2.2 Methodological Foundations
It should be clear how technology forecasting can inform management decisions about a crucial aspect of a business. However, before developing forecasting tools, there is a need to provide more foundation for their validity. While methodology sometimes is used as a synonym for method, it is really about why methods are legitimate. Understanding the scientific rationale for the approaches used in forecasting can add credibility and perspective.
Two systems that are critical for the formulation and design of technology forecasts are introduced in this section. The first is the technology delivery system (TDS), a simple diagrammatic technique that is used throughout the book to help frame the technology within its broader environment. The second, the inquiring systems approach to knowledge generation, is useful for selecting the appropriate questions and methods to use in a forecast.
2.2.1 The Technology Delivery System
Technological activity and the larger societal context of which it is a part interact through a complex and only partially understood system of relationships. Decades ago, Wenk and Kuehn (1977) recognized the need for a model to address the most important relationships in the process of sociotechnical change. The framework they suggested (Figure 2.2) still captures the dimensions of the problems of projecting and managing technological change. However, it is important to stress that while this simple diagram organizes the broad context, ...