8.4 Forecasting in an Institutional Context

Section 8.1.2 described the relationship of institutions and technology. Certainly the institutional constraints, impacts, and reactions to and from innovation are critical components of the TDS. This is a very broad topic, and different technologies will encounter very different institutional contexts. For instance, the development of medical innovations from stem cells research has encountered major resistance from religious institutions and their political allies, while there is relatively little religious sensitivity to alternative sources of energy. In some situations, the institutional context can be very positive. Singh and Allen (2006) discuss the importance of universities in Pittsburgh's postindustrial economy, and many other regions with twentieth-century industrial success are looking to their universities as important institutional assets in growing technology-based businesses. Much also has been written about the ways that government can either enable or constrain innovation. India, for example, is increasingly a force in information technology (IT), but the booming IT economic sector did not develop until the government liberalized its restrictive policies toward business. Christensen (Christensen and Overdorf, 2000) and others have talked about the importance of a supportive environment to the nurturing of disruptive technologies in the United States. The constraints and encouragement can come in cultural and other unofficial ...

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