Facilitate Technology Management with Technology Evolution Pathways

Technological innovation is a dynamic process that spans the lifecycle of an idea, from scientific research to production. Within this process, there are few key innovations that significantly impact a technology's development, and the ability to identify and trace the development of these key innovations comes with a great payoff for researchers and technology managers. In "Exploring technology evolution pathways to Facilitate Technology Management: From a Technology Life Cycle Perspective", Huang et al, present a framework for identifying the technology's main evolutionary pathway of a technology. What is unique about this framework is that it introduces new indicators that reflect the connectivity and the modularity in the interior citation network to distinguish between the stages of a technology's development. The authors also show how information about a family of patents can be used to build a comprehensive patent citation network. Last, integrated approaches of main path analysis (MPA) -- namely global main path analysis and global key-route main analysis -- are applied for extracting technological trajectories at different technological stages. This approach is illustrated with Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs), a low-cost solar cell belonging to the group of thin film solar cells, contributing to the remarkable growth in the renewable energy industry. The results show how this approach can trace the main development trajectory of a research field and distinguish key technologies to help decision-makers manage the technological stages of their innovation processes more effectively.

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