The Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management is an educational establishment for higher learning which aims to cultivate managerial leaders to contribute towards the development of sustainable societies. The use of the term technology, as we define it, reflects the emergence of a significant link between scientific knowledge, technical capabilities and industrial production. At the Institute, we co-create realities with our students and stakeholders by understanding and explaining why in recent years technology has come to be viewed as a crucial competitive factor. Technology is designed according to the specific objectives pursued in our engagements with students & stakeholders. We believe that it is suited for examining the competitive impact of technology, and for improving the strategic management of technology.
At the Da Vinci Institute, the Management of Technology is part of a meta-frame which we call TIPS Framework for Managerial Leadership. Over the years, we have realised that there are linkages between the Management of technology (T), innovations (I), people (P) and systems (S) in a systemic way. We realised that organisations which manage their innovations and systems in collaborations with how they manage technology demonstrated more “AGILITY” in dealing with change. At the same time, organisations that linked the way they manage technology and systems with a clear understanding of how they manage people showed more “ALIGNMENT” with current realities. We also realised that organisations that became aware and connected the dots between how they manage their people, systems and innovations, seem to be more “ENGAGED” with internal people and external stakeholders.
In this article, the focus is on ‘technology’ as one of the pillars of the meta-frame.
There is a simple definition for technology: technology is anything created or invented by human beings for productive use, leisure or other means. However, in the popular media, when people speak about technology, it usually relates to information technology. Information technology in fact only encompasses computers and electronics, and could therefore be seen to be a part of a much larger body of knowledge. Nevertheless, even dictionaries define technology as “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry,” or “advances in computer technology,” or “machinery and devices developed from scientific knowledge.” These perceptions are limited and limiting in defining and explaining what technology is. Below is an illustration of how the word technology is used most often in our time :
• She is a technology addict.
• Technology is always changing.
• We live in the age of technology.
• We need an expert in greentechnology
• Some people argue that technology has negative effects.
• The use of new technology is attracting more customers.
• Old people have difficulty understanding modern technology.
• Modern technology has made our lives more comfortable.
• Old words often take on new meanings because of inventions and technology.
• Encryption technology has advanced to the point where it’s pretty reliable
The Da Vinci Institute encourages the understanding of roots of words and practices. Promoting a research-oriented mind-set is part of our DNA. We encourage our stakeholders to dig into literature to contextualise and lay foundations for their problem- solving and innovation. The research indicates that we can classify technology into nine categories of technology:
1. Food & Agriculture
2. Tools & Devices
5. Architecture & Construction
8. Medical Technology
9. Electronics & Computers
The concept of technology is different from the notion of technique. The use of the term technology, as we define it, reflects the emergence of a significant link between scientific knowledge, technical capabilities and industrial production. Techniques, on the other hand, are used or applied, whereas technology is created and continuously improved. We believe that organisations manage technology in order to achieve a competitive advantage.
Against this background, there is the view that we are entering the “Fourth Industrial Revolution Era”, which in terms of modern-day technologies, encompass advanced digital technology, robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence. This perception tends to focus on category 9 as listed above. The challenge for us is to be proactive in making advances in the area of “Electronics & Computers.” Concurrently, we need to encourage ourselves, students and stakeholders to engage in advancing technology in other areas.
Technological development has nevertheless been a feature of human endeavour throughout time. In every age (see below), appropriate technologies were discovered and developed.
Throughout the ages, an inextricable link between technology and competitive advantage has emerged.
In the modern era, there is the recognition that there is a danger when organisations do not seek to pursue renewal processes in keeping with technological developments. This may lead to organisational decline. It is therefore important to identify which technologies would be most appropriate and how to implement new strategies to achieve sustainable growth, always keeping in mind that technological developments should support and enhance business growth (not replace it). Remaining up to date with the latest technology may be one of the most daunting tasks faced by managers. This is because technological change can impact the departments within an organisation and can change the way in which activities are organised and/or separated. Technology could also be a contributor to the blurring of boundaries between organisations/organisational functions/industrial sectors, which were previously clearly differentiated, and could thus lead to the formation of new entities. Alternatively, technological change can result in the further segmentation of a business into a set of businesses, clearly distinct from one another.
At the Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management we believe that all people are technologists. Every one of us who knows how to do something in a certain way using a tool or a device, be it pencils, computers, or machines, is a technologist. We participate in the management of technology of our age as teachers, auto designers, builders of factories or financial plans, whether we use language labs or lasers in whatever we do. In our engagement with students and other stakeholders, we put an effort to remind them of the simplicity of the technology as instruments, and the complexity of the effective management of technologies.