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technology_evaluation

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technology_evaluation

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     TECHNOLOGY ECHNOLOGY EVALUATION VALUATION

     Report produced for the EC funded project INNOREGIO: dissemination of innovation and knowledge management techniques

     by Dr Yiannis Bakouros

     Ass. Prof. University of Thessaly

     J

     A N U A R Y

     2 0 0 0

     TECHNOLOGY EVALUATION

     1

     Contents

     1. Description ???? 2

     1.1 A short history of Technology Evaluation ????2 1.2 What is the technique. ????3 1.3 Objectives of the technique ????3 1.4 Description / structure of the methodology / alternative solutions ????4 1.5 Expected results / benefits????5 1.6 Characteristics of firms / organizations and service providers ????5

     2.

     Application???? 6

     2.1. Where the technique has been applied (firms / organizations) ????6 2.2 Types of firms / organization concerned????6 2.3 Implementation cost (study and application in separate) ????6 2.4 Conditions for implementation (infrastructure, modification required, etc.) ????6 2.5 European organization supporting the implementation of the method ????7

     3.

     Implementation procedure???? 7

     3.1 Steps / phases ????7 3.2 Partial techniques and tools included in each step ????9 3.3 Supplementary methods ????12 3.4 Alternative Tools????12 3.5 Related software (existing or being prepared) ????14

     4.

     Bibliographic references????16

     Annexes

     Annex 1 ?C Utilization of tools in each step Annex 2 - Examples of partial techniques and tools applications Annex 3 - An example of Technology Evaluation - Polyvinylchloride (PVC)

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     1

     1.1

     DESCRIPTION

     A short history of Technology Evaluation

     The roots of Technology Evaluation lie in the USA at the end of 1960s when large-scale applications of technology began to affect dramatically the life of citizens. However the origins of the field of Technology Evaluation can be traced to technology forecasting studies in the 1950s, where these studies attempt to forecast technological trends. These studies were basically intended to help large corporations and government agencies to adjust their technological investment schemes. Large think tanks, such as Rand and Hudson, made many technological forecasts. In the same period, public interest in the negative effects of technology grew. Sometimes these effects only appeared long after the introduction of a technology. These negative effects were often unintended and unforeseen. A new kind of study was developed in the USA to assess all of the effects of technologies that were still to come. These studies were called Technology Evaluation or Assessment. Industrialized countries have witnessed since World War II an ever-growing impact of technological developments on all aspects of human life. These developments, driven by market forces and governmental support, all had (and still have) the basic intension to change positively the quality of life. But very rapidly, questions were raised about possible secondary negative effects of new technologies on safety, health, employment and so on. Technology Evaluation in its original form was aimed at ????detecting???? as soon as possible all unintended negative secondary effects. Since then, the ideas about what technology evaluation can or should be have changed dramatically. Cronberg labeled this as the changing discourses of technology assessment, that is, the changing rules to understand and discuss technology evaluation. While the general issue for all technology assessment discourses has always been a focus on the societal implications of technology and technological change, changes have taken place on how these implications should be studied and on who should be implied in the process of technology evaluation. This has manifested itself in the emerging of different technology evaluation discourses and different technology evaluation practices. Four main types of technology evaluation discourse are distinguished: Type of Technology Evaluation Early Warning or Awareness Strategic

     Description Forecasting technological developments and their impacts, to warn for unintended or undesirable consequences. Supporting specific actors or groups of actors in formulating their policy or strategy with respect to a specific technological development.

    Broadening the decision process about technological development, to shape the course of technological development in socially desirable directions. Developing scenarios of desirable futures and starting innovation processes based on these scenarios.

     Constructive

     Backcasting

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     1.2

     What is the technique

     Technology Evaluation, is a set of principles, methods and techniques/tools for effective assessing the potential value of a technology and its contribution to company??s competitiveness and profitability. A thorough evaluation assesses the technology and its device??s value from technical, market and consumer perspectives and reconciles the results within a valid methodology. Technology Evaluation is one of the most significant techniques in innovation function, such as technology transfer and it is best utilized in screening new ideas, assessing innovative or not innovative technologies. In other words, it??s a powerful technique for an organization in examine new ideas, identifying and analyze causes or potential change, develop and plan possible solutions and finally select and implement the proposal technology. The evaluation of a proposed technology must be very careful, considering and identifying all the factors that will affect the whole organization. These main factors are expected financial benefits, competitiveness, added value in its products and the impact upon the business as a whole. The present technique can either be applied in small, medium or world class enterprises in order to evaluate mid and high tech technologies. Definitions about Technology Evaluation are given below: 1. Technology Evaluation is a class of policy studies, which systematically examine the effects on society that may occur when a technology is introduced, extended or modified. It emphasizes those consequences that are unintended, indirect or delayed. Technology Evaluation is an attempt to establish an early warning system to detect, control, and direct technological changes and developments so as to maximize the public good while minimizing the public risks. Technology Evaluation is a form of policy research, which provides a balanced appraisal to the policy maker. Ideally, it is a system to ask the right questions and obtain correct and timely answers. It identifies policy issues, assesses the impact of alternative courses of action and presents findings. It is a method of analysis that systematically appraises the nature,

    significance, status, and merit of a technological program.

