Managing technological change

Coping with transforming technology
Responding to technological changes
Building capacity for managing technological change
Adapting to technological advance
"In our runaway world of technology and communication, it is better to learn faster and forget more", claims Josef Joffe, Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford University, USA. Joffe characterizes capitalism as creative destruction, a constant forgetting and departing. Within this world view, "history and tradition are enemies of necessary change", whereas "forgetfulness is a friend of creativity." But how to get the balance right in forgetting history? Iran, for example, rebelled against the secular modern future imposed by the Shah - when he was deposed, Iranians reverted to an older historical model. Unlike Iran, Algeria and the former Yugoslavia, western Europe's piecemeal development in the last 50 years is a "marvellous expression of continuity amidst change". But Joffe maintains that the Californian way is the best way for a world of relentless change and transformation.
With the awareness that traditional supply-oriented approaches to technical assistance have failed to produce expected results in capacity building, there has been more emphasis on a participatory approach involving all the stakeholders (including end-users, entrepreneurs, researchers, extension service agents, planners and policy-makers at all levels), on reinforced support to the local private sector, on establishing and strengthening linkages of various kinds, and on inter-disciplinary approaches. Lack of adequately trained manpower, including technology transfer managers, subject matter specialists, extension workers and farmers, has been a major bottleneck in effective transfer of improved technologies. The paucity is becoming acute as the process of technology generation and transfer is becoming increasingly complex.

In promoting rural-based enterprises as the vehicle for the utilization of post production technology and as a means of providing livelihood opportunities in rural communities, manpower training is considered an important requirement to equip project managers and cooperation partners with the skills needed to make informed decisions on the transfer, use and dissemination of technology conducive to sustainable development. Training seminars and field demonstrations are important avenues to elucidate and persuade technology end-users of the benefits and risks involved in the application of certain technologies.

At the second session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), 1994, it was recognized that assessment of needs for capacity building and institutional development related to environmental sound technology could be useful in enhancing its development, deployment and transfer. In order to benefit from the experiences gained from those exercises in a broader context, the CSD encouraged developed and developing countries to jointly conduct case studies on needs assessment at the national level. Such case studies are being planned in a number of developing countries.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure