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Technology roadmaps

Archived - Technology Roadmapping: A Guide for Government Employees — Roadmapping Glossary

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Alternative Technology
One among several technologies that exist or can be developed to meet one or more targets of a science and technology roadmap.
Boundary conditions
The range of inquiry established as the subject matter of the roadmap project — its scope. The boundary conditions include interfaces between elements within the scope of the roadmapping project and considerations external to that scope.
Champion or Sponsor
The person who takes ownership of the technology roadmap. The champion or sponsor provides high-level coordination for all activities requiring approval or direction from senior management. The sponsor may also be responsible for program management and implementation of the completed roadmap.
Corporate Technology Roadmap
A technology roadmap developed internally by a company, university, organization or laboratory as part of its technology planning. This may be done within the context of a broader industry roadmap or independent of any external planning.
Critical/Emerging Technology
A new technology in early development and promising broad application, but whose uses and benefits may not yet be fully understood. The development of an emerging technology is too premature for the creation of specific products. Instead, emerging technology development creates core capabilities for the sponsors.
Critical System Attribute
An essential and indispensable attribute of a future product.
Decision Point(s)
Critical milestones where project level technology decisions can and must be taken. At these points, the right information necessary to make the decisions will have become available.
Development Target
Milestones for the development of technologies needed in future.
Disruptive Technology
A technology that is significantly superior and different from current technologies. A disruptive technology not only changes how a problem is solved, but also changes the market. The new capabilities the technology introduces alter customers' expectations and requirements. Examples from the past include the telephone, automobile and Internet. Another definition is a technology that falls short of satisfying one or more current customer requirements but has such a rapid trajectory of improvement that it will soon overcome this drawback. In most cases, the disruptive technology overtakes the existing technology and replaces it.
Emerging Technology
A new, potentially promising technology, perhaps demonstrated in the lab but not developed sufficiently to identify all its uses and benefits. Investments in emerging technologies tend to be undertaken to obtain good early positioning in a technology that could quickly gain dominance, rather than for short-term return on investment. An emerging technology may feature in a product technology roadmap or an emerging technology roadmap.
Emerging Technology Roadmap
A technology roadmap specifying the time line and expected performance for a technology currently in early development. An emerging technology roadmap is not driven by specific product requirements. If developed by a company, the roadmap includes an assessment of the company's positioning in the race to develop the technology relative to competitors and potential competitors.
Gap Analysis
In the roadmapping process, the gap in technology development between the technologies that exist today or are in the pipeline, and what roadmapping participants conclude are needed.
Industry Technology Roadmap
A technology roadmap undertaken by a consortium or an entire industry collaboratively to address needs common to multiple companies.
Product Needs
Products or services that customers have stated they need, or that technologists forecast can be produced with existing or new technologies and for which they believe demand will arise. Product needs can extend beyond the needs customers perceive today to those they do not require as yet or may not yet even have considered. Product needs emerge from the interplay of market pull and technology push. Products involve the application of technologies to solve problems for customers.
Product Technology Roadmap
A technology roadmap driven by a set of product needs (translated into a set of specific targets). The product technology roadmap differs from the emerging technology roadmap in that the latter charts the development of a new technology without reference to future products.
Scenario-based Planning
A planning method to address uncertainty about the future. Planners identify several alternative future states or scenarios, and then consider the prerequisites and consequences of these alternatives. In science and technology roadmapping, scenario-based planning is a mechanism to deal with uncertainty about future product needs or technological developments.
Technology Drivers
Factors that favour the development of one technology alternative over another, for example, the technology's capabilities, cost, development time, public or worker risk, waste minimization, environmental impact, regulations or political factors.
Technology Insertion Point
A predefined point in a project schedule where new technologies are considered for inclusion in the project. Insertion points are scheduled to minimize disruption to project design while maximizing the potential benefit of applying new technologies.
Technology Roadmap
The output of the technology roadmapping process, this document identifies the attributes a future product or process must possess, product and process performance targets, and the technology alternatives and milestones for meeting those targets.
Technology Roadmapping
A technology planning process, undertaken at the corporate or industry level, to identify, select, and develop technology alternatives essential to providing a product or service in future.
Activities undertaken prior to deployment to ensure individual components or systems meet specified performance metrics, and that products or results meet customer expectations and performance requirements.