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Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179

Application of technology roadmaps to governmental innovation policy for


promoting technology convergence
Yuko Yasunaga
a
, Masayoshi Watanabe
b
, Motoki Korenaga
c,

a
Gas Safety Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, 1-3-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan
b
Machine Parts and Tooling Industries Ofce, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, 1-3-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan
c
Industrial Machinery Division & Robot Industry Ofce, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, 1-3-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan




a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t


Article history:
Received 11 October 2007
Received in revised form 1 April 2008
Accepted 26 June 2008


Keywords:
Technology roadmap
Roadmapping
Technology convergence












1. Introduction
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan has actively involved itself in technology
roadmapping in recent years in order to build a broad discussion basis for researchers and
business-oriented people in academia, industry and government. This unique attempt is not
fully tested in the context whether the public sector's roadmaps are viable for promoting
innovation and for building tight collaborative relationships between different sectors.
However, the authors have been widening the application of roadmapping activities from
classical R&D management to new ways of promoting technology convergence, in which the
Japanese R&D community is said to be not so accustomed. This paper depicts the governmental
agency's objectives, activity details and ways of applications of technology roadmaps and
roadmapping. The authors' intention is not only to introduce this kind of governmental activity
to the MOT world, but rather to ignite discussions on the usefulness and effectiveness of
technology roadmaps and roadmapping in a wide range of knowledge sharing.
2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

In the eld of technology management, development and utilization of technology roadmap has been discussed in the recent
20 years. After the introduction of the Motorola's attempt by Willyard and McClees [1] regarding the company's product-
technology roadmap and emerging technology roadmap, technology roadmap is frequently referred and studied as a
management tool in R&D, product development, and various communication process among wide range of stakeholders.
The function of technology roadmap is most eloquently characterized in the popular denition of Branscomb [2] as a
consensus articulation of scientically informed vision of attractive technology futures. In line with the concept depicted as above,
a number of researches are made mainly from the private company's perspectives. Those views are typically reected, for example,
as 1) lay-out of a specic technology's direction (Meyer [3]), 2) linchpin management tool (Radnor and Probert [4]), 3) tool for
consensus building, technology forecasting and planning and coordination (Bray and Garcia [5]), and 4) roadmapping process
as decision making and its nature of intra-organizational load-sharing mechanism (Kappel [6]).
Phaal et al. [7] proposed a practical approach in technology roadmapping for industry users as T-Plan and he also points out
the unique characteristic of technology roadmap to be composed of architecture of knowledge. Similar observations are made by
Yasunaga and Yoon [8] to propose technology roadmap's necessary components as time frame, forecast, relationship
illustration (among technology, product and market), and bird's-eye view for strategic uses.
Those studies are mainly based on private companies' experiences. Of course, technology roadmaps are actively used by
governmental organizations and the authors have been rmly convinced that it is useful for national technology policy. However, it


* Corresponding author.
E-mail address: korenaga-motoki@meti.go.jp (M. Korenaga).

0040-1625/$ see front matter 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2008.06.004
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect


Technological Forecasting & Social Change
62 Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179

seems that the number of studies on governmental activities regarding technology roadmapping and its use are relatively small.
The authors have been building an international network regarding governmental roadmapping activities in the United States
(DOE, NIH, etc.) and European countries such as the United Kingdom and made comparative study on the role and methodology of
development and usage of technology roadmap [9] in a preliminary phase.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan (hereinafter, METI) has actively involved itself in technology roadmapping
since 2003. The authors are the core ofcials to promote this unique attempt. This paper illustrates the objectives, structure,
development methodologies and application of the roadmaps. As is stated in the later part of this paper, the authors are not in a
position to treat a technology roadmap as a magic wand of the innovation mechanism. However, many people in the R&D
community in Japan have become aware of its usefulness and effectiveness if it is properly developed and used.
The authors' original intention of this paper is not only to introduce these kinds of governmental activities to the MOT world,
rather to ignite discussions on the usefulness and effectiveness of technology roadmaps and roadmapping in a wide range of
knowledge sharing.

