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Strategic Foresight activities enable companies to use weak signals to identify opportunities and threats. Research on Strategic Foresight proposes different methods, discusses their implementation and gives recommendations on how to link Strategic Foresight with other functions in an organization. Based on a literature review, we define a generic framework for the management of Strategic Foresight activities on the strategic, tactical and operational level and identify and discuss actors, methods and systems of Strategic Foresight. Building on an in-depth case study of the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories we shed light on the implementation of Strategic Foresight activities. In the discussion we focus on the interaction of methods from Consumer Foresight and Technology Intelligence. Taking an example project, we explore how Strategic Foresight is used on the operational level of innovation management. We conclude that Strategic Foresight can successfully contribute to coping with uncertainty and complexity and can feed the front-end of innovation from the market (customer needs) and technology (realization opportunities) perspective.
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ISPIM-Asia 2007 conference, New Delhi, India – 9th-12th January 2007
Strategic Foresight in multinational enterprises – a
case study on the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories
René Rohrbeck
Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin,
Heinrich M. Arnold
Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin,
Jörg Heuer
Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin,
Abstract: Strategic Foresight activities enable companies to use weak signals
to identify opportunities and threats. Research on Strategic Foresight proposes
different methods, discusses their implementation and gives recommendations
on how to link Strategic Foresight with other functions in an organization.
Based on a literature review, we define a generic framework for the
management of Strategic Foresight activities on the strategic, tactical and
operational level and identify and discuss actors, methods and systems of
Strategic Foresight.
Building on an in-depth case study of the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories we
shed light on the implementation of Strategic Foresight activities. In the
discussion we focus on the interaction of methods from Consumer Foresight
and Technology Intelligence. Taking an example project, we explore how
Strategic Foresight is used on the operational level of innovation management.
We conclude that Strategic Foresight can successfully contribute to coping with
uncertainty and complexity and can feed the front-end of innovation from the
market (customer needs) and technology (realization opportunities) perspective.
Keywords: strategic foresight, consumer foresight, technology foresight,
technology intelligence, market foresight, trend analysis, future studies, future
analysis, telecommunication industry.
Biographical notes: René Rohrbeck is senior researcher at the Deutsche
Telekom Laboratories (T-Labs) and associate researcher at Berlin Technical
University’s Institute for Innovation and Technology Management. At the T-
Labs he also coordinates the Technology Intelligence activities. His research
interests are Strategic Foresight, Technology Scouting, Roadmapping and
University-Industry Collaborations. Before joining the T-Labs, Rohrbeck
worked as a business development manager for a technology consultancy and
two years as a management consultant in the automobile industry.
Strategic Foresight in multinational enterprises 2
Dr. Heinrich Arnold heads the Innovation Development Laboratory of
Deutsche Telekom Laboratories. Prior to this, he was involved in large-scale
organizational and strategic projects at Deutsche Telekom. Before joining
Deutsche Telekom AG, he worked for an International Management
Consultancy Firm and was on the executive board of a German/Chinese
research company. Arnold studied Technical Physics at Munich Technical
University. He has a Master of Science in Engineering from Stanford
University, a Master of Business Research from Ludwig Maximilians
University in Munich and MIT Sloan School of Management and a Ph.D. in
Technology Management. Dr. Arnold is a lecturer in Innovations Management,
the author of the scientific book “Technology Shocks” on the management of
radical technological change, and a member of the Innovation Leadership
Advisory Boards of the School of Engineering at the University of Illinois
Jörg Heuer started his career at Deutsche Telekom working for an engineering
subsidiary where he designed and led more than 30 projects for all divisions of
the Deutsche Telekom group. Currently, Heuer is responsible for Technology
Exploration and the publication of a periodical report on technology
developments for CTO/ CMO level management and innovation departments
of the Deutsche Telekom group. He specializes in AAA (Authentication,
Authorization, Accounting) and is responsible for managing the ‘Overarching
AAA Programme’ of the group’s innovation department. Jörg Heuer holds a
Masters Degree in Computer Science from Berlin Technical University and
worked in research on massively parallel computers and software engineering
at Germany’s National Research Center for Computer Science before
embarking on a career in the industry.
