- - History
In 1983 under the Reagan administration an initiative was launched within the US intelligence community to address America's declining economic competitiveness. The initiative, the Socrates Project, was tasked with first determining the source of the US competitiveness problem and then developing a solution that would enable the US to remain an economic superpower.
To determine the source of the US competitiveness problem, the Socrates Project assembled an all-source intelligence system which enabled the project to examine competition worldwide. For the first time in the history of mankind, the combination of deep intelligence and digital data provided a bird's eye, holistic view of all forms of competition worldwide. From this one-of-a-kind view of competition, it was determined that the cause of the US competitiveness problem was that at the end of World War II US managers in industry and government abandoned technology-based planning and adopted economic-based planning as the standard for decision-making.
In economic-based planning, decisions are based upon the optimization of the exploitation of funds to accomplish a function. The measure of success is how well the funds were optimized. In the case of a company the function is profits, and whether the profits sought are short- or long-term, the foundation of all decisions is the effective acquisition and utilization of funds to maximize profits.
In contrast, in technology-based planning, decisions are based upon out-maneuvering the competition in the exploitation (i.e., the acquisition and/or utilization) of worldwide technology in order to produce products or provide services that excel at satisfying one or more customer needs for a true competitive advantage. Technology is any application of science to accomplish a function. The science can be very leading edge, or it can be well established. Similarly, the function that it addresses can be seen as highly newsworthy, or it can be significantly more mundane. But it is all technology, and its exploitation to excel at satisfying a customer need is the foundation of all competitive advantage. Funds support or hinder the exploitation of the technology.
The US industrial giants before WWII (e.g., Ford, GE) were built using technology-based planning, not economic-based planning. The planners in these companies strove to exploit most effectively both internal and external technology to produce the best product or to provide the best service. Technology-based planning is also what Japan used after WWII to rapidly transform itself from a burned out hulk to world dominance in numerous industries, and it is what China and India are using presently to rapidly transform their countries into the next undisputed world superpowers.