Developing and Using Indicators of Emerging and Enabling Technologies
The chapter focuses on the measurement of emerging technologies that have the potential to transform wide swathes of social and economic activity. The relevance of the topic is explained by the fact that the existing mechanisms of statistical accounting for a number of reasons fail to measure technologies that are at an early stage of development and still do not have specific applications. This results in a reduced ability to manage technology progress. Analyzing the lessons learned from statistical work around ICT and biotechnology, the authors propose a "three-dimensional" approach to the classification of technologies that covers all stages of the R&D cycle — from an idea to market launch of an end-user product or service. The basic components in measuring this area are the scientific base or origin of a given technology, its applications and the socio-economic impact. The authors demonstrate the scope for using technology Foresight to orient statistical work, and suggest that a combination of improved statistical monitoring of ongoing developments, and Foresight analysis of anticipated technology and technology applications, represents a powerful approach to achieving early footholds by way of indicators of emerging technologies in concrete circumstances. The chapter outlines the main requirements for such an approach to be effectively implemented and its results utilized; it concludes with proposals for future methodological and conceptual development.