1 Introduction
As new technologies, new services and new customer trends emerged, companies in
many industries had to watch their profits eroding and their entire business models being
threatened. This is by no means a new phenomenon. The industrial revolution substituted
millions of weavers with the mechanical loom, replaced horsepower with steam engines
and made manual work in many places dispensable. In recent years, troubled industries
include photography, which was largely unprepared for the technological discovery of the
digital camera, print media, where for example the publishers of encyclopaedias were
caught off guard by the impact of the Internet or the Wikipedia phenomenon, and
telecommunications, which is faced with the threat of Voice over IP.
To discover threats in time, companies have to use weak signals in their periphery.
Day and Shoemaker use the example of two breweries to illustrate the importance of
weak signals. The first company – Anheuser-Busch – identified the health-living trend
early on and successfully introduced a low-calorie beer, thus capturing 5-7% of the light-
beer market. Its main competitor, Coors, not having understood the potential, was slow to
react to the market shift and did not follow suit until two years later. [1].
ISPIM-Asia 2007 conference, New Delhi, India – 9th-12th January 2007 3
2 Definition
Scientific classification
The research on the future and how to deal with it has evolved over time to include an
increasing number of aspects. A classification of the research fields is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Scientific classification of research on Future Studies
Source: Own figure
In the 1970s, research conducted on the subject was termed Forecasting and focused on
methods for predicting the future with modeling and econometric techniques, mainly
using data from the past [2]. These methods included trend extrapolation, S-curves, trend
curves, and patent and publication analysis.
Foresight broadened the scope of research to incorporate methods that enable
networking for information gathering, assessment and interpretation, and methods that
support decision making [3]. Furthermore, Foresight includes research on the capacity of
organizations to cope with the future [4]. Both Forecasting and Foresight techniques have
been investigated on a company level and on a regional, national and supranational level,
such as economic areas.
In the 1990s, the scope of research was broadened by including the organization and
the processes of the future investigation. The term Strategic Foresight was developed to
refer to research focused on the company level. [5-7]. Today, to a large extent, Future
Analysis has substituted Strategic Foresight as the preferred term [8-11]. In this article we
use the term Strategic Foresight to emphasize the focus on the company level only.
Elements or Strategic Foresight
Strategic Foresight uses weak signals from science and technology and from the political,
socio-cultural and competitive environment. There has been extensive research on future-
related intelligence activities in these specific fields and we would, therefore, like to point
out the main research fields which have been incorporated into Strategic Foresight. These
elements of Strategic Foresight are shown in Figure 2.
Technology Intelligence deals with the identification, assessment and usage of weak
signals and information about emerging technologies and technological
discontinuities [12-14].
Regional/ national
and supranational
Regional/ national
and supranational
Using data from the
past to anticipate the
Using gathered
informatio n for
decision making
Process and
actors Organization
Future Analysis
Strategic Foresight
Strategic Foresight in multinational enterprises 4
Competitive Intelligence deals with the assessment of competitors and the
identification and assessment of products and services in development or already
available in lead markets [15-18].
Political Environment Foresight deals with the identification, assessment and usage
of information on legislation, the political environment and on shifts in the political
landscape [1, 5]. This element is particularly critical in highly regulated industries
such as the infrastructure of the food industry. At first, genetically modified food
appeared to have a great deal of potential. However, the introduction of tight
regulations led to a significant drop in sales.
Consumer Foresight deals with the identification, assessment and anticipation of
consumer needs as well as lifestyle and socio-cultural trends.
Figure 2: Elements of Strategic Foresight
Source: Own figure
Definition of Strategic Foresight
Strategic Foresight deals with the identification, assessment and usage of weak
signals to recognize and give warning about threats and opportunities at an early stage.
Sources of weak signals are the political, socio-cultural and competitive environments as
well as science and technology. Strategic Foresight defines the methods, the actors, the
process and the system needed to enhance the competitive position of a company.
Strategic Foresight can be directed (monitoring, issue driven) or undirected (scanning)
[12, 19].
