E/SEC 103, Spring 2022

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Technology Forecasting


  • Richard Murray (CDS/BE), murray@cds.caltech.edu
  • Stu Feldman and Eric Schmidt
  • Lectures: Tu-Th, 1-2:30 pm, 130 CNRB

Teaching Assistant

  • TBD
  • Office hours: TBD

This is the public homepage for E/SEC 103, Spring 2022.

Catalog Description

This course is intended for students interested in learning how rapidly evolving technologies are harnessed to produce useful products or fertile new area for research. Students will work learn about how technology and innovation leaders identify and shape emerging technologies and how technology can be harnessed and scaled to create new products and services. There will be a term project where students predict the future evolution of an exciting technology and explore the potential implications of that technology. The course is team-based and designed for students considering choosing an exciting research area, working in companies (any size, including start-ups), or eventually going to business school. Topics include technology as a growth agent, financial fundamentals, integration into other business processes, product development pipeline and portfolio management, learning curves, risk assessment, technology trend methodologies (scenarios, projections), motivation, rewards and recognition. Industries considered will include electronics (hardware and software), aerospace, medical, biotech, etc. Students will perform both primary and secondary research and present defensible projections based on their technology research.

Lecture Schedule

Week Date Topic HW/Reading
W1 29 Mar (Tu) Class organization and logistics
31 Mar (Th) Introduction to team formation, project choice
W2 5 Apr (Tu) Class objectives, intros, project discussion Student introductions
7 Apr (Thu) Lecture: Teams and Results Team formation
W3 12 Apr (Tu) Guest lecture: TBD Teams present their action plan (10 min each)
14 Apr (Th) Lecture: Interviewing 101, Moore’s Law and Technology Evolution
W4 19 Apr (Tu) Guest lecture Team updates
21 Apr (Th) Lecture: Technology Evolution History Team updates
W5 26 Apr (Tue) Guest lecture Team updates
28 Apr (Th) Midterm presentations: 20 min/team
W6 3 May (Tu) Midterm presentations: 20 min/team
5 May (Th) Lecture: Technology and the Other Stuff
W7 10 May (Tu) Guest lecture Team updates
12 May (Th) Guest lecture Team updates
W8 17 May (Tu) Case study
19 May (Th) Guest lecture
W9 24 May (Tu) Final presentation dry runs
26 May (Th) Final presentations (Sr, Gr)
W10 31 May (Tu) TBD
2 Jun (Th) Final presentations (UG)


  • 20% - Class participation
  • 20% - Midterm presentation
  • 30% - Final presentation
  • 30% - Final writeup

Collaboration Policy

This is a team-based class. Full collaboration is allowed and students are encouraged to discuss course materials, homework assignments, and projects with anyone that they choose. Course homework assignments are designed to be done as a group, but reports should reflect your individual understanding of the topic and/or your team's joint efforts, as appropriate.

Course Text and References

  1. [SMTI] Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, 5th Edition, by Robert Burgelman, Clayton Christensen, Steven Wheelwright. McGraw-Hill, 2008.
  2. [FMT] Forecasting and Management of Technology, 2nd Edition, by Alan L. Porter, Scott W. Cunningham, Jerry Banks, A. Thomas Roper, Thomas W. Mason, Frederick A. Rossini. Wiley, 2011.