Technology roadmapping is widely used within industry to support strategic and long-range planning. There have been many papers written about this subject comments Clare Farrukh, but this paper is cited more often as the years go by,
Technology roadmapping – a framework for evolution and revolution Phaal, Farrukh and Probert, 2004,
Roadmapping can help companies survive in turbulent environments by providing a focus for scanning the environment and a means of tracking the performance of individual, including potentially disruptive, technologies.
Technology roadmaps are deceptively simple in terms of format, but their development poses significant challenges. In particular the scope is generally broad, covering a number of complex conceptual and human interactions.
This paper provides an overview of the origins of technology roadmapping, by means of a brief review of the technology and knowledge management foundations of the technique in the context of the fields of technology strategy and technology transitions.
The rapidly increasing literature on roadmapping itself is presented in terms of a taxonomy for classifying roadmaps, in terms of both organizational purpose and graphical format. This illustrates the flexibility of the approach but highlights a key gap – a robust process for technology roadmapping.
A ‘fast-start’ method for technology roadmapping developed by the authors is introduced and described. Developed in collaboration with industry, this method provides a means for improved understanding of the architecture of roadmaps and for rapidly initiating roadmapping in a variety of organizational contexts.
This paper considers the use of the roadmaps from two main perspectives.
- The company perspective: roadmaps that allow technology developments to be integrated with business planning, and the impact of new technologies and market developments to be assessed.
- The multi-organizational perspective: roadmaps that seek to capture the environmental landscape, threats and opportunities for a particular group of stakeholders in a technology or application area.
Two short illustrative cases show the ‘fast-start’ method in use in the context of disruptive technological trends from these two perspectives.
One of its strengths of this paper is that it covers so much ground – literature, application methods and examples. It both introduces roadmapping and demonstrates its potential in the context of a framework for technology management, highlighting the crucial importance of technical-commercial dialogue.
The approach provides a structured (and often graphical) means for exploring and communicating the relationships between evolving and developing markets, products and technologies over time.
Reviewed by Clare Farrukh, senior Research Associate of Technology Management at the Institute for Manufacturing at University of Cambridge.