3 Coordination of market and technology perspective
The four elements of Strategic Foresight can be divided up further into two perspectives.
The perspectives often correspond to the activities of the various actors involved in
Strategic Foresight
Identification, assessment and usage of
information on emerging technologies and
technological discontinuities
Assessment of competitors and identification
and assessment of products and service in
development or available in lead markets
Identification, assessment and anticipation of
consumer needs, lifestyle and socio-cultural
Competitive Intelligence Consumer Foresight
Technology Intelligence Political Environment Foresight
Identification, assessment and usage of
information on legislation, the political
environment and on shifts in political will
ISPIM-Asia 2007 conference, New Delhi, India – 9th-12th January 2007 5
strategic foresight. Therefore, the restructuring of perspectives is helpful when analyzing
the coordination of different activities, actors and methods within the organization.
The two perspectives shown in Figure 3 are the market perspective, which
incorporates the Competitive Intelligence, Consumer Foresight and Political Environment
Foresight elements and the technology perspective, which consists of Technology
Figure 3: Integration of the two perspectives of Strategic Foresight
Source: Own figure
The two perspectives can be integrated in three different ways. Firstly, by bringing the
different actors together. Secondly, by applying methods designed to combine the data
generated in the two perspectives. And thirdly, by using systems which integrate the
perspectives. These systems can be IT-solutions or organizational systems such as staff
units, which analyze the information generated in the two perspectives and compose an
integrated report.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the expected gains from integrating the two
perspectives. However, there are also barriers to overcome while attempting to do so [20-
25]. In the end, the success of the integration will depend on bringing the actors together
through tailored methods and systems adapted to company specific requirements.
4 Actors
In recent years, the individual actor has become the focal point of innovation
management research. The two research streams have been the Champions of Innovation
and the Promoters of Innovation [26]. This research has shown that the actions of a few
individuals, rather than the innovation system itself, are crucial to the success of
The same applies to the Strategic Foresight activities of Deutsche Telekom AG and
their successful implementation in order to give early warning signs and to stimulate
innovation. Figure 4 shows the different Strategic Foresight actors at Deutsche Telekom
AG. The Strategic Foresight activities conducted by these actors are mostly directed by
specific issues, which need to be acted upon. In order to decide upon the course of action,
Strategic Foresight
Market perspective Technology perspective
Integrating elements
Competitive Intelligence
Consumer Foresight
Political Environment
Foresight Systems
Technology Intelligence
Strategic Foresight in multinational enterprises 6
information is usually gathered, analyzed and, after a conclusion has been reached, the
data is usually distributed.
On the other hand, there are three units which scan in an undirected way. These units
Product & Service Exploration, which is dedicated to the identification of products
and services available in lead markets,
Customer Exploration, which uses methods such as ICT diaries, socio-cultural
studies and trend analysis to identify latent and emerging customer needs, and
Technology Exploration, which scans for emerging technologies.
All three units publish scanning reports, which are available throughout Deutsche
Telekom AG. The way these reports are disseminated has a strong information-push
character: readers cannot state what information they require or how comprehensive it
should be. There are, however, some information-pull mechanisms in place. Deutsche
Telekom AG business units can request workshops or interviews on the scanning results.
Figure 4: Strategic Foresight Actors at Deutsche Telekom AG
Source: Own figure based on case study
5 Methods
The methods of Strategic Foresight can be differentiated according to the areas in which
they are applied, as shown in Figure 5. A case study of Deutsche Telekom AG and a
literature review in the area of Competitive Intelligence identified the market-oriented
methods [16, 17, 27]. The Deutsche Telekom AG mainly uses an international scouting
network for Technology Intelligence [28, 29]. For this reason, the Technology
Intelligence methods are mainly determined through the literature [13, 30-32]. as the
Deutsche Telekom AG is using mainly an international scouting network for Technology
Technology and
Platform Strategy
Strategic R&D
Management Technology ExpertProduct Manager
Product & Service
ISPIM-Asia 2007 conference, New Delhi, India – 9th-12th January 2007 7
Intelligence [28, 29]. The integrating methods are discussed as a powerful means to
overcome the barriers between market and technology perspective [33] as well as
between strategic, tactical and operational planning [34]. The most commonly used
integrating methods are roadmapping [35-38] and the scenario technique [39-41].