2. Why did METI begin roadmapping?

2.1. METI's dilemma in technology policy in the beginning of this century

The basic ideas in the eld of technology policy of the Japanese government is not so peculiar, and is in fact rather simple: 1) to
develop institutional schemes to help the market mechanism work in pursuing new technology to boost our economy, 2) to supply
governmental research funds into the pre-competitive area without harming competition among private companies, and 3) to
actively seek potential research seeds for future leading industries and promote academia-industry collaboration for economic
development.
In the 1990s, the so-called the lost decade of Japan's economy, a number of large private companies had to cut R&D
expenditures and personnel that resulted in the (maybe) short-term business upturn and long-term competitiveness downturn.
Along with this change in industry, METI's technology policy also changed its priority to more application-oriented industrial
technology, which resulted in short-sighted R&D support. However, the recent economic upturn has revealed that private
companies that invested their resources more into challenging technology, or sometimes basic research, but with clear future
vision are becoming more competitive and innovative; examples include Toyota, Canon, Toray, Sharp and Nihon Zeon.
This phenomenon seems to be clear evidence to show that long-term R&D is an engine for sustainable growth, and the authors
think that it is important for governmental policy to provide more support for private company that conduct challenging or
future-business oriented R&D activities that are accompanied with persuasive illustrations of future commercialization. As is
often the case, long-term R&D tends to be the rst restructured portion of a private company's expenditure to boost its short-term
protability.
With this thought, METI's technology policy in recent years again put its emphasis more on basic and challenging
technologies, but those accompanying clear future visions. We have a common evaluation of past technology policies that the
age of basic research in the 1980s to the early 1990s, which is often said not to have been productive for governmental R&D, not
because the shift to basic research itself was inappropriate but because our denition of the goal of the basic research was too
vague. Therefore we decided to develop our technology roadmaps in various areas in order to illustrate future industry
opportunities and reasonable ways for technology to be developed. We call the roadmaps Strategic Technology Roadmaps
(hereinafter, STR).

2.2. Objectives of development of technology roadmaps by the government

The objectives of the STR and the objective of making STR should be identied in careful paraphrasing. METI denes the
objectives of the STR as follows:
1.) to enhance public understanding by providing an explanation of the perspectives, details, and future achievements of METI's
(future & on-going) R&D investments with STR,
2.) to help people in the R&D community understand future market trends, prioritize critical technology, and build common
understandings for planning and implementing R&D projects, and
3.) to promote cross-sector (academia-industry, among different industries, etc.) alliances, to stimulate interdisciplinary
technology convergences and to call for coordinating other relevant policies.
These objectives are expected to collectively work different economic agents such as academia, industry and public sector to
enhance Japan's competitiveness.
As dened by Galvin [10], the authors nd that the process of making STR is a highly valuable tool for nurturing communication
in various ways: 1) among researchers, 2) between researchers and businesspersons, 3) among different players in value chains,
and 4) between scientists and engineers, etc. We also found that STR is often referred in the discussion process of actual R&D
projects in many ways, not only for evaluating the progress of specic projects (ahead or behind), but also for discussing future
expansion of applications, etc.
In any case, our original intention was to develop a common soft infrastructure for many kinds of people to discuss problems,
opportunities and ways of resolution in connection to specic technologies in a visible form.
Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179 3

