the Context—the TDS

The process of technology forecasting begins by exploring the broad societal context in which the technology is being developed—the technology delivery system (TDS). The context is progressively narrowed to those institutions directly developing the technology and those impacting and impacted by it. The technology being forecast and its supporting, competing, and related technologies are then considered. Their potential development paths and the barriers and facilitators to their development are explored. All possible information is initially swept into the exploration and, of course, the broader the sweep, the shallower the depth. This information is briefly considered to assess its worth, and a substantial portion is discarded. There is no magic key beyond sound, informed judgment to determine what is to be explored further and what is to be discarded.

As information is taken into the study, it is organized to make a broad but shallow initial map of two things: the technological enterprise components needed to accomplish the innovation and the external forces and factors impinging on them. Boundaries are drawn, and information that is judged irrelevant is bounded out of the study. The detail retained increases in areas of the map close to the technology. It is important to note that the societal context of a technology is not static. It will evolve, sometimes in dramatic ways, with time. Thus, as much as possible, both the technology and its ...

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