Figure 5: Methods of Strategic Foresight
Source: Own figure based on Rohrbeck, Gemünden (2006) [34]
6 Strategic Foresight for operational innovation management
Case setting
To identify how Strategic Foresight stimulates new innovation activities we analyzed a
Deutsche Telekom Laboratories (T-Labs) project. T-Labs are part of the central
‘Innovation, Research, and Development’ unit of Deutsche Telekom AG. The T-Labs
research and develop new information and communication technologies and services,
allowing the Deutsche Telekom Group to generate new business and expand its existing
Methodological Background
To identify the distinct activities which led to the successful launch of the project, we
used the four steps for the front end of innovation defined in the barrier paradigm of
Gemünden [42]:
In the idea generation step an individual has to recognize the innovation potential of
their idea.
Customer diaries
Ethnographic Study
Socio-cultural Currents
Customer Scenarios
Focus Topics
Qualitative Survey
Quantitative Survey
Competitor Analysis
Trend Report
Lead-User Analysis
Lead-Market Analysis
Market-oriented methods Technology-oriented methods
Integrating methods
Scenario Technique
Quality Function
Internal Delphi Study
Competitor Analysis
Technology Scouting
Publication Analysis
Patent Analysis
Conference Analysis
S-Curve Analysis
Delphi Studies
Learning Curve
Option Pricing Models
Strategic Foresight in multinational enterprises 8
In the idea communication step he shares the idea with co-workers, superiors or
external friends or family.
The next step is the concept development where usually the definition of the
expected outcome, the project planning and the budgeting is taking place. Especially
in this phase the contributions of promoters is essential [26].
The final step to successfully incorporating the innovation impulse in the product
development is the project proposal and its acceptance.
To deepen the understanding of the sequence of actions we differentiated them into
market, technology and integrative activities.
Sequence of activities
The sequence of activities that lead to the project’s initiation is shown in Figure 6. In the
case study there were two simultaneous Strategic Foresight activities in the idea
generation step.
Figure 6: Sequence of activities
Source: Own figure based on case study
Firstly, the consumer exploration unit published an opinion paper detailing the way
groups of people get together on the Internet to solve their specific problems, thereby
adding their solution to the portfolio of solutions available on the Internet and eventually
causing a much larger trend (like the world wide web itself, which started as a solution
for researchers at the “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire – (CERN)”).
Secondly, the technology exploration unit issued a report on multi-channel
communication. Different modes of communication such as telephoning, e-mail and text
messaging require very different devices and services, are handled differently and involve
different ways of addressing one’s peers. So this trend was described as asking for more
Consumer Assessment:
„Communication behavior
in online and offline
Technology Assessment:
„Application enabling and
delivery environment“
Consumer Exploration:
„Subcultures create
Joined Wor kshop:
„Facilitate communication
in online and offline
Technology Exploration:
„Mult i-Channe l
Project Proposal:
„Toolkit for 3
ISPIM-Asia 2007 conference, New Delhi, India – 9th-12th January 2007 9
than what Unified Messaging Services (UMS) could deliver: the integration of devices,
addressing schemes, communication logic and finally products.
The idea communication step consisted of trend workshops, which are organized
regularly by the technology exploration unit. Participants are innovation strategists,
technology experts and product managers from different business units. During the one-
day event, impulses from technology, customer and market exploration were combined to
identify business requirements and long-term strategic visions.
An analysis of the impulses and the discussion led to the idea of investigating the
potential and feasibility of a service that would “facilitate communication in online and
offline communities”.
Concept development was again divided into two sections: customer analysis and
technology analysis. A sociological and market analysis was conducted in the customer
analysis part. In the technology part, the feasibility was assessed, key enabling
technologies, such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) were identified, and frameworks
such as the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) were analyzed.
The final project proposal was than refined into a “toolkit for 3rd party communities”
that would deliver service building blocks designed to enhance communication within
and between communities.