2.3. Differences in objectives compared to private sector roadmaps

The authors also conducted intensive discussions with colleagues and with industry people on the differences in objectives of
technology roadmaps. Typical FAQs (frequently asked questions) and our relevant answers concerning these discussions are
depicted below. We expect that these points might also be argued about in other governments and other entities if they were to
conduct similar activities and we of course would like to receive such feedback.
[Q1] In the case of governmental roadmaps, the goal (or nal product) cannot be clearly dened since we are not engaged in
actual business nor manufacturing activities. How can METI dene its own goals of our roadmaps?
[A1] We may set our own goal by formulating the common understanding (or common visions) through intensive discussions
with business people and researchers in academia. That shall function as goals even if a concrete product image is not
illustrated.
[Q2] METI's principle in industrial policy is basically to follow and exploit the market mechanism. Is there any risk of developing
and maintaining our roadmap to lead to a misunderstanding from the private sector that METI would conduct policies not in
line with the market mechanism?
[A2] METI is going to present a reference case scenario in a form of technology roadmap and that is a policy consistent with the
market mechanism. Many players (industry, academia, etc.) have perfect freedom in pursuit of their economic activities and
at the same time they may interpret government roadmaps in their own way for their own strategies. In that sense, we
shall stress that there are various ways to use roadmaps.
[Q3] Private sector roadmaps are in many case classied to outsiders, however, governmental roadmaps can only function if
publicized. Our roadmaps can be seen by other country's governments and private sectors which are competing with
Japanese companies. Shall we run a risk for those outsiders to be beneted by seeing our roadmaps?
[A3] Yes. We must broaden our partnership with every R&D partner domestically and even in some cases internationally. The
advantage of publicizing roadmaps via the Internet is that it promotes more open innovation in the rather closed R&D
community of Japan, and the advantage of this is perhaps greater than other possible disadvantages.
[Q4] Technology roadmaps function well in some sectors such as semiconductors, computers and automotive technologies,
where the dominant design of the technology/product has been already established: however, we do not exactly know the
appropriate methodologies to develop roadmaps in other areas like nanotechnology and materials technology. How can we
solve the problem?
[A4] Simply, we must challenge that. We may know the variety of methodologies can be applied if type of technology changes.
That is also worth discussing in the context of MOT (Management of Technology).
[Q5] Technology roadmaps are generally applicable for incremental innovations but not suitable for disruptive innovations. How
can METI promote both types of innovations with developing and using roadmaps?
[A5] We must not jeopardize the potential of Japan's R&D community for disruptive innovation. Correctly developed roadmaps
reveal the limitation of a specic technology and necessity of breakthrough based on scientic data and insights. Such
roadmaps can rather push the development new research methodologies and disruptive innovations. We must know the
advantages and disadvantages of roadmaps and corresponding types of innovations.
[Q6] Most of the staff of the Japanese government are not science/technology experts. How can METI develop and maintain state-
of-the-art technology roadmaps in a proper way and with the correct timing?
[A6] We need to obtain wider participation by academia, industry and other counterparts to develop technology roadmaps. If we
continue to activate our human networks, governmental roadmaps are living. Our powerful partners, namely NEDO (New
Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), Japan's largest R&D funding and management agency, and
AIST (Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), Japan's largest national laboratory, are reliable organizations
to maintain the knowledge on state-of-the-art technologies.
[Q7] We need to know that bureaucratic interpretation of technology roadmaps often raises non-constructive discussions. How
can we escape from such inexibility?
[A7] We must recognize that risk. We must not say we cannot take your proposal (simply) because your idea is not in line with
our roadmaps. New ideas come from everywhere regardless of whether they were on the existing roadmaps or not.
In a sense, the authors are not roadmap crusaders and tolerate indels. We are always conscious about that there are neither
magic wands nor almighty tools in innovation; on the other hand, we are rmly convinced that technology roadmaps and
roadmapping are powerful tools if they are properly developed and used.

3. What are the METI's STR (strategic technology roadmaps)?

3.1. Basic structure of METI's STR

METI's STR has a unique characteristic in its structure. This is a three-layer structure shown in Fig. 1. However this is different
from the most generally-accepted idea of an ordinary technology roadmap consisting of 3 or 4 layers.
An ordinary prototype has a market, product, technology and a resource layer and it seems to have been commonly used
since Phaal et al. [7] and other analysts' proposals. METI's STR has three layers; the top is a dissemination scenario, the second is
the technology overview (technology map), which does not have a time horizon, and the third is the technology roadmap. The
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Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179 7

reason why we have adopted this structure is because this roadmap is a governmental one to fulll our policy objectives mentioned
earlier. Fig. 2 is an example of the 3-layer structure of robotics.
METI develops STRs in 25 areas including: 1) semiconductors, 2) storage and solid-state memories, 3) computers, 4) networks,
5) IT usability (displays and human interfaces), 6) software, 7) drug discovery and medicine, 8) medical equipment, 9) recovery
medicine, 10) cancer cures, 11) CO
2
xation and utilization, 12) countermeasures to chlorouorocarbon emissions that damage the
ozone layer, 13) chemical product management and countermeasures for toxic chemicals, 14) reduce, reuse and recycle, 15) energy
(including energy conservation, renewable energy, fossil fuel utilization, hydrogen and fuel cells, nuclear energy, etc.),
16) nanotechnology and materials, 17) robotics, 18) aeronautical and avionics, 19) space, 20) superconductivity, 21) MEMS
(Micro Electronic Mechanical System), 22) green biotechnology, 23) human life, 24) manufacturing of components, and 25) bers.
Those comprise almost all the technology areas that METI covers. The number of areas is expected to increase gradually.

