Roadmapping: A Collaborative Foresight
is a collaborative foresight process that produces a broad set of
plans and strategies to reach a future goal.
include simple forecasts, scenarios, strategy, and plans, but go
beyond such tools in three ways: 1) they emerge in a collaboration
network of multidisciplinary and competing experts, 2)
they emphasize uncertainties and challenges
as much as probable and preferred futures, and 3) they have long-term
time horizons (commonly 5 to 15 years is common) by comparison
to traditional forecasts and plans.
terms roadmap and roadmapping are used in four distinct planning
domains: 1) Product, Marketing, and Short-Term (<2 year) Corporate
Strategy Projects, 2) Companywide Corporate and Institutional Projects,
3) Industrywide and Long-Term (> 2 year) Projects, and 4) Cross-Industry,
National, and Global Projects.  In practice, the first two domains
usually involve plans that are either short term, or are developed
by internal management, and are thus not truly roadmaps by the above
recent years "roadmapping" has become a descriptive term
for any collaborative foresight process of significant scale and
scope, whether predictive or preparative in nature. Widely recognized
roadmaps are projects like the U.S., E.U., Russia, and U.N.-led
for Peace to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the National
Intelligence Council's Mapping
the Global Future (a geopolitical futures visioning and forecasting
process), and the global Semiconductor Industry Association's
International Technology Roadmap
for Semiconductors (ITRS), the "Moore's Law Roadmap"
for the computing industry.
the best of cases these roadmaps and the groups that create them
are internationally recognized and respected, and their insights
used by key players to determine how to best formulate policy, develop
business strategy, and spend millions of dollars of research and
the same time,
as with many foresight products (such as scenarios, vision documents,
and qualitative forecasts),
roadmaps vary in effectiveness, and
roadmapping processes vary widely among practitioners. There
are few standards, and academic literature and study of industry
practice remains sparse.
The benefits of roadmap products (predictive, strategic, developmental)
have yet to be adequately measured or proven. Nevertheless, it is
already well known that the roadmapping process helps facilitate
collaboration and visioning among companies within industries, in
the formation of joint industry-government research programs, and
in many other venues.  For this reason alone, as our world transitions
to an increasingly network-centric collaborative environment, it
is clear that roadmapping will continue to increase in prevalence
and importance in coming years.
roadmaps come in three primary types: 1) Knowledge Roadmaps (for
basic science and R&D communities, such as universities and
large corporations), 2) R&D Administration Roadmaps (for R&D
management communities, such as the NSF, DoD, or ONR), and 3)
Technology Development Roadmaps
(for scientific, industrial, policy, and social communities).
 Of these, the latter is the most common and broadly applicable
type, and the one we refer to when using the terms 'technology roadmap'
and 'technology roadmapping.'
practice, technology roadmaps
seek to guide technology development toward the goals of the community
involved in the roadmapping process. Narrower goals include maximizing
desired feature sets, general technical capacity, robustness, and
functional efficiency. Broader goals include maximizing economic
benefit, ethical or socially responsible development, and minimizing
adverse environmental impact ('triple bottom line' considerations).
best technology roadmaps seek to identify
critical technologies, technology gaps, and ways to leverage R&D
investments toward a visionary objective. They are grounded in
historical data about the relevant technologies, including enabling
or inhibiting economic and social dynamics (learning/experience
curves, capacity growth curves, positive and negative convergences,
commoditization thresholds, adoption curves, tipping, inflection,
and saturation points, economic indicators, management objectives,
demographics, social preferences, etc.).
exemplify professional process and include a diverse group of committed,
expert, and influential participants. Uncertainties and challenges
are represented as fully as expected outcomes and opportunities.
major schools of thought and differences of perspective are presented
on relevant issues and points of controversy. Finally, befitting
the roadmap metaphor, graphical and tabular representations are
used to convey trend and discontinuity, consensus and controversy,
success and challenge, preferred and alternative future. U.S. NIST
maintains a comprehensive Industry
and Technology Roadmaps and Workshop Reports database, an excellent
resource for roadmap developers.
is developing a competency in industry technology
roadmaps. We are particularly interested in mapping industries and
technologies which are presently understudied, have the potential
for great social and economic impact, and are undergoing rapidly
accelerating rates of improvement.
We select our networking community from three primary groups: Academia,
Industry, and Future-Oriented Analysts/ Authors. Academicians tend
to be strong in providing historical context and data to the foresight
process. Analysts/Authors tend to provide visionary and strategic
perspectives for evaluation. Industry leaders and technology developers
are coaxed by the first two groups to consider their present development
opportunities and challenges in light of past performance and future
luck, facilitation, and attention to detail, community interactions
are focused, high-yield, and of significant value to all, a useful
public foresight document emerges, and there is mutual agreement
and commitment to revisit the process on a periodic basis.
Roadmap Workshop," Richard
Albright and Robert
Shaller, Office of Naval Research, 30 Oct 1998
in Science Roadmapping, David R. MacKenzie et. al., 2002,
p. 4 (14p doc)
of Technology Roadmapping, Marie L. Garcia et. al., Sandia
National Labs, 1997, p. 2 (31p PDF)