Outcome of the project
The project’s first prototype was ‘Saturday Night Swarming’, a service enabling party
communities to share photos and video clips and set up joint activities through an
intuitive interface on their mobile phones. The second prototype, ‘Sports Moms’, allows
mothers to co-ordinate sporting activities with household chores and parental duties in
real time.
The exploration of potential business models and sociological patterns of
communication has enabled T-Labs to take a strong position in the definition of
requirements for future services platforms. These requirements are reflected in
standardization work, discussions with vendors and attempts to influence the industry’s
mindset in conferences and talks within and outside the telecommunications industry.
7 Conclusion
Implications for practitioners
Our case study established one possible way to include Strategic Foresight in the front-
end of operational innovation management. In this example, the innovation initiative
came from an impulse originating in internal units which specialize in scanning for
customer needs and emerging technologies. A second way to successfully use Strategic
Foresight in this context would be to enable R&D managers or R&D project leaders to
build up their own foresight capabilities. A third way would be to use external
consultants to scan for impulses.
Regardless of the method chosen, companies must make sure that the front-end of
their new product development is receptive enough to absorb these impulses.
Strategic Foresight in multinational enterprises 10
Suggestions for further research
Much research has been done by scholars into the field of foresight. However, up until
now, no consistent frameworks incorporating actors, methods and systems have been
proposed. One question in particular, which remains unanswered, is how to structure
Strategic Foresight activities in order to maximize a company’s creativity and innovative
For this reason, we believe it is important and valuable to identify more successful
cases, broaden the scope of research and incorporate the sophisticated creativity and
collaboration tools emerging today within the Web 2.0 environment. Tools that could be
used include social tagging, automated and collaborative information filtering, agent-
based issue analysis and the usage of virtual worlds, such as second life for consumer
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... En "Strategic Foresight in multinational enterprises -a case study on the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories" (Rohrbeck, R., Arnold H. M. u Heuer, J., 2007) se resalta que las actividades estratégicas de prospectiva permiten a las empresas detectar señales débiles (weak signals) para identificar oportunidades y amenazas. Pero tambien basándose en un estudio de caso en profundidad de los laboratorios de Deutsche Telekom, se ofrecen recomendaciones sobre cómo vincular la prospectiva estratégica con otras funciones en una organización y tomando un proyecto de ejemplo, se explora cómo la prospectiva estratégica se utiliza en el nivel operacional de la gestión de la innovación. ...
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El artículo trata de ofrecer una visión general sobre los orígenes, conceptos e ideas clave de la prospectiva estratégica, así como sobre su utilización en el ámbito de organizaciones, empresas, gobiernos y territorios, y su aportación al desarrollo, buen gobierno y sostenibilidad de los mismos. A partir de la exposición de los principios sobre los que se sustenta la prospectiva como disciplina, el artículo se centra en exponer su aportación a los procesos reflexión estratégica y de planificación, planeación o planeamiento de los territorios, organizaciones y empresas. Asimismo, se exponen algunos casos relevantes de aplicación en diferentes ámbitos, el enfoque y características principales, los requisitos y condiciones principales para ello, y se finaliza con los retos de futuro que se le plantean a la propia prospectiva estratégica.
O artigo aborda o planejamento aeroportuário enquanto problema de política pública, inserindo-o na perspectiva das relações de poder entre agentes envolvidos ou interessados no processo de planejamento (stakeholders). O objetivo é apresentar referências oriundas do campo da prospectiva estratégica que possam ser de interesse para o trato do problema do planejamento aeroportuário no Brasil. Importante elemento da infraestrutura de uma região, decisões sobre o desenvolvimento de um aeroporto são interesse legítimo de diversos atores e, assim, se demonstram adequadas as contribuições da prospectiva estratégica, que considera os interesses dos atores envolvidos na problemática analisada. Fundamentado em revisão bibliográfica e análise do planejamento aeroportuário no contexto brasileiro, o artigo reforça a natureza complexa do planejamento de aeroportos e traz como conclusões a necessidade de analisar os objetivos e interesses das partes interessadas e a defesa do uso de metodologias prospectivas para o ambiente de planejamento nacional indicando espaço para ensaios de aplicação do método MACTOR.