     2.

     3.

     Technology Evaluation is a process consisting of analyses of technological developments and their consequences as well as a debate on the basis of these analyses. Technology Evaluation should provide information that could help the actors involved in developing their strategies and that might define subjects for further Technology Evaluation analysis.

     1.3

     Objectives of the technique

     The objectives of the present discussed technique are quite clearly and clarified. Independently of the kind and the size of the organization, either manufacturing or commercial, small, medium or wold class, all expect to be more competitive with increased profitability, as the result of the introduction of a new technology.

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     The basic purpose of the technology evaluation technique is to accomplish the above goals for the organization. So, the organization has to perform as far as possible detailed and punctilious examination of the proposed idea-technology. In addition, the technology evaluation technique is used to introduce to the strategy of a company a methodology, which can enable the company to monitor and use various information sources, from which it is possible to get useful information. The evaluation should be a continuous process with the possibility of terminating at any time in the light of additional information. It is not, of course, practicable to update all information at frequent intervals, but periodic major re-evaluations are also required when every aspect of the proposed technology can be reviewed.

     1.4

     Description / structure of the methodology / alternative solutions

     In order to evaluate and select among different technologies the best fitted for the organization, some useful steps/phases are proposed that must be followed carefully and under potential review. Following the proposed steps-methodology, it is very helpful to obtain acquire information about technology or technologies that could provide innovative or improved product or processes in the technology business. Every step includes one or more technology management tools, which are essential and necessary for the implementation procedure. These steps can be summarized as follows: Step 1: Work Team Establishment for a Preliminary Assessment. Step 2: Selection or Rejection of the proposed

    technology, on the basis of the preevaluation made in step1. Step 3: Identification of Areas where Additional Information is required. Step 4: Comparison of New Information arising from step 3 with that used in the initial decision (step1). Step 5: Assessment of possible Conflicts. Step 6: Decision to Terminate or to Proceed, repeating steps 3-5. Step 7: Detailed Evaluation considering: Corporate objectives, strategy, policies and values Marketing Financial criteria Production & Manufacturing criteria. The technology management tools that can be used in each step are listed below: 1) Brainstorming 2) Delphi Method 3) Idea Advocate 4) Creativity Assessment 5) Venn Diagram 6) Cluster Analysis

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     7) Dendogram 8) Matrix Data Analysis 9) Factor Analysis 10) Opportunity Analysis 11) Reverse Brainstorming In section 3, Implementation procedure and in the Annex, there is a detailed description about the usefulness of each tool its typical applications, and some examples of its implementations are illustrated. The first step for the organization has to be the work team establishment with one or more managers that will have the responsibility to lead and guide the team through a successful evaluation process. According to the size of the company, the appointment of an expert experienced consultant can be achieved, depending on the difficulties of the project and the financial situation of the organization. ALTERNATIVES In essence there are no alternatives to Technology Evaluation techniques. An organization would decide to formalize and to implement technology evaluation to accomplish the right selection among proposed technologies, or to work randomly without any specific methodology. Work done individually will be based on specific tasks assigned to the individual and the outcome of the work would be joined by other pieces of work by other individual.

     1.5

     Expected results / benefits

     The technology evaluation technique provides a methodology and a set of structured actions, which enables the enterprises to take into mind all the factors related with the proposed new technology. Implementing the technology evaluation technique the organization will be able to identify improvement opportunities, innovation perspectives in products, processes and services. The elegance of a new technology is of no value unless they result in a product people willing to purchase. So, while evaluating a new or an already used technology the organization has to look on how to produce more competitive products that will satisfy

    the consumers. In addition, when a structured methodology is followed it will cost and last less more than working randomly without any plan, so recourses can be preserved for other activities of the enterprise.