3.2. Characteristics of each layer of the STR

3.2.1. Uniqueness of the top layer dissemination scenarios
The top layer, dissemination scenarios, has unique characteristics and important functions. This layer functions as a linchpin
between R&D policy and other policy measures, as shown in Fig. 3. For example, the action plan of the deregulation program is dened
in this layer to allow possible fruits from R&D (i.e., new genome-oriented medicines) to be tested and commercially sold in the market
within a reasonable time. In case of IT, the policy for broadband infrastructure development is dened. In the case of CO
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reductions, the
policy for economic instruments to implement the Kyoto Protocol is mentioned. In case of robotics, the policy for demonstrating state-
of-the-art technology in everyday life and policy devices for the dissemination of robot technologies (such as safety codes of conduct,
and a new business model combining insurance and lease businesses, etc.) are illustrated in this layer together with a time horizon.
Of course, bureaucracy does not everywhere allow the R&D side to dene the time horizon of other policy measures, however,
METI believes this layer can be a tool for promoting policy dialogues with relevant counterparts to disseminate new technologies
developed from our R&D programs.

3.2.2. How to specify prioritized technologies role of the second layer
The second layer is a technology overview (technology map) in which various technologies are itemized and (sometimes)
marked if prioritized. This layer is prepared to portray the importance, urgency, application and relationships between different
technology options.
However, such issues cannot be fully determined beforehand in the realities of an uncertain world, and priorities may
drastically change if different applications are sought.
From this point of view, METI presents this layer as a comprehensive shopping list and expects that various players will put
their own interpretations and priorities based on their specic business perspectives.
Fig. 4 shows the case for nanotechnology.

3.2.3. How to dene the time horizon and required level of specication the third layer: technology roadmap
How to dene the time horizon of roadmaps is a crucial issue. As pointed out by Yasunaga [11] for the case of semiconductors,
the top runner of a given industry or sector is tempted to go faster than the average player in the same industry. The time horizon
of METI's roadmap reects the reference case of industries, since it is dened from intensive discussions between industry,
academia and other relevant people. In line with the Branscomb's [2] popular denition of a technology roadmap, METI's STR
reects the reference vision based on consensus views from the observations of stakeholders that are scientically organized.

3.3. Difference in technologies and methodologies

Among the authors, when METI decided to develop its technology roadmaps, Yasunaga was a Director of NEDO (New Energy
and Industrial Technology Development Organization), which is a R&D funding and project management organization, and one of
his roles was organizing proper task forces for developing roadmaps. He and his colleagues have experienced many practical Q&As
and he reached his hypothesis empirically that different types of methodologies must be applied to different types of technologies.
Fig. 5 illustrates this idea. For the rst category, represented by IT and robotics, the primary ow of the roadmapping idea
descends from the market, to the product and then to technology. We call this a top-down process.
For the second category, represented by materials technology and nanotechnology, the primary ow of the roadmapping idea is a
mixture of ascending (from technology, to function, and then to value in the market) and descending (from value, to function, and
then to technology). For this category, contrary to the rst case, technology is a means to realize new products or services and is not
limited for use in a couple of specic applications. For example, carbon nanotubes (hereinafter, CNTs) is one of the most promising
nano-materials due to its wide range of potential applications. These include: large thermal conductivity, which is good for thermal
dissipation components, high electron emission characteristics, which are good for at panel displays, and a large surface/volume
ratio, which is suitable for catalyst supporting devices, etc. One technology has many applications and one application requires a
number of technologies. In such a case, going up-and-down (or, back-and-forth) would be appropriate way of thinking.
For the third, represented by environmental technology, the primary ow of the roadmapping idea is the top-down, the same
as with the rst case. However, it has a different implication. Let's take a look for the case of long-term environmental technology,
such as coping with the issue of global warming. Here, the new market is hard to predict and a new social framework must be
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Fig. 5. 3 types of roadmapping methodologies corresponding to types of technologies.

designed prior to the discussion about new products or services that will be needed. Our interpretation about the ow for such a
case is from an image of the society to emerge, to products or services, then to technology.
Of course, these categorizations may be oversimplied and, for all of the cases may, necessitate a bi-directional way (up-
and-down or back-and-forth) of thinking instead of a one-directional way. This way of thinking is effectively introduced in the
actual roadmapping procedures of various task forces.

4. How does METI develop roadmaps?

4.1. Engagement system

As discussed in the previous section, METI and NEDO collaboratively organized task forces corresponding to each category of
technology.
What is most considered next is a way of engagement of stakeholders in task forces. Each task force has a couple of sub-
working groups to cover the subcategories in an appropriate manner. The sub-groups consisted of 1015 members, which include
private companies, universities and public research institutes. In some cases, representatives from the user community join in.
We need to reshufe the membership of the task forces with a view to broadening our roadmapping communities and
putting new fresh input into the discussion. This procedure may proceed gradually in order to maintain the continuity of
knowledge. This means that the roadmapping process is a knowledge sharing process.

