We are at the threshold of a new industrial revolution, characterized by a confluence of emerging