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Niniejsze kompendium zawiera podstawowe wiadomości z zakresu foresightu korporacyjnego, który jest efektywną metodą zarządzania strategicznego. Kompendium jest jednym z rezultatów projektu pt. Mobilizowanie potencjału w zakresie foresightu korporacyjnego w krajach Grupy Wyszehradzkiej (ang. Mobilizing corporate foresight potential among V4 countries – FOR_V4) współfinansowanego ze środków Funduszu Wyszehradzkiego (IVF). Publikacja składa się z następujących części: wprowadzenia do problematyki foresightu; modelu badania dojrzałości foresightowej (ang. Foresight Maturity Model – FMM) oraz ankiety umożliwiającej ocenę poziomu dojrzałości foresightowej każdej organizacji. Aneks kompendium zawiera ponadto główne informacje o projekcie oraz instytucjach go realizujących.
Foresight has been applied by many companies for long time under different names and titles. Frequently foresight is integrated in company corporate strategies although not always called ‘foresight’. The chapter proposes a conceptual model of corporate foresight. This framework is based on a comprehensive analysis of theoretical and practical company experiences with corporate foresight. The model allows harmonizing results of corporate foresight with strategies at different levels, namely government, regional and industry which can be employed both by internal and external users.
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Purpose – The aim of this paper is to develop a specific strategic foresight methodology and integrate this into roadmapping which is suitable for corporations. To date, reasonable practical experience has been accumulated, but there is a lack of a comprehensive conceptual approach for using strategic foresight and roadmapping to solve management problems. Design/methodology/approach – This approach integrates corporate strategic foresight and roadmapping in several stages. During the foresight phase, the authors create scenarios of long-term development determined by long-term macro trends and challenges to identify “points of growth” and system of priorities for company growth. A strategic roadmap enables the company to form a “corridor” for specific projects and create a long-term action plan to implement the priorities identified in the first phase. Using a project roadmap makes it possible to ensure the implementation of a specific project, defining a system of goals, the necessary measures, their timing and financing, as well as indicators to assess their effectiveness. Findings – The core result of the suggested methodology is a set of possible trajectories of innovation development, reflecting the whole technological chain involving R & D – technology – product – market. Each path involves a sequence of organizational actions and key decision-making points that are necessary to be taken to introduce new technological solutions and develop innovation products with new features to the customer/user. These routes support decision-making in such fields as the choice of the product line, establishment of new partnerships with developers of innovation technologies, decisions regarding “insourcing-outsourcing” and the requirements for relevant scientific and technological breakthroughs. It allows corporations to create strategies for commercializing innovation products. Originality/value – The methodology proposes to integrate the results of foresight studies and in roadmaps and finally in business planning, adopting innovative strategies and management decisions. It contributes to the development of common principles and approaches to the subject, while taking account of company-specific features that can significantly affect the decision-making mechanism. The methodology is applicable to foreign and Russian companies when creating innovative strategies and management decisions based on the results of foresight.
The complicated nature of organizing tenders requires creating new means and instruments which are designed to improve the choice efficiency and reduce the term of decision making.
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The results of this study indicate that companies have built strong capabilities for collecting information. However, their ability to interpret information, disseminate gained insights and trigger management reactions leaves room for improvement: Only 23% of the participants state that SF insights are rapidly diffused, which implies that future insights might not reach relevant decision-makers. Only 54% of the analyzed companies choose methods deliberately. This indicates that 46% of companies take the risk of having inadequate method portfolios, endangering their ability to interpret information. Only 28% of companies regularly challenge basic assumption, implying a low level of alertness towards discontinuous change. The comparison of top performing companies with all participating companies shows that top performers invest significantly more resources in gathering data from restricted sources, utilize more qualitative methods, and more often select methods deliberately. Furthermore, top performing companies engage in more bottom-up triggered foresight activities, which should raise the overall level of alertness as well as their scanning reach and scope. Compared to findings from previous studies a continuing enhancement of corporate foresight systems can be attested. However, towards the ubiquitous installment of systems that allow systematically detecting discontinuous change and triggering appropriate actions, there is still a long way to go.
