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The prioritization of technologies and public R&D roles between the manufacturing and service industries in the fourth industrial revolution

Jinwon Kang (KISTEP, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Jong-Seok Kim (KJS Group, Daejeon, Republic of Korea)
Seonmi Seol (Institute for Public Affairs, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 11 October 2019

Issue publication date: 22 October 2019




The purpose of this study is to reveal the similarities and differences between the manufacturing and service industries in their prioritization of technologies and public research and development (R&D) roles, along with the complementation of properties of technology and public R&D role in the context of Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Two rounds of Delphi surveys were designed to meet the purpose of this study, which used rigorous triangulation techniques. The Delphi method was combined with the brainstorming method in the first-round Delphi survey, while the second-round Delphi survey focused on experts’ judgments. Finally, language network analysis was performed on the properties of technology and public R&D roles to complement the data analyses regarding prioritization.


This study identifies different prioritizations of five similar key technologies in each industry, so that it can note different technological impacts to the two industries in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Smart factory technology is the first priority in the manufacturing industry, whereas artificial intelligence is the first priority in the service industry. The properties of the three common technologies: artificial intelligence, big data and Internet of things in both industries are summarized in hyper-intelligence on hyper-connectivity. Moreover, it is found that different technological priorities in the service and manufacturing industries require different approaches to public R&D roles, while public R&D roles cover market failure, system failure and government failure. The highest priority public R&D role for the service industry is the emphasis of non-R&D roles. Public R&D role to solve dy-functions, focus basic technologies and support challenging areas of R&D is prioritized at the highest for the manufacturing industry.


This study of the different prioritizations of technologies in the manufacturing and service industries offers practical lessons for executive officers, managers and policy-makers. They, by noting the different technological impacts in the manufacturing and service industries, can prepare for current actions and establish the priority of technology for R&D influencing the future paths of their industries in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While managers in the service industry should pay greater attention to the technological content of hyper-intelligence and hyper-connectivity, managers in the manufacturing industry should consider smart factory and robot technology.



This study is generously supported by the Korean Institute of S&T Evaluation and Planning and the KJS Group. The authors would like to thank 23 experts for their participation in our Delphi surveys and seven recommenders for their help in identifying relevant experts for this study. Finally, the authors would like to acknowledge Ian Miles and Kieron Flanagan of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, UK, for their help.


Kang, J., Kim, J.-S. and Seol, S. (2019), "The prioritization of technologies and public R&D roles between the manufacturing and service industries in the fourth industrial revolution", Foresight, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 680-694.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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