PICMET '06 Focus

Technology continues to be the central force affecting all aspects of life. It dominates the way we design strategies, develop tactics and implement operational decisions in every subsystem of society, including industrial, economic, educational, financial, medical, political, and other sectors. As this dominance continues, we are observing the growth of technology’s impact in more and more areas that are not intuitively obvious. These impacts are resulting in complex relationships and interactions among a multitude of disciplines, specialties and subspecialties.

Discontinuous innovations and disruptive technologies are changing the world, and opening doors for exciting new opportunities. The potential of stem cell research to find cures for “non-curable” diseases, the promise of fuel cells to provide nearly unlimited energy, and the vision of a world with nanolevel bio-mechanical devices collecting and disseminating information for continuous improvements in people’s health are no longer science fiction. They are within reach.

Bringing these opportunities to reality is not possible within any single discipline. They require interactions among virtually all disciplines including science, engineering, finance, economy, psychology, sociology, ethics, law, theology, art, and many others. Parochial, discipline-oriented views will not be able to address the issues that have been brought to focus by the rise of technology to its current, prominent role in society. A unifying discipline must provide leadership and guidance in bringing the various disciplines together, and melting the boundaries among them, so we can harness the energy of technology and make it work for the betterment of humankind.

We believe Technology Management is that unifying discipline. It is not an easy role, but a necessary responsibility for which the technology management community should accept the challenges. That is the only way to manage technology and not be managed by it. Recognizing this enormous challenge, PICMET ’05 takes a bold step and examines the role of technology management in melting the boundaries among disciplines to guide technology toward the betterment of humanity.