Technology Management

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A framework for supporting the management of
technological innovation
R Phaal, CJP Farrukh and DR Probert
Engineering Department, University of Cambridge
Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX, UK

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A framework for supporting the management of
technological innovation
R Phaal, CJP Farrukh and DR Probert
Engineering Department, University of Cambridge
Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX, UK

Abstract
Technology is a key driver for innovation and sustainable business growth. However, the management of technology presents ongoing challenges to firms, owing to the increasing cost and complexity of technology, against a background of global competition, accelerating industrial change, competing technical standards, and reducing product development cycle times. Whilst industrial interest in the area is growing, from an academic perspective the conceptual basis of the subject of technology management is fragmented and poorly defined. A framework has been developed to support practical and theoretical understanding of the management of technological innovation. At the heart of the framework are two sets of business processes that are important for effective technology management, including the three 'core' processes of strategy, innovation and operations, together with a set of five supporting technology management processes: identification, selection, acquisition, exploitation and protection. The framework supports the integration of these processes by focusing on the 'pull' and 'push' knowledge flows that need to occur between the commercial and technological functions within the firm.

This paper describes the framework and its application, outlining the general requirements and characteristics of such a framework. The development of the framework is discussed, based on concepts from systems, resource-based and other theoretical perspectives. The relationships between the core business and technology management processes are explored, and the utility of the framework as an integrating mechanism is discussed, in terms of the 'technology roadmapping' approach, which has been the focus of recent research.

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Introduction

Technology has been a fundamental driver for innovation throughout the development of human society. With advances in fields such as information and communication technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology, the pace of innovation and change is set to increase further in the 21st century. This poses multiple challenges, for individuals, society and organisations, where managers are faced with hard decisions concerning how best to allocate limited resources, in terms of the increasing cost, complexity and risk of technology investments, against a background of increasing global competition. Technology management addresses the effective identification, selection, acquisition, development, exploitation and protection of technologies needed to maintain a stream of products and services to the market (Gregory, 1995). It deals with all aspects of integrating technological issues into business decision making, and is directly relevant to a number of core business processes, including strategy development, innovation and new product development, and operations management. Healthy technology management requires establishing appropriate knowledge flows between commercial and technological perspectives in the firm, to achieve a balance between market 'pull' and technology 'push'. The

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nature of these knowledge flows depends on both the internal and external context, including factors such as business aims, market dynamics, organisational culture, etc. While the emerging field of technology management holds out the promise of supporting managers in dealing with the challenges associated with technology, there are a number practical and theoretical hurdles to overcome. Technology management is a multifunctional and multidisciplinary field, requiring inputs from both commercial and technical functions...
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