Welcome to the techDetector Platform
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The early version of the techDetector had several different technology radars, called layers, focused on each GIZ team we worked with (Water, Mobility, Agriculture, Cities, Governance, and Education). Additionally, technologies were tagged with their potential affected Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to assist searching. Although we had maintained the SDG tagging system for the new techDetector, we noticed that many technology applications repeated themselves throughout various layers. If we connected their databases, we would be able to routinely update the content over time.
With that in mind, we decided to group the information from all layers in a single database, eliminating redundancies and exploring convergences. However, knowing that each GIZ team are interested in fields and subject related to their work, we created Sectors, Topics, and Projects to help identify the technologies of their most interest.
What Changed in The Research Process?
Our previous approach considered all technologies the same: whether they were very contextualized technology implementations (e.g. AI Chef), entirely new fields of study (e.g. Additive Manufacturing) or emerging solutions (e.g. Crowd Farming).
This approach made it difficult to measure the readiness level consistently across the platform —for example, it is not possible to assess the readiness level of a field of study. This meant we needed a better way to categorize our growing database in order to facilitate deeper analysis.
With that in mind, we refined our approach to the definition of technology by distinguishing the technology domains, methods, and applications from the tech-based solutions and narratives they can create. This refinement also provided the opportunity to reconsider the cluster texts, as we will explain later.
And the result? All the technologies from the previous versions of the techDetector were updated and migrated to the new format whether as a Technology Domain, Method, Application, or Story.
Technologies are now divided into three categories: Technology Domains, Technology Methods, and Technology Applications.
Technology Domains are at the top of the tree in our technology database. They are the springboard for the development of other technological objects such as methods and applications, and the Domain pages are a great way to get started in our research. Like scientific fields of research, technology domains allow researchers to be inspired to develop and create technology methods and applications related to a specific technology domain. Want to know what are the latest developments in AI? Or Augmented Reality? Jump in at the Domains...
Technology Methods are distinct from domains and applications because they are technical procedures or approaches - ways of using technology applications to accomplish a certain task. Technology methods do not evolve, and if any segment of the method happens to change, it becomes a different method, therefore, it is not measured through Technology Readiness Level (TRL). At Envisioning, we focus more on forecasting Technology Domains and Applications, but the purpose of the Technology Methods is to illustrate how technology is presently being used. Methods are associated with Technology Domains, and for accessing them, you can explore the Technology Domains page and navigate their relations and associations.
Technology Applications are technological objects in context, in service of specific purposes. The application of these objects relies upon the specs of their components, whereas the technical parameters and the segments that comprise a technology application are what define their functions and real-life applications. Technology Applications evolve or stagnate throughout time, therefore, can be measured based on TRLs. This means that depending on their inner components' evolution, a technology application can develop or deteriorate.
Take a Journey: The techDetector in Action
If you are interested in getting to know technological fields and want a broader view of technology:
From here you can select a Domain, such as Biotechnology as shown here. From within the Domain, you can dive into an up-to-date analysis, or check out the Methods, Applications, and Stories associated with this Domain. Within Domains, Applications are categorized according to their TRL so you can distinguish between Current Applications (at prototype and product stages) and Future Applications, at the concept, proof-of-concept, and validation stages. Within Domains, you will find links and resources to read more, as well as all the related content we have compiled on this Domain.
Are looking for a specific tech-based solution?
Check our Technology Applications page →
You can navigate to the Technology Applications from within its associated Domain —for example, the Adaptable Floating Platform is a Current Application within the Biotechnology Domain.
You can also search Applications from the Applications page, and add filters to refine your search (more on that later!).
Applications are also found within editorial projects, what we call Stories.
One of the new features of the techDetector is Stories. These editorial pieces focus on the convergence or interplay between Technology Domains, Methods, and Applications. In the Stories area, you will find editorials that investigate the political, social, ecological, economic, and individual outcomes of the application of emerging technologies in certain areas or circumstances, always pointing to connections with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our team is developing new editorial formats that will appear in the techDetector really soon. A few of these formats are:
Future Scenarios: Illustrative narratives based on future scenarios and the convergence of Technology Domains, Methods, and Applications designed to be provocative and inspiring. These scenarios are both argumentative and explanatory guides for rising paradigms that influence daily life.
Case Studies: A presentation or analysis of use cases, recent events, or business models to exemplify how Technology Domains, Methods, and Applications are being deployed, and forecasting future perspectives, opportunities, and challenges that may need to be addressed.
Ideas for Change: New business models and policies that target sustainable development, inspired by or employing emerging technologies.
Sci-fi Chronicles (coming soon): Short fictional stories about the future. They bring up real Technology Domains, Methods, and Applications within a narrative and present their dystopic or utopic inclinations. This is science fiction meets technological development in short, sharp, and potentially shocking stories.
Interviews (coming soon): Texts based on a structured conversation with an industry expert, investigating their expertise and personal take on a subject.
Articles (coming soon): Lists, essays, reviews, photo essays, and ideas for change that focus on specific themes and/or Technology Domains, Methods, and Applications.
