Dissertation Abstracts

Indicators and Technology Decision in Innovation Processes

Author: Boavida, Nuno FFG, nuno.boavida@campus.fct.unl.pt
Department: Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis
University: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. António Moniz
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Technology Decision , Indicators , Innovation , Policy Making
Areas of Research: Science and Technology , Sociotechnics, Sociological Practice , Social Indicators


This work presents results from research designed to shed light on the extent to which indicators are used to make decisions in three knowledge-intensive innovation groups: (1) scientific researchers, academics and R&D health personnel; (2) business R&D and innovation leaders; and (3) technology policy makers. The work also used indicators to assist in the understanding on the role of social relations during technology decisions. The inquiry included exploratory interviews, three questionnaires complemented with semi-structured interviews with members of the three innovation groups and, finally, complementary interviews to address remaining questions.
The study reveals that indicators are used to make technology decisions and that their use is associated with the type of technology decisions. Furthermore, the use of indicators varies significantly before and after the decision, and with different levels of complexity of the decisions. In addition, the work reveals that technology decisions tend to be more influenced by social relations then by indicators. On the one hand, the results indicate that the group of researchers considered indicators as important as social relations in decision making. Researchers also revealed to be less bounded to social relations and presented significant links to knowledge. On the other hand, the business R&D&I community and the policy makers placed more emphasis on the role of social relations than on using indicators to decide. These two groups also tend to be more connected to hierarchies and to knowledge sources. Finally, the work also reveals that costs and technical characteristics of the products/technology were the most significant categories of indicators used in technological decisions by the business and researchers groups.
This work presents also an analysis of the decision-making process of the Portuguese electric mobility program, named Mobi-E. It addresses the question of the role of the state in promoting technology transition, as a way to move to an alternative mobility system. Furthermore, the work focuses on the national ambitions towards electric mobility, the amount of knowledge encompassed in this public policy and its impact. The study is based on literature research, analysis of official documents, a questionnaire and in-depth interviews.