SPOTLIGHT ON PLANNING FOR CHANGE

  • Imagining the innovations needed to leverage new technologies

    Imagining the innovations needed to leverage new technologies

    BY DR SHAWN CUNNINGHAM
    24 NOVEMBER 2021

    We are constantly being confronted with predictions of how new technologies may affect our workplaces, our personal lives, and how we interact with others. Even if we ignore all the hype, we can sense how digital technologies are being embedded into more and more of the everyday devices that we use to control the environments around us.

    Within this sea of contrasting and ever-changing information, managers must make decisions while balancing short-term operational requirements with potential longer-term strategies. Do they continue with the incremental changes within technology domains that are more familiar? Or do they take the plunge by switching to alternative technologies and all the uncertainty that comes with trying something different? Or is it possible to try several alternatives while still building on what is already in place?

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ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE PROJECT
lighthouse about

The Technological Change and Innovation System Observatory project aims to track and create awareness of disruptive innovation and discontinuous technological change by organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

PROFILING TECHNOLOGIES
AT THE FRONTIER

  • Additive manufacturing: 3d and 4d printing

    PROFILE 1

    PROFILE1 3D 24112021Additive layer manufacturing describes a manufacturing process in which a digitally controlled head with a laser deposits a fine layer of raw material to construct a three-dimensional object. Additive manufacturing is sometimes also called 3D printing.
    3D desktop printers are already available to consumers at computer retailers and hobby shops. The performance and functionality of desktop 3D printers are increasing rapidly, while the cost of ownership is falling rapidly. Desktop 3D printers usually deposit a layer of molten plastic on a bed to create a three-dimensional shape.

    In the industrial domain, rapid advances are being made in the melting of metals, alloys, high performance plastics and polycarbonates using lasers. Likewise, in the medical field, different technologies are being developed that allow for the combination of cells, growth factors, biomaterials and tissue to grow organs. Additive manufacturing technologies are also used to print complex sand moulds, or to create wax moulds for investment castings. The metal objects made by 3D printed moulds are basically ready-for-use and require almost no further grinding or processing.

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POLICY BRIEFS
AND RESEARCH PAPERS

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OTHER
PUBLICATIONS

  • Emerging Technologies of 2021

    REPORT BY THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

    Emerging Technologies of 2021The latest iteration of the WEF Emerging Technologies of 2021 report covers technologies like breath sensors that can diagnose disease and the wireless charging of low-powered devices. This is the 10th-anniversary edition of the report that is available from the WEF website. The WEF and the Scientific American Journal select these technologies against several criteria. For instance, the technologies are selected because they promise major benefits to societies and economies, they must be disruptive, attractive to researchers and investors, and they must be expected to achieve considerable scale within five years.

    SEE THE FULL REPORT (PDF)

  • The 2021 South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators Report

    PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL ON INNOVATION

    2021 South African Science Technology and Innovation Indicators ReportThis annual report provides the latest available data on science, technology and innovation in the South African economy. The conceptual framework for the report utilises the revised South African Innovation Scorecard framework that is adapted from the European Scoreboard. This makes it easier to compare how South Africa is performing in relation to the European Innovation System. The report shows that South Africa is slipping in performance in many key areas, despite considerable investments in human capital and science and technology infrastructure.

    SEE THE FULL REPORT (PDF)

  • Emerging Technologies of 2020

    A SPECIAL REPORT BY THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM. NOVEMBER 2020
     
    Emerging Technologies of 2020These are the most exciting technologies that emerged in 2020 and – according to our experts – have the greatest potential to positively transform society and industry. What opportunities will they unlock, what risks will they potentially pose?
     
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