Part 1: Identify a specific client or audience. You can think of your project as a consulting contract with that client who is involved in strategic planning and wants help in anticipating potential social and technological change. Alternatively, you can imagine an audience that you feel it is important to inform of potential environmental, social, or technological changes (information not propaganda). For course purposes, imagine that I am that client or audience. Describe the long range issues of concern (or potential concern) to that client or audience and the technological, political, economic, and social uncertainties involved in those issues. Long range will be defined as ten years in the future.
Part 2: Develop a systems model of a technology or industry related to your client’s (audience’s) concerns.This may involve focusing on only one or two of the issues identified in Assignment 1. Make a preliminary list of the actor/actor groups and technologies/subtechnologies to be included in your system. Describe the proposed boundaries of your system, the environment external to your system and the possible boundary spanners and boundary spanning activities. Develop a table describing how each actor/actor group and technology/sub-technology relates to all the others. Translate this into a network model and analyze that model. For at least one of the technologies in your system model, discuss how you would measure or describe the technical and service characteristics of the technology and how it might affect or be affected by the actors in your model and by the external environment. Present, in narrative form, the results of your analyses and the current status of the system under study as it might be presented in a progress report to your client or audience.
Part 3: Present data for at least two but no more than three variables from the previous assignment that describes aspects of the environmental context, the actors’ characteristics, and/or the technical performance of the technology to be studied. Plot the trends, year-to-year differences, year-to-year ratios, and an X-Y plot of differences vs. previous levels. These analyses should each include at least ten years of annual data.Discuss your results. Describe in words the general patterns you observe and identify any potential discontinuities or outliers. Suggest possible causes of these discontinuities. Can you relate them to any events or event sequences? Develop a narrative of the historical development of the technologies included in your system. How has the system evolved? Discuss related past changes in the actor/actor groups and technologies in your system model and in its external environment.
Part 4: Using the data and analysis from the previous assignment, develop 3-5 year baseline projections for each variable. If you develop several different projections, choose one for your baseline and explain why it was chosen. Do not use “pre-canned” spreadsheet regression or forecasting routines unless you explain in detail why you chose the specific routine in preference to other alternatives and what exactly the routine does. This includes any uses of the “Data Analysis Tools” included in Excel. Based on these projections, develop in narrative form a baseline scenario for the next 3-5 years. This should include both qualitative and quantitative description. Tables and graphs of the time series developed in the previous assignment can be included as appropriate. Do not include tables or graphs unless you have developed them yourself.
Final Assignment: Submit a risk assessment of the entire project using a “Methodology to Manage Risk” framework or similar method. Discuss possible future events and structural changes that might occur in the external environment and that could impact on your baseline projection. These might include such things as new actor groups, changes in related technologies, or changes in the external economic, political, social, or technological environment.
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