E/SEC 103, Spring 2020

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Management of Technology


  • Richard Murray (CDS/BE), murray@cds.caltech.edu
  • Ken Pickar (EAS), kpickar@caltech.edu
  • Lectures: MW 1:30-3 pm, online

Teaching Assistants

  • Betty Wang
  • Office hours: TBD

This is the public homepage for E/SEC 103, Spring 2020.

Access information

  • Lectures (Zoom): Mon/Wed, 1:30-3 pm. See Caltech Moodle for Zoom link (registered students only)
  • Course materials (Google Drive): lecture slides, recorded class sessions, and other information (registered students only)
  • Class discussion (Slack): See Caltech Moodle for Slack link (registered students only)

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 through Harvard Business School case studies, supplemented by lectures to elucidate the key issues. There will be a term project where students predict the future evolution of an exciting 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 through analysis present defensible projections.

Lecture Schedule

Date Topic Reading Homework
30 Mar Organizational session
  • Course logistics
  • Instructor introduction
  • What this course is about
1 Apr Organizational session
  • What this course is about
  • Initial project brainstorming


  • 30% - Case preparation and homework
  • 10% - Midterm presentation
  • 15% - Class participation (via Zoom or Slack)
  • 45% - Term assignment and final preseentation

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.