Rudy Moenaert, William Souder, Arnoud De Meyer, and Dirk Deschoolmeester report the results of their study of forty technologically innovative Belgian companies to examine the interaction between marketing and R&D. They studied one commercially successful and one commercially unsuccessful technological product innovation project in each participating company and collected data from one marketing and one R&D respondent per project. Communication flows between marketing and R&D are increased under conditions involving formalization of projects, decentralization, positive interfunctional climate, and role flexibility.
What is strategic foresight? Strategic foresight (SF) is the ability to create and maintain a high-quality, coherent and functional forward view and to use the insights arising in organisationally useful ways; for example: to detect adverse conditions, guide policy, shape strategy; to explore new markets, products and services. It represents a fusion of futures methods with those of strategic management. Most organisations operate primarily on the basis of priorities and principles laid down in the past, within a taken-for-granted worldview. They modify their underlying past-orientation with inputs from the current environment such as market information, economic signals and government regulations. But few attempt to bring these factors from the past and present into a coherent relationship with the forward view. Since the latter remains a collective blind spot this article concentrates on the construction, maintenance and uses of the forward view.
The technology roadmapping technique is used widely in industry to support strategic technology planning. Roadmaps can take various forms, but the most flexible and generic type comprises a multi-layered time-based chart that links technology and product developments to market needs. In recent years, the approach has been used in sector-level foresight programmes, particularly in North America. This paper provides a brief overview of the technology roadmapping approach, and describes the use of a process (''T-Plan'') for supporting the rapid initiation of the technique in organisations. The application of the method is illustrated by means of an automotive sector-level case study (the UK Foresight Vehicle technology roadmapping initiative), which highlights issues associated with customisation of the roadmapping approach, and the related communication and network development benefits.
Technology roadmapping in the outlined form is an effective tool for the conversion of a functional-overlapping and interdisciplinary innovation management. It generally helps the involved persons in a substantial way by identifying consensus and common adjustment. Technology-roadmapping can be used in different ways and at different situations. The spectrum ranges from one person a day, i.e. if a director of an R&D unit applies the technology-roadmapping to the domain of his unit, up to several persons over months, i.e. if several companies of an industry want to agree on a common technology-roadmap for technology-political reasons. In the form suggested here, technology-roadmapping is based on the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. From this, in first instance, the evolutionary patterns of technical systems get applied. Whether working with or without evolutionary patterns, the outlined process in this essay arranges the subtasks of technology-roadmapping into five steps, which ensure systematic complete and comprehensible results.
Technology foresight is an important activity in companies to meet the challenges of a fast changing environment. The understanding and the concepts of technology foresight have changed during the last decades. Three generations of technology foresight are developed in this paper. In the third generation, technology foresight is an integrated part of strategic management, process-oriented, need- and value-driven and network-dominated. Although this model represents practices in companies, not all elements are included in one firm. This paper is based on interviews in large multinational corporations and a review of the literature.
Information about competitors can hold great promise for improving innovation management. In this paper technological information about competitors is set into a framework of information systems on external data. It is then argued that while information collection and information use are decentralized the analysis of the information collected should be centralized. If intelligence on competitors is institutionalized, it serves to increase warning times before the introduction of innovations by competitors. This article studies the practice of analyzing competitors' technology by German companies.
Many forms of analyzing future technology and its consequences coexist, for example, technology intelligence, forecasting, roadmapping, assessment, and foresight. All of these techniques fit into a field we call technology futures analysis (TFA). These methods have matured rather separately, with little interchange and sharing of information on methods and processes. There is a range of experience in the use of all of these, but changes in the technologies in which these methods are used—from industrial to information and molecular—make it necessary to reconsider the TFA methods. New methods need to be explored to take advantage of information resources and new approaches to complex systems. Examination of the processes sheds light on ways to improve the usefulness of TFA to a variety of potential users, from corporate managers to national policy makers. Sharing perspectives among the several TFA forms and introducing new approaches from other fields should advance TFA methods and processes to better inform technology management as well as science and research policy.