4.2. Rolling (updating) scheme

As is stressed by Radnor [12], our technology roadmaps are regularly updated and we call the procedure rolling. Such rolling
is conducted each year to reect the progress of technologies and changes in research environment, however overall updating is
done two-to-three year intervals and iteration resembles ne tuning.
This sort of rolling scheme works not only to keep our roadmaps alive but also to keep our roadmapping community alive,
and so our channels with the private sector and academia are always kept open. More importantly, while this process imposes a
workload on the relevant sections of METI, it is also considered as meaningful to educate younger staff to learn about roadmapping
and technology policy.
The authors also took different approaches for each year's rolling procedures. At the rst rolling procedure just after we
devoted ourselves in developing STR, we stressed the importance of utilization of STR, especially in the internal discussions of
METI. Then at the second year's rolling procedure, we shifted our focus from internal discussions to external ones among
various R&D players including a broad range of private companies and universities. The third year's focus is to more exploit the
methodologies of roadmapping (not roadmaps) for the promotion of convergence among different types of technologies,
especially toward the sustainability of Japan's industry and society. This idea is illustrated in Fig. 6 and this idea is frequently
referred to by Watanabe [13].
70 Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179


Fig. 6. Basic direction of METI's rolling policy of STR.


4.3. Council to supervise roadmapping methodology

The Japanese government often employs a council, or a tentative advisory board for discussing a new policy or change in the
direction of existing policy. METI employs a specic council called the R&D Policy Committee, which was ofcially established a
few years ago. The council meetings are held, on average, quarterly, and advisors mainly discuss or supervise the methodologies of
our roadmapping. (Of course, the contents of the roadmaps are fully discussed beforehand in the task forces.)
This supervision scheme seems to work very effectively. The council procedure also serves as a pace setting vehicle and acts as
an empowering device of METI's R&D policy.
METI also synchronizes the roadmapping process and its policy cycle, especially with its budget planning and implementation
and review of its R&D program. This process is essential for stakeholders (both inside and outside METI) to coordinate their actions in
relevant and timely ways. Of course, actual coordination should be further rened since this procedure has not been fully matured



Fig. 7. Annual policy planning procedure and STR.
Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179 71

among METI/NEDO staff. Prioritization and ne tuning of R&D project management based on synchronicity seems to be the key to
success. Fig. 7 illustrates this idea.

5. How do the roadmaps work in R&D communities?

5.1. Dialogue with industry

The R&D division of METI often has the opportunity to exchange views with a number of private companies in a face-to-face
manner on a wide range of issues related to innovation policy. In such dialogues, STR is often referred to, although each company's
strategy is not in line with such a consensus-based roadmap. Through this conversation, METI recognizes each company's own
strategy (i.e., ahead of the roadmap, behind the roadmap, or off the roadmap) and welcomes inputs from the business sector.
STR is said to be a tool for communication as pointed by Galvin [10].
Such exchanges of views are also conducted with industry groups and such dialogue is helpful for formulating new policies. Of
course, METI encounters various strategies of specic companies and learns their own views on roadmaps and roadmapping.
We've found that almost 80% of Japan's private companies have their own technology roadmaps which are based on their internal
discussions between their R&D and business sections. However, most of those roadmaps are short-sighted (typically with 35 year
targets) and are not commonly shared by top corporate executives in an extensive manner. METI expects such communication
employing STR will positively work for Japan's R&D community to build an appropriate balance between short-sighted and long-
term R&D activities. Fig. 8 illustrates the idea.

5.2. Dialogue with academia communication via Academic Roadmaps

The academic sector is generally considered negative toward roadmapping since a basic philosophy of this sector is that
research is mainly conducted in an area in which serendipity works as a key to innovation and a planned way does not work
effectively. The larger population of industries also thinks that roadmaps are more suitable for the areas in which the dominant
design of a product is already established. However, a considerable number of researchers in the academic sector have begun to
feel that technology roadmaps are helpful for nding new research topics that are promising from both the research point of views
and are wanted by industries at the same time.
The authors hypothetically expect that, even in such areas close to science, technology roadmaps may work as a tool for nding
new topics, for organizing new teams composed of cross-boundary researchers, and for exploring new applications of specic
technologies. METI and a couple of academic associations including the Japan Society of Applied Physics, the Chemical Society of
Japan, the Robotics Society of Japan, etc. have started cooperative activities to develop Academic Roadmaps. The characteristics of
those roadmaps are quite different from METI's STR in the following ways:
1.) Academic Roadmaps have longer time horizons, typically more than 20 years,
2.) Academic Roadmaps have more exibility in the direction of technology, in many cases, where many alternatives are
considered and described (in other words, not single-line roadmaps),
3.) Academic Roadmaps have more freedom for different researchers to interpret then with a view to dening different research
topics based on their curiosity, and



Fig. 8. Basic concept of communications employing technology roadmap.
72 Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179


Fig. 9. Three different time horizons and each sector's roadmap.

