Foresight: Technology Road Map


Foresight: Technology Road Map

Volume 6 Issue 6 News & Resources | June 2013


Predicting the future has been a habit for some people. In fact, it may be on the verge of becoming a major pastime activity for some out-of-work consultants and technology-related experts. There is no firm methodological way of ensuring or confirming the predictions, except to wait for it either to materialize or for it to be proven wrong. This future scenario planning might seemed trivial to some, but in actual fact very fundamental in setting the way forward for others. Well, one can either wait for the future to happen or opt to create the future one’s desire. The future will surely come to pass and we will become the reluctant recipient of whatever is in store for us. We can try and create the future that we want. We should be proactive in this aspect; be it at the personal, family, society and even, career levels. We owe it to ourselves to plan for things, rather than leave it to fate, and just take our chances. The efforts that we need to put in will not go to waste, and whatever the outcome, we will accept it gladly.

Future scenario planning will help us tremendously in determining the steps that we need to undertake and the paths that we need to traverse. Once we put the aim and goals clearly, our actions will follow through. We will be very sensitive to things that can jeopardize the chances for us to fulfill the aims. We will be more aware of opportunities that are passing by. We will be more context-aware, in terms of the surrounding mood and ambience. We will be very sensitive to opportunities that will enhance our chance of fortifying our financial resources. We will also be more focus and be more rational in determining on the list of priorities and what can be sacrificed in fulfilling the greater good. In a nutshell, we will be very pragmatic and goal-driven in our endeavor. But, of course, future scenario planning will be only as good as the planners (or predictors) and how they consider all the factors for realistic future projections. Yes, this is not an exact science. People do make mistakes and faulty assumptions, which may lead them to unchartered and unexpected scenarios. And these are possible outcome which one can only hope not to happen. Yes, hope!

In developing technology roadmap, the aspect future scenario projections become very crucial. If only we can make an intelligent guess of the future, the technology roadmap will be more visible. The availability of policies and top-level decisions will make the efforts of generating a reliable technology roadmap much simpler. This is so because the decision- or policy-makers are the ones who will churn out the financial and logistics supports. A top down directives will make the process smoother without the normal hiccup of wondering who is going to finance all the proposed steps. Yes, a top down technology roadmap session will be very desirable. Small people like us (read: researchers in the labs) will be more than willing to chip-in. We will put in our ideas and probably some bits of experiences to the process. Yes, this is the ideal process that will expedite the formulation of technology roadmaps. Top down people can even instruct the hesitant sectors and ensure that there would be majority buy-in of the proposed technology roadmaps. Never underestimate the buy-in issue, since a mishandling of this process will seal the fate of the roadmaps. Plan of action does notwork. People do the work!

Technology roadmaps are important because they indicate the seriousness of any research efforts for a particular field. For a country to progress, she needs to decide which field is more important the rests. There may be a need to sacrifice those seemingly uncritical areas and decide to go with the flow, and opt for the in-thing. Or one can be more adventurous and lead the pack in other highly potential but unexplored topics. High returns normally come together with high risks ventures. Lower risks will lead to lower profits and also greater competitions. These are decisions which will be very crucial to a nation. The future must be created via planning and rational strategies. It is illogical to expect very high returns and favorable market conditions without proper plans and execution of the plans. It is more illogical to expect perpetual reliability of the technology roadmaps when no updating or reconsiderations are done which takes into account the ever-changing nature of society and general dynamics of human civilizations. The technology roadmaps serve as a general guide and should always be opened to refinement and re-adjustment. This is the natural way!

In a nutshell, technology roadmaps that encompass the involvement of all stakeholders will be more robust and dependable. Via technology roadmaps, the stakeholders for technology development and nurturing will be more responsible in ensuring the goals are achieved. There will also be core groups that continuously ensure the nation is moving forward. It is our hope that the country will progress with a clear KPI in place, and assisted by a transparent and workable technology roadmap through valid technology foresight exercise.

"If you do not think about the future, you cannot have one.John Galsworthy

Written by : 
Assc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad 
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering 
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.