     1.6

     Characteristics of firms / organizations and service providers

     The firms / organizations who could be adequate to evaluate and select the best-fitted technology for an enterprise, have to perform some characteristics and specifications. First of all the appointment of one or more experienced manager-s, in technology evaluation area, is the basic and the most critical step because the present technique is based mostly in human efficiency and talent, rather in ''smart'' devises (e.g. PC's) or related software. So the success or the failure of the evaluation is depended primarily on

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     the skillfulness of the team manager who has the responsibility of setting up the appropriate team. After the first step, the team must have on hand some tools in order to perform the proposed actions/steps. The organization has to ensure the proper infrastructure, such as equipment, devices, and access to any necessary information, bibliography, papers, technical data, etc. Such type of organizations in Greece are listed below: ? HIRC - Hellenic Innovation Relay Center ? FORTH ?C Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas ? ELKEPA - Greek Productivity Center ? MARTEDEC (EANT) - Marine Technology Development Company ? MIRTEC (EBETAM) ?C Metallurgical Industry and Research Technological Company. ? CERECO - Ceramics and Refractories Technological Development Company S.A. ? ETAT - Food Industrial Research and Technological Development Company S.A. ? CLOTEFI - Clothing Textile and Fiber Technological Development S.A. ? RC AUEB - Research Center of Athens University of Economics and Business ? PSP S.A. - Patras Science Park S.A. ? TTP / MDC - Thessaloniki Technology Park - Management & Development Corporation S.A. ? University Laboratories

     2

     2.1

     APPLICATION

     Where the technique has been applied (firms / organizations)

     The technique has been applied mostly on high technology based firms, companies with strong infrastructure in innovation and technological development. Unfortunately no proper or official use to any traditional SME digits the fact that they do evaluate in their way (not as technology evaluation) the introduction of any new equipment and technique.

     2.2

     Types of firms / organization concerned

     The present technique can either be applied in small, medium or world-class enterprises in order to evaluate mid and high-tech technologies.

     2.3

     Implementation cost (study and application in separate)

     The implementation cost of the present technique cannot be clearly specified. It depends on complex factors concerning so much the organization itself as the nature of the proposed technology, either mid or high tech. Definitely the duration of the evaluation process increases the implementation cost so does the involvement of many experts.

     2.4

     Conditions for implementation

     In order to implement the evaluation process there's absolute no need of excess equipment, devices, etc, and no modifications have to take place. As long as the company have her own business and action plans its implicit that the appropriate infrastructure been exist.

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     2.5

     European organization supporting the implementation of the method

     There are no specific European organizations specialized absolutely in technology evaluation technique. Though we can list below some organizations, R & D centers, Consultant Companies, Universities, etc, that are involved and promote innovation and technology transfer: 1. AIRI - Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca Industriale 2. APRODI ?C Association pour la promotion et le development industriel 3. Luxinnovation 4. Oxford innovation 5. TEKES ?C Teknologian kenittamiskeskus, etc. 6. FORTH ?C Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas 7. All the Greek organizations referred in paragraph 1.5. (For more information see also: http://www.cordis.lu/imt.htm)

     3

     IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURE The implementation procedure has briefly discussed is section 1.3. In this section there is a detailed description of each step and the usefulness of the technology management tools, for each step.

     Steps / phases

     The proposed steps are listed below: Step1: Work Team Establishment for a Preliminary Assessment. Usually the team can be constituted of 3-10 members. The primarily target of the team is to identify all the

    factors, such as financial benefits, competitiveness, impact upon the business as whole, relevant to the new technology. The determination of the rationale for the products (market-place), is the first target. So the team has to implement a pre-evaluation of the technology proposal in relation to these factors using quantitative information where available (e.g. previous implementations) or subjective quantitative judgments, where appropriate, when actual data is unobtainable. Record all assumptions and quantitative estimates as a control standard for future reference. The proposed tools that can be used in step 1 are: !"Brainstorming !"Idea Advocate !"Opportunity Analysis Step 2: Selection or Rejection of the proposed technology, on the basis of the preevaluation made in step1. In this step there may be used the same tools as in step 1. Step 3: Identification of Areas where Additional Information is required and the recourses to obtain these data. After the first involvement of the company staff (team members) during the preliminary assessment phase, a more important involvement will take place when technical experts - consultants will be requested to participate and contribute to the evaluation process. Team members and consultants have to co-operate closely in order to obtain the most important information needed for the proposed technology, at the lower price for the company. In that step the most important tools are: !"Delphi Method !"Creativity Assessment !"Opportunity Analysis