Stories can be grouped into affinity groups. This is what we call Editorial Projects. Editorial Projects are groups of Stories interconnected by a common main subject. Editorial Projects help create visions of intricate subjects and expand the limits of individual stories, thus enabling readers to access more diversified topics of a specific subject. For example, the Tracing Infrastructure Editorial Project comprises a Case Study about Digital Twins, a Future Scenario of how a hyperlinked supply chain would look like in 2030, a List of five emerging technologies expected to impact supply chains in the future, and a series of related Technology Domains, Methods, Applications, and additional Stories.
This way, when an organization or a GIZ team comes to us with a specific challenge (e.g. Zero Carbon Mobility) we will create an Editorial Project targeted for the issue and aggregate all relevant content on a single page.
Looking for Stories that directly connect to your sustainable development challenge?
Ping the techDetector team so we can help you find tech-based solutions and build new narratives together.
Curious about Stories?
Check our Stories page →
Interested in a more sectoral approach? Let us explain the Sectors.
How Can You Navigate Sectors?
Sectors are areas of expertise within GIZ's sectoral divisions. They serve as an additional qualitative indicator to all objects added in the techDetector.
There are currently seven different sectors comprised of various topics related to sustainable development:
Climate Environment Management of Natural Resources →
Economic Development and Employment →
Governance and Democracy →
Rural Development and Agriculture →
Security Reconstruction and Peace →
Social Development →
Sustainable Infrastructure: Water, Energy & Transportation →
To make exploration in the techDetector even more straightforward, each Sector groups Topics related to sustainable development. The Social Development Sector, for example, has nineteen Topics that range from Education to Global Finance. It is important to notice that Topics might repeat in different Sectors if they are relevant to the matter.
If you're interested in checking all content relevant for a Sector:
Check the Sector page or go to the Radar and click in the top-right corner (button: Radar - Full Platform) to filter it by Sector.
If you're interested in checking all content relevant for a Topic:
Go to the Radar and click on the Topics icon in the menu to review all 54 Topic that exist in the techDetector
If you're interested in checking a Topic of a determined Sector:
Go to the Radar, click in the top-right corner (button: Radar - Full Platform) to filter it by Sector, and then go click the Sectors button in the main menu.
If you're interested in bringing your challenge and developing a Project with us:
What Are The New Features?
The techDetector is an interactive space designed to encourage critical thinking, provoke discussions, and interrogate specific sustainable development issues. Inside the techDetector, the layers of contextualization can be switched easily and quickly to explore and understand how emerging technologies interact and apply in different situations.
There are two sides to the techDetector: the platform and the radar, each with different purposes:
The platform is mainly concerned with in-depth analysis and is best used to explore Domains and Stories.
Since we have already looked at the technologies and Stories, let us now focus on the Radar, which is designed for data mining: filtering & finding content to engage more deeply with Technology Applications. Here is how you can do that:
Since the new Radar aggregates hundreds of Technology Applications, our team developed a focus mode that automatically zooms in depending on what you have selected, visually highlighting that specific subject of your interest.
Change Default Metrics
The previous Radar organized all technologies in the radius depending on their Technology Readiness Level (TRL), the new version allows you to choose how you want to organize the visualization by changing the arrangement of the Technology Applications depending on their TRL, Sustainability Impact, or Gender Impact.
Switch Between Contexts
With the current version, users can quickly modify the Technology Application selection of the Radar according to Sectors and Projects. In other words, all techDetector layers that existed before are now aggregated in a single version that can remodel itself and appear in the format that is relevant for each team.
To assist users in finding the most useful technology for their challenge, the Radar now allows for filtering Technology Applications by their Sustainability Impact and Gender Impact ratings, TRL score, related industries, and relevance to the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Users can also apply filters in addition to a selection of TOPICS, Sectors, or Stories.
For example, if you want to find Technology Applications that can address Social Development, are ready for use (higher TRL), received high Sustainability Impact ratings, and are related to finance, you can easily change the Radar content to showcase only Technology Applications related to this Sector (Social Development) and use filters to select only the ones with TRL 9, Sustainability Impact >1, and tagged with the finance Industry.
How Can You Participate?
We are glad you are interested in collaborating with the techDetector! Check out how you can join:
Order a Project tailored to your team's challenge
Our team is ready to develop new content targeting your specific challenge. We have prepared specific exercises to help teams communicate their critical needs, preferences, and concerns regarding emerging technologies. The outputs of this workshop are used by Envisioning's research and editorial teams to bring the most pressing demands from your team to the techDetector.
Participate in one of our workshops
Beyond the technology Radar and Stories, the techDetector also offers various formats to interact with the content. Our workshops are designed to help participants assimilate dozens of emerging technologies, unlock collaborative intelligence and stimulate critical and systemic thinking about the future. One in all, they are designed to assist in capacity building focused on futures literacy and tech-based solutions.
Became part of our sustainable development community
All our Technology Applications are assessed by sustainable development and gender experts that provide their opinion in regards to their potential impact in their areas of expertise. This community has access to our work before it is officially launched and is a pivotal part of what makes the techDetector such a valuable tool for accelerating sustainable development.
The launch of the techDetector is just at the beginning; we will continue to develop the Platform and Radar and the content we offer. If you have any comments or ideas, please do not hesitate to write to us.
Finally, we hope you appreciate the new version of the techDetector and enjoy the ride!