Define and Describe the 3 Major Types of Technological Processes
Processes are things that happen within a technological-system in order to design and produce products, structures, communication messages and transportation-systems. So, in this post I will describe for you the 3 major kinds of processes which include problem-solving processes, production-processes and management-processes whereby this chapter will even show you how these processes relate to one another.
The 3 major types of technological processes:
- Problem-Solving and Design processes:
Every system or device is actually designed to solve a problem or to meet an opportunity. For example, new housing-technology helps to make living more comfortable, transportation-devices help to move people and loads from place-to-place and communication-systems help to make information exchange easier.
Steps Followed in Problem-Solving and Design:
Problem-solvers and designers follow a common procedure when designing and developing technology. This procedure is actually the same for solving problems or meeting opportunities and there are actually 5 major steps in the problem-solving or design processes as shown below;
- Identifying the problem or opportunity: All technology starts with a problem or an opportunity and that’s why the first step in the design/problem-solving process is to describe the task being undertaken. However, the problem or opportunity must be identified before undertaking any task. This process included defining a problem or opportunity, selecting and detailing the best solution, modeling and evaluating the solution, communicating the selected solution and developing an alternative solution. However, during this process, there will be a list of limitations which include; appearance, operational, manufacturing, marketing and financial criteria whereby these help to communicate the expectations for a solution.
- Developing multiple solutions to the problem/opportunity: When a problem or opportunity has been defined the designer will seek solutions. In fact, designers create many possible answers and their sketches can show ways on how to meet the challenge. So, designers will first make rough sketches to capture thoughts and afterwards make refined sketches to mold thoughts into more specific solutions. Lastly, the process of letting the mind create solutions is referred to as ideation.
- Isolating and detailing the best solution: With this step, refined sketches of possible solutions are studied and then ideas are analyzed in order to select the most promising solution. The best solution may not meet all the criteria perfectly but it must be a functional product, communication-message or transportation-system that can be produced and marketed within cost limits. Lastly, once the solution has been chosen it must be detailed in-terms of specifications and general-characteristics.
- Modeling and evaluating the selected solution: This process involves producing a model of an expected solution. In fact, a model allows designers and managers to review the performance of the solution and models can exist inform of physical, graphical and mathematical models. Additionally, graphic-models based on mathematics are often first developed on a computer and later refined to optimize the solution and afterwards physical models may be constructed.
- Communicating the final design/solution: The final design/solution must be carefully specified for production and then drawings showing its shape, size and component-arrangement must be developed. Additionally, specifications for the materials to be used must be produced and a material-list must be formulated. All these documents help to communicate the characteristics of a product, structure, media or system.
- Production or Transformation Processes:
These are actions that help create a physical-solution the problem or opportunity. These actions produce products, generate communication messages and even help in the transportation of people or cargo. However, technological-system has its own production-processes whereby manufacturing-processes are different from construction-processes and communication-processes are different from transportation-processes. In fact, all these processes help to move solutions described by the design-process into tangible solutions. For example,
- Communication-processes help people to exchange information and ideas telephones, printed graphics and photographic media.
- Construction-processes help in the construction of structures that support other activities and these include; roads and canals for transportation-systems, factories for manufacturing activities, transmitter-towers and telephone-lines for communication, dams and power-lines for electricity distribution.
- Manufacturing-processes involve obtaining natural-resources and then turn them into industrial-materials and afterwards produce finished goods.
- Transportation-processes help people move themselves and their items from one place to another. In fact, transportation takes place in 3 basic-modes which include; land, water and air transportation.
- Management Processes: These are processes designed to guide and direct other processes. In fact, management provides vision for the activity. All in all, management involves setting goals, establishing structures to meet them, assigning and supervising work and monitoring the results. Management includes 4 major steps as featured below;
- Planning: this step involves developing goals and objectives for specific activities like; production, finance or marketing.
- Organizing: Once plans have been developed, activities must be structured, procedures to reach the goal must be established and levels of authority within the company must be drawn.
- Actuating: After an activity has been organized, actual work must be started or actuated. In fact, this involves assigning tasks to workers and they must be motivated to complete these tasks accurately and efficiently.
- Control: This is the feedback loop that causes management activities to be adjusted. In fact, this involves checking the outputs against the plan.