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Mapping Solutions for Future Technology Needs
Mapping Solutions for Future Technology Needs

 

In order to be successful in a time of rapid change, innovation, and shifting economies, companies and organizations within technology-based industries must be able to identify current and future technology needs, implement plans to meet those needs, and steer their research and development efforts in the direction that will help them best achieve their goals. One way to do this is by developing technology roadmaps (TRMs).

There is no single definition of a TRM, but in general, a TRM is a tool for evaluating, planning, and decision making in industries in which technology plays a central role. A TRM assesses needs and indicates possible technological solutions to meet those needs. Organizations such as NASA, Europe’s Strategic Energy Technologies Information System, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), was well as companies such as Google, Intel, and Apple frequently employ teams of scientists, engineers, and technology managers to develop and implement TRMs.

In the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Department of Engineering and Technology Management, Dr. Tugrul Daim and his Research Group on Sustainable Infrastructure and Technology Management are developing TRMs for organizations such as the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the Energy Trust of Oregon, EPRI, and other utilities around the country.

Dr. Daim’s group consists of graduate and Ph. D. students with backgrounds in science and engineering; many have come from high-tech industries. Dr. Daim brings decades of experience and expertise in technology management, forecasting, energy policy, and computer and industrial engineering, among other fields to the group. The group’s focus is on industry sponsored projects. BPA is one such sponsor that has provided Dr. Daim funding to aid in the development of a Transmission Technology Roadmap.

“I’ve been working with BPA for eight years,” Dr. Daim said. “The projects I take on assist them with the processes of their technology innovation office: managing technology, evaluating technology costs, needs, technology analysis, and developing technology roadmaps that identify the projects that can fill those gaps.”

According to the BPA’s Transmission Technology Roadmap, on which Dr. Daim is listed as a member of the Roadmapping Core Team, technology roadmaps:

…are created to support research and development (R&D) plans that meet the strategic goals of industries and organizations with research needs. BPA’s technology roadmaps are essentially a snapshot of current perspectives to inform a research agenda that will help BPA adapt to a new environment in which technology, regulation, generation, resources, customer demands and power flows are changing dramatically.

According to Dr. Daim, the technology roadmaps developed by BPA over the years have proven so useful that they have been adopted regionally by other energy sector organizations and have been cited by the United Nations as a good practice. Furthermore, upon reviewing his cumulative work over the course of the last five years, the International Association of Management of Technology (IAMOT) has recongnized Dr. Daim as one of the top 50 authors of technology and innovation management and will present him with an award at their annual IMAOT conference this coming May.

Working on producing technology roadmaps for organizations like BPA and the Energy Trust of Oregon helps his students learn the nuances of technology driven management, Dr. Daim said: the skills one needs to manage large groups of people and large projects, to analyze technology, to execute plans for technologies which have a lot of outsourcing and discontinuity, to create a high-tech startup, or become an expert strategic planner. 

 

Students in Dr. Daim’s group receive first-hand experience in the management of the technology agendas for major organizations, whether it’s helping BPA develop a plant to move forward on an energy transmission technology, working with the Energy Trust of Oregon on a plan to incentivize consumers to purchase energy efficient home appliances. These experiences, Dr. Daim notes, help students develop the T-shaped skills so many employers in the high-tech and energy industries are constantly on the lookout for. For more information on Dr. Daim or his research group, visit the Engineering & Technology Management department’s website.