4.) METI intentionally keeps a less-involved attitude towards the contents of Academic Roadmaps in order not to conne the
freedom of academia.
In a sense, if Academic Roadmaps are completed, Japan's R&D community can refer to three different types of technology
roadmaps: 1) the roadmaps of private companies that typically have 35-year time horizons that typically target product
development; 2) METI's STRs whose time horizon is 1015 years covering pre-competitive technologies for the next generation,
and 3) Academic Roadmaps whose time horizon is 2030 years and is closely related to scientic progress.
These three categories of roadmaps are different in their objectives, authors and time horizons. However, every stakeholder can
draw a number of implications and hints by connecting and comparing them. The authors strongly expect that this idea is working
to bridge the chasm between science and technology, and between technology and business, where these chasms are the weak
points of Japan's innovation mechanism. Figs. 9 and 10 also illustrate this idea.

5.3. Communication tool for private sectors

METI's STR reects reference visions of various industrial technologies and the authors found that they are frequently used
inside private companies (between laboratories and management side) and among different private companies. As mentioned
earlier, STR's goal and time horizon may be different from the strategy of private companies; however a number of private




Fig. 10. Cooperative relationship between academic societies and METI.
Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179 73


Fig. 11. How METI's STR are used in private sectors.

companies compare the STR with their own roadmaps. In addition, some private companies have begun communicating using
STRs as their reference. In addition, we have heard that some researchers use STRs to persuade their headquarters when requesting
R&D resource allocations.
Fig. 11 illustrates the general situation of methods of utilization of METI's STR in Japan's private sector.
Fig. 12 also shows that the use and application of STRs are widened and the involvement in STRs roadmapping activities is
continuingly becoming widespread.

5.4. Roadmaps as R&D management tools at NEDO

NEDO, the R&D funding and project management organization under the auspices of METI, is the body which operates task
forces for roadmapping. NEDO utilizes roadmaps for its project management activities in the ways mentioned below.
The Information Technology Department of NEDO regularly holds an annual roadmapping committee to accomplish the
following objectives:
1.) to update the latest technology & research trends,
2.) to review the current situation of R&D projects that NEDO manages,
3.) to evaluate the necessity for amending the goals/memberships/schedules of R&D projects (i.e. altering targets, adding/cutting
budgets, reorganizing R&D teams, introducing new methodologies, etc.), and
4.) to promote the application of the fruits of R&D projects (i.e. standardization, etc.).
The department operates its own PDCA cycle to promote higher R&D project quality. The Nanotechnology and Material
Technology Department of NEDO has a unique.
R&D funding scheme called the nanotech-challenge program, in which vertically-coordinated alliances between different
companies with different business domains (please take note that our use of vertically-integrated has nothing to do with the
structure referred to using the same term in many large manufacturing companies in Japan) and universities are strongly
recommended. In this program, for example, a materials manufacturer, an electronic device manufacturer, an application-oriented




Fig. 12. Use and application of STRs and involvement in STRs development.
74 Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179

business and a university are all expected to ally. This scheme is designed not only to promote the application of nanotechnology
into the actual market but also to promote the ow of knowledge along the value chain.
The New Energy Technology Department has its originality in the linkage between their roadmap and some policy targets (i.e.
power generation costs, etc.) in numerical terms in the dissemination scenario in close communication with METI and business sectors.
The Biotechnology and Medical Technology Department takes a different approach to exploit the roadmaps. The section
maintains a dialogue with hospitals, potential users and beneciaries of developed technology to update its strategy not only for
R&D but also so that its voice is reected in relevant legal regulations. The Environmental Technology Department is going to take a
similar path with regard to its 3R (recycle, reuse and reduce) policy.

