Friday, May 25, 2007

Measuring How Emerging Technologies Emerge

Conquering the Technology Foresight Deficit

I have been making the case that innovation of the technological variety is not as esoteric and serendipity-ridden as popular conception would have us believe. It can be, and often is, a disciplined and well-managed process. And like any disciplined process, the rate of progress of any innovation-focused initiative should be foreseeable.

However, for a variety of reasons, some of which I have discussed in my articles here and here, we continue to be trapped in a "technology foresight deficit", or a chronic inability to foresee emerging technologies correctly. Having been extremely dissatisfied - if not irked - by this state of affairs, I have been working towards creating a solution. I presented an early version of a methodology for foreseeing the potential of emerging technologies at the IRMA conference in Vancouver earlier this week, and the response was heartening. I was helped considerably in creating the methodology by Shiv Mahajan, an extraordinarily enterprising Stanford undergraduate.

The conference, where I also chaired a session, was smoothly run and a fruitful experience. And presenting a seminal methodology for foreseeing innovation in Vancouver, one of the world's most modern and livable cities, and one which has won several awards for innovation in its own right, was fitting.