Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Closing Thoughts on Socio-technical Futuring and Innovation

Thank you for making CS 855 such an invigorating exploration in predictions, forecasting and Web 2.0 Tools. Final grades are posted on the Student Portal. Feel welcome to contact me if you have questions.

As you reflect back on the term...

Did you try any tools that were unfamiliar to you?

Did you learn new information (or a new way of categorizing it) from the textbooks and discussions?

Can you identify the differences between creativity and innovation?

Did you explore the techniques employed by think tanks and a research consortium to identify and forecast innovation?

Despite the challenges and risks associated with long-range forecasts, there is a reason why we do it. No, it is not simply to torture you! *chuckles*

We need a vision of the future, even one that is subject to change, and a strategy for achieving it. We need tactics that help us plan and strive for it, and tools that help us to make better estimates and manage risks.

We need to be aware of many considerations that may impact the success of our predicted innovations:

1. Technological capability - can we do it?
2. Social impacts - people and how they collaborate and feel
3. Cultural issues - groups and their subcultural influences
4. Political issues - without political support, hard to foster innovation
5. Financial - few good ideas thrive without financial support
6. Legal - avoid litigation and protect innovation
7. Ethical - do no harm, respect others, respect their values

As time passes, these influences need to be reassessed to see if the need for the innovation has declined, if the technological capability has redirected future paths, or if the political or social climate has changed dramatically, making it less viable.

Despite the likelihood that our prediction will need to change, our leadership employs good practices to forecast the future and to strategize for it.

As doctoral students and soon to be graduates, many of you are poised on the brink of becoming leaders, if you are not already performing these tasks. How you retain your credibility while planning innovation for your company depends on you.

Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing... As the Future Catches You! I will miss you and hearing your wonderful thoughts in your posts, comments and Second Life discussions. *smiles*

Have a wonderful break, and if you are graduating, an excellent future! *grins*
Cynthia / Dr. C.
a.k.a. Lyr Lobo in Second Life

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