6. Three experiments for new applications of technology roadmaps and roadmapping

6.1. C-Plan for promoting technology convergence

The authors, as many researchers do, evaluate that typically new frontiers of industry and technology tend to be built on the
converging paths of previously discrete technologies. Yasunaga has often illustrated some empirical cases of innovations from such
convergence such as MEMS (Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems, the convergence of mechanical devices and semiconductor
manufacturing technology), bio-informatics (computer science and biotechnology) and mechatronics (mechanics and numeral
control technology based on computing). Although the last example was considered to be born and developed in Japan (please take
note that the terminology mechatronics was originally introduced by Japan's industrial robot manufacturer, Yasukawa Electric
Works., Ltd.), many in the Japanese community believe that we are not so enthusiastic in converging different technologies and
jumping into frontiers that have yet to be challenged by others.
Yasunaga [14] also analyzes that one simple reason why Japan's biotechnology seems to be evaluated as generally behind that of
US and European countries can be attributed to the situation where Japan's R&D communities are divided and isolated from other
elds, although our country has a very advanced science and technology potential if evaluated in an item-by-item way. Fig. 13
illustrates this situation in which many divisions within science and business domains are found.
After the authors acknowledge that roadmapping procedure (NOT roadmaps) may be helpful in sharing knowledge among
researchers with different academic backgrounds, METI has begun an experimental session to converge different technology
areas. The experiment is conducted by the following procedure:
1.) dene a topic for the convergence (only broadly),
2.) call a couple of researchers with different backgrounds for the session,
3.) exchange research papers of each researcher before the session,
4.) assign a coordinator to lead and guide the discussion,




Fig. 13. Illustration of Japan's innovation mechanism (biotechnology).
Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179 75

5.) begin a session with a preliminary discussion about the future wants of consumers related to a specied topic (and not get
involved in a technology talk directly),
6.) summarize the future wants discussion and dene the essential and needed function of the system (in some cases, also a
business model) to be developed,
7.) dene the structure of the system then to divide it into appropriate subsystems and start technological discussion,
8.) intensively continue technological discussions for more details exploiting the post-it method on the white board,
9.) draw up roadmaps based on the discussion above, and
10.) conclude the session.
The authors conducted the experiments for three cases in line with the abovementioned procedure and the implications and
materials from the sessions are summarized in a form of manual called C-Plan Guidebook (ver.2.0) edited by Watanabe (C
represents convergence) which is downloadable [15]. While it has yet to gain widespread popularity, the authors have
introduced this methodology to various research sectors. Fig. 14 illustrates the overall concept of the methodology.
After 2-year experiences through 3 case studies; 1) optical molecular imaging, 2) total engineering increasing quality of life as a
balance between body and mind, and 3) nano-bio integration, the authors made interviews to the all 24 participants of the latter 2
cases. And the interviewees illustrated that they all felt the roadmapping activities worked as a trigger of convergence of among
different technology areas [16,17].

6.2. IS-Plan for creating new business (especially for small and medium businesses)

As far as roadmapping is helpful for stakeholders to share knowledge and vision, it can also work also as a tool for new business
creation. Such an idea has been applied by the authors commanding another experiment.
We call the IS-Plan (IS represents innovation strategy) and applied it to a regional cluster discussion. Regional clusters
involve a number of small and medium-scale enterprises which have specic and unique competences and technologies in the
markets they operate in. Such enterprises often seek new applications for their technologies. We employed a technology manager
in the cluster as a key coordinator. The experiment was conducted in the following way:
1.) assign a coordinator who has experience and know-how in collaboration and private company alliances,
2.) call for a couple of small and medium enterprises who are interested in collaboration and alliances to create a new business,
3.) exchange information about the companies before sessions,



Fig. 14. How to promote technology convergence using roadmapping.
76 Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179

4.) begin the session with a preliminary discussion of future business and possibilities of each company's contribution to the
business,
5.) dene the business model and business structure with subsystems and start technological discussion,
6.) intensively continue technological discussions for more details exploiting the post-it method on the white board,
7.) draw up a technology roadmap and business plan based on the discussion above, (in this process METI's STR is used for
reference to help them decide their strategy) and
8.) conclude the session.
This session will be followed by the participating companies' business-based coordination to dene their action plan for col-
laborative R&D, nance, investment, production and marketing. We have not seen yet that this methodology really works for creating
businesses; however we have conducted this experiment several times. We need more time to see whether this experiment will succeed
or not, and we need to collect feedback from the participating companies to update this scheme. As mentioned above, this scheme seems
to be more appropriate for a regional cluster policy since large companies in Japan equipped with a broad range of internal compe-
tencies are not so aggressive about collaborating or alliances with other companies, and are even rather reluctant in some cases (Fig. 15).

