Two of the main foresight challenges are how to handle complexity and uncertainty of evolving technology tracks, which may merge and create new challenges for the management of a company in order to avoid sub- optimization. Complexity refers to the difficulty of identifying and quantifying causal links between a multitude of technology tracks and the degree of interdependency between these tracks. The nature of this challenge can be traced back to several factors such as variable delay periods between causes and effects, increasing synergisms between hitherto separated technology tracks as well as a number of intervening stakeholders at different levels of technology management in an organization. Uncertainty comprises lack of knowledge in addition to variable responses of management to identical technological tracks. The purpose of this paper is to identify and reflect on the obstacles and possibilities of using the combination of narrative and numerical simulation to explore uncertainties and complexities of technology development and implementation in companies. Foresight as a method to develop technology management strategies can hardly be organized as a separated step by step procedure of either qualitative or quantitative processes due to the complexity and uncertainty of the more or less interrelated technology tracks. Accordingly, the foresight approach must allow for interaction between the real-world system and the model builders, for example by using an interacting narrative and numerical simulation approach. This combined simulation approach (CSA) can support strategic decision making by providing different scenarios in combination with computer simulation. CSA is a way to evaluate complexities and risks by addressing possible future events in a more systematically way than is often occurring in companies. The use of CSA makes it possible for management to close the often experienced knowledge and activity gaps between the strategic, tactical and operational levels in a company. The outcome of developing and using CSA is a generic approach that enables the interaction between narrative simulation (scenarios) and numerical simulation. These interactive processes can take place on the strategic, tactical and operational levels of an organization and thus contribute to close the gaps that often exist between these levels. The combined foresight simulation approach is, however, not without practical and epistemological challenges, which will be discussed in this paper, based on the authors’ knowledge and practical experience gained by using CSA in a real-world company context. The contribution of this paper to the field is a further development of the existing foresight knowledge about the use of a combined narrative and numerical simulation with the main purpose to provide more consistency between the strategic, tactical and operational plans and activities occurring in a company with special focus on technology management.
Iamot 2013 Proceedings, 2013
Strategic foresight; Narrative simulation; Numerical simulation; Decision making
Main Research Area:
22nd IAMOT International Conference for Management of Technology, 2013
International Association for Management of Technology