How would Technology Evaluation improve the competitiveness of an enterprise? Give an example.

How would Technology Evaluation improve the competitiveness of an enterprise? Give an example.

Technology and Competition: Although technology competitiveness is necessary for corporate survival, it alone is not sufficient. Of course, a corporation with inferior technology cannot compete at the same price level with a corporation superior in technology. The reason why superior technology alone is not sufficient is that business is a system, and there are many other systems (or sub – systems) that determine business success. Therefore, if technology is to give a competitive edge, management must manage it as a part of the business system. Technological innovation can be integrated with production, marketing, finance and personnel into a balanced business system. Managing technology essentially involves four central concepts:
a) New ventures
b) Innovation
c) Research
d) Research infrastructure

New Ventures: Although new ventures centered around technology are an important class of business, new hi – tech ventures are difficult because they involve two major risks: developing new products and creating new markets. Ideas central to new ventures are concerned with entrepreneurial management, overall business plan, and the dynamics of organizational growth.
Innovation: It denotes the whole span of activity from creating new technological knowledge to implementing it in new businesses. Ideas central to innovation include concepts such as types of innovation, processes of innovation, the technology Scurve, technology life cycle, economic life cycle, economic life cycles, sources of innovation, business opportunities in a technological system, marketing and new technology, corporate diversification through new ventures, and technology in manufacturing strategies.
Research: Technological change is new knowledge about what things to produce and how to produce them; and in the corporation, new knowledge often comes from corporate research. The corporate laboratory is charged with the responsibility of looking after the present and future productivity of the corporation. Managing and integrating corporate research with other management functions and strategies is essential to technology management. Research management includes organisation of research, project management, research personnel, and corporate research strategy.
Research infrastructure: The technologies of a corporation do not exist in a vacuum but are part of a larger technological context, first of the industry, then of the nation, and then of the world. This larger context is a research and development infrastructure, and it has an important influence on the competitive conditions in a country. With the expansion and increase of intensity of international competition, the R & D infrastructure of a nation plays a critical role in economic competition.
Managing technology is taking risks in novel products and developing new markets. In the world of rapid technological progress and changing competitive environments and market needs, firms must pay increasing attention to developing new innovative products for domestic and world markets, and therefore an efficient technology management system is important for them.
Let us first clarify the distinction between innovation and invention since invention is only the beginning of innovation. The steps required to transform invention into innovation can be illustrated in the famous Xerox story.
In 1935, Chester Carlson was working in the patent office of Mallory Company. His technical background work as a carbon chemist, printer, and then as a patent lawyer. He became concerned about the errors in copying patents for public dissemination and the costs involved in copying. Using his chemistry and printing background, he began experimenting with new ways to create a copying process. His basic idea was (a) to project the image of a typed paper onto a blank sheet of paper coated with dry ink, (b) to hold the ink temporarily at spaces of typed letters by static electrical charges induced by the light, and (c ) finally, to melt and ink into the paper by baking the paper. This would produce a quick, dry reproduction of a typed page; and the process came to be called Xerography.
Carlson succeeded in obtaining a crude image, thereby reducing his idea to practice. He filed for a patent. Yet like all new inventions, it was still not commercially efficient, cost – effective, or easily usable. It required development. Development of a new technology usually costs a great deal of money, takes time, and requires skilled resources. All inventors face similar problems – first conceiving the invention, reducing it to practice, obtaining a patent, then obtaining support for development and commercialization.
Carlson went from company to company seeking support. He was turned down, again and again. By 1942, he had obtained the valuable patent on the basic process. Then a venturesome group at Battelle Memorial Institute agreed to work on the development in return for a share in potential royalties. Battelle was a non – profit research and development organisation, with a range of advanced technical research capabilities.
Finally, the innovative pieces for Carlson began to fall in place – invention, patents development and commercialization. In 1945, while Battelle began development of the Xerography process, a small company named Haloid learned of Carlson’ patents Joseph Wilson, the president, was a risk – taker and was looking for new products. Wilson produced the first copiers, using Carlson’s patents and Battelle’s developments.
The rest of the story became business history. That company became Xerox, creating a new industry in office copying products. Xerox grew tremendously, keeping a technological and marketing dominance over the industry for almost three decades.
The interesting questions to ask are: How many companies missed out on the xerography patents? Why did it take an R& D outfit like Battelle to see the technical potential in Carlson’s invention? What leadership qualities do innovative, risk – taking managers like Joseph Wilson possess?
Effective technology management in various countries have led to several technological advancements in the past. In table 1.1 we had listed for you some significant technological advancements during the past two centuries in selected areas. Recent Gulf War (1991) is another burning example of technological.

Advancements in which defence systems using latest development in materials, electronics and computers, etc. were used by USA against Iraq. There is evidence to show that there has been acceleration in technological change all over the world during the last one hundred years. Table 1.3 gives some evidence to indicate that there is a decreasing trend in the speed of introducing technological developments into social use. The time of substitution has also decreased over the years. This has stepped up the pace of invention, innovation and substitution/ diffusion. This means acceleration in the whole process of technological change. The new machines and techniques are not merely products, but sources of fresh creative ideas.


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