Trade and Globalisation

Reports and papers

Technology and Innovation 2020

17 Jan 2014 - 11:32

Assessing the future of technology and innovation can produce wildly inaccurate forecasts. Predictions involving robotics and electric cars are good examples of technologies that have yet to reach mass penetration, even though by the standard measure of many technology forecasts in the 1980s and 1990s, they should have been ubiquitous by now.

An incomplete perspective typically lies at the root of weak estimation. Technology forecasts are often produced by those with a vested interest in the success of the developments being highlighted, whether they take the form of technical estimates assessed by governments with powerful defense industry complexes; product estimates delivered by corporations vying to sell millions of units; predictions made by academics who seek project financing; or equity reports written by analysts promoting current or prospective clients’ services.

A more accurate vision of the future of technology and innovation by 2020 requires an analytical framework that incorporates both internal and external factors, as well as the various forces that act upon such factors. Establishing the key drivers that shape which technologies prevail by 2020 is a crucial—though often overlooked—foundation for any such exploration. 

This visual summary available here is the publically accessible component of a series of research deliverables created for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Netherlands’ Ministry of Defense on the future of technology and innovation to the year 2020.