6.3. Seeking off-road technology

Technology roadmaps inevitably reveal off-road technologies and there must be the crucially important ones. Ignorance of
those technologies simply because they are not described on existing roadmaps must be avoided for promoting breakthroughs.
Historically such off-road technologies often served as pathnders where industry faced difculty with an attitude of only
applying the improvement of and combination of existing technologies. Bearing this in mind, NEDO is conducting a competitive
grant especially for those types of off-road technologies. That grant is only applicable for convergence-type of research, which
was neither examined in the past nor on-road. The scheme is expected to pick a challenging (sometimes bizarre) research topic,
or a future seed from an industry point of view. This attempt just began in 2006 and NEDO and we have found some caveats from
our narrow experiences. To choose a genuine seed, we need more insightful reviewers with a wider range of technological
business backgrounds, and that is almost impossible.
Current NEDO reviewers include university researchers, R&D managers in corporate laboratories of large private companies and staff
in public research organizations, which means that no other people are eligible. However, we feel there is further room for elaboration.
In this sense, the issue is disparate from roadmap/roadmapping, but an important challenge for the promotion of innovation.



Fig. 15. Regional business creation and roadmapping.
Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179 77
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78 Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179

6.4. Promoting public acceptance of technology policy

Technology policy is sometimes said to be too professional and unfamiliar to the general public. STRs are fairly appealing to
people engaged in R&D, however, we need to enhance public acceptance of our technology policy since the expenditures for R&D
programs account for a considerably large amount of the national budget and this funding is still increasing despite the severe
scal situation. Technology roadmaps can be summarized in a form of visual illustration to show our future life. METI distributes
brochures containing such visual illustrations as can be seen in Fig. 16. This may work as education materials for junior high or high
school students.

7. Conclusion

The authors have stated their objectives, structures, development methodologies and application methodology for METI's
Strategic Technology Roadmaps. As stated in this article, METI's actions are formulated based on our hypotheses:
1.) Technology roadmaps made by the Government's initiatives can work effectively as the reference scenario and vision for
private companies and universities,
2.) Technology roadmaps can work to elaborate governmental R&D policy and can improve governmental R&D project
management if properly used,
3.) Different types of technology require different types of methodologies to develop technology roadmaps,
4.) Technology roadmaps can work as discussion materials for formulating relevant policy measures (i.e. deregulation, tax
incentives, nancial support for penetration, etc.) in a timely manner,
5.) Roadmapping is a powerful knowledge sharing tool and it is helpful for different technologies to converge and to create new
business models.
These hypotheses are not yet proven and the authors want to explore these in deeper ways so as to further elaborate our
Government's innovation policy. We welcome any feedback from any stakeholders anywhere in the world.



References

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Yuko Yasunaga joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industries in 1986 and has engaged in policy planning and implementation on 1) Basic industries, 2)
Space industry, 3) Metal mining industry, 4) National oil stockpile management and Middle East analysis, 5) Semiconductor industry, 6) Remedy for Asian
economic crisis, 7) Retail industry and consumer protection, 8) R&D program/management, and 9) Safety regulation of gas. His keen interests are innovation, R&D
management and sustainability issue on industry/society. ME in Mining and Mineral Processing (Tokyo Univ., 1986). MS in Mineral Economics (Colorado School of
Mines, 1993). PhD in Environmental and Oceanic Engineering (Tokyo Univ., 2006).



Masayoshi Watanabe joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industries in 1990 and has engaged in policy planning and implementation on 1) Industrial
Science and Technology, 2) Iron industry, 3) Energy industry, 4) Machine parts and tooling, and 5) Monodzukuri. His keen interests are innovation, R&D
management and Universal Design. ME in Mechanical Engineering (Tokyo Institute of Technology, 1988). MS in Mechanical Engineering (Tokyo Institute of
Technology, 1990). PhD in Engineering (Tohoku Univ., 2005).
Y. Yasunaga et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 76 (2009) 6179 79

Motoki Korenaga joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industries in 2000 and has engaged in policy planning and implementation on 1) Industrial
Science and Technology, 2) Innovation and technological development, 3) Industrial machinery and robot industry, 4) Standards and conformity assessment, and 5)
International trade and transport security. His keen interests are innovation, transition from science and technology to prot, and knowledge systems. Visiting
Scholar (Stanford Uni., 20052006). ME in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Keio Uni., 2000). Master of Engineering Management (Duke Uni., 2005). PhD in
Engineering (Keio Univ., 2004).