     3.1

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     Step 4: Comparison of New Information arising from step 3 with that used in the initial decision (step1), hence the importance of Recording (see step 1) the earlier assumptions and estimates. Useful tools in this step are: !"Venn Diagram !"Cluster Analysis Step 5: Assessment of the impact of any variances revealed in step 4, upon the continued viability of the technology. In this step we can define some possible conflicts, with other technologies used by the company or with other departments, products, etc. The appropriate tools are: !"Venn Diagram !"Factor Analysis !"Cluster Analysis !"Dendogram Step 6: Decision to Terminate or to Proceed, repeating in potential review steps 3-5, using: !"Idea Advocate !"Delphi Method !"Dendogram !"Reverse Brainstorming Step 7: Detailed Evaluation considering: 1. Corporate objectives, strategy, policies and values 2. Marketing 3. Financial criteria 4. Production & Manufacturing criteria. At this last step we can use some of the above-proposed tools and in addition: !"Matrix data Analysis !"Checklists !"Spreadsheets !"Flowcharts, etc. At the stage of detailed evaluation we have to take into account of some important

    qualitative criteria, as reported below: 1. Corporate objectives, strategy, policies and values 1.1 Strategy Planning 1.2 Corporate mage 1.3 Risk Aversion 1.4 Attitude to innovation 2. Marketing 2.1 Identifiable need 2.2 Estimates sales volume - technology & product life 2.3 Timescale and relationship to the market plan 2.4 Effects upon current technologies & products 2.5 Pricing 2.6 Competition 2.7 Launching cost 3. Financial criteria 3.1 Cash flow

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     3.2

     Effect upon other projects requiring finance

     4. Production & Manufacturing criteria. 4.1 Manufacturing capability 4.2 Cost of manufacture 4.3 Value added in production

     3.2

     Partial techniques and tools included in each step

     At this section it is useful for the understanding of the technology management tools mentioned above- to give a fully description and them typical applications: 1) Brainstorming Description Brainstorming is an idea-generating tool widely used by teams for identifying problems, alternative solutions to problems, or opportunities for improvement. This tool originated in 1941 by Alex F. Osborne, when his search for creative ideas resulted is an unstructured group process of interactive ???? brain-storming???? that generated more and better ideas than individuals could produce working independently. Typical

    application !" To unlock the creativity in teams. !" To generate a large list of ideas for problem solving or a list of problem areas for decision making or planning. !" To develop creative and alternative solutions. !" To identify improvement opportunities. !" To start innovation in processes, products, and services through team participation. 2) Delphi Method Description The Delphi method is a very structured approach used to acquire written opinion or to receive feedback about a problem on detailed questionnaires sent to experts. Used by the Rank Corporation during the 1950s, the use of questionnaires prevents interpersonal interaction that can often stifle individual contribution whenever some participants dominate the discussion. Participants?? anonymous responses are shared, and each participant can revise his or her response on the basis of reading other opinions. After repeating this process several times, the convergence of opinion will lead to team consensus. Typical application !"To solicit opinions or ideas from a jury of experts, anonymously circulate questionnaires repeatedly for revisions and consolidation in order to arrive at a final forecast, choice, or action plan. !"To generate ideas by a group of experts, allow them to revise

    their own ideas after having read all other ideas, and finally have a summarized statement that reflects group consensus. !"To forecast trends in economic and technological forces that may affect the organization. 3) Idea Advocate Description First used by the Battle Institute of Frankfurt, Germany, the idea advocate is an excellent idea-evaluation tool. The team assigns the role of idea advocate to a participant who

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     promotes a particular idea as the most valuable from a list of previously generated ideas. The more an idea advocate promotes different ideas, the more powerful the selection process, since every idea is fully examined by the evaluation team. Typical application !"To ensure fair examination of all ideas !"To give every presented idea equal chance of being selected !"To uncover the positive aspects of every idea presented. 4) Creativity assessment Description Developed by Leo Moore, the creativity assessment technique is applied as a sorting and rating process to a long list of brainstormed ideas. It should help teams with evaluation and categorization by selecting ideas on the basis of predetermined criteria. Typical application !"To categorize a list of generated ideas using team-established criteria. !"To evaluate and sort ideas into groups. !"To screen ideas or solutions considered for implementation. 5) Venn Diagram Description A Venn diagram can be used to identify logical relationships, and it is very useful in displaying the union and intersection of events or sets. It can be graphically illustrate the mutually exclusive concept and other rules of probability or the outcome of an experiment. Typical application !"To illustrate the relationship of events, sets, or behavior. !"To help understand the consequences when two events intersect or are combined !"To test the validity of a syllogism by applying logical thinking 6) Cluster analysis Description The cluster analysis tool is best utilized after a brainstorming session to organize data by subdividing different ideas, items, or characteristics into relatively similar groups, each under a topical heading. Mainly a discovery tool, it often surfaces perceived problem areas, concerns, or items that naturally belong together. Typical application !"To classify data into natural groupings on the basis of similar or related

    characteristics. !"To identify most important characteristics to be considered in developing a problem specification. !"To develop a more homogeneous group of items from a large list of dissimilar items. !"To identify differences among customer, employee, or supplier groups in regard to quality perception and performance issues. 7) Dendogram

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