Reducing Lead-Time Through Improved Technological Forecasting

Some Specific Suggestions for More Usefully Formulated Projections of Technological Availability

by David Novick, Frederick S. Pardee

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This paper describes a methodology for predicting development schedules realistically, taking available funds into account. Normal evolutionary development is assumed — not the rare breakthrough. The successive states of progress are listed, from (1) proof of theoretical feasibility to (9) conversion to commercial profitability. In many instances, it may be enough to forecast the time by which technical feasibility will have been adequately demonstrated, as that is when the technology is available to the system engineer. Uncertainty is rarely treated explicitly in planning but should always be stated, whether in words, by confidence limits, or by giving high, low, and midpoint estimates. "What if" (sensitivity) information is more useful than probabilistic refinements. (Prepared for Technological Forecasting.)

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