Design Trends For Summer 2020


Expert Forecasts for 2020

None of the countries in our sample, regardless of their level of S&T capacity, will have low numbers of both drivers and barriers through 2020. This reflects the fact that nations cannot reduce barriers without simultaneously developing drivers and S&T resources. But just because a country has the capacity to implement a certain technology application does not mean that it will want or need to. With distinct sets of problems and diverse profiles, different countries will continue to have different national priorities through 2020. Because technology applications are designed to perform specific functions, they pertain only to certain problems. Consequently, not all 16 applications will be equally relevant for all countries. All the countries in the scientifically developing group of nations—those able to acquire nine of 16 top applications—will have even less capacity than the proficient group will to implement them beyond laboratory research, demonstrations, or limited diffusion. Brazil and Chile in South America, Mexico in North America, and Turkey in Europe will be the most capable, followed by South Africa, then Indonesia, and finally Colombia. None of these seven countries will have a high level of S&T capacity. And each will have significantly more barriers than drivers. • Education and literacy: Levels of general education and literacy adequate to make a population comfortable with technology and able to interface with it, and the availability of sufficiently high-quality postsecondary education and training in the sciences to stock a workforce comfortable with developing, using, and maintaining technology applications. What is more, the ability to acquire a technology application does not equal the ability to implement it. Doing research or importing know-how is a necessary initial step. But success-ful implementation also depends on the drivers within a country that encourage technological innovation and the barriers that stand in its way. Such drivers and barriers reflect a country’s institutional, human, and physical capacity;1 its financial resources; and its social, political, and cultural environment. Each of these factors plays a part in determining a nation’s ability to put a new technology application into the hands of users, cause them to embrace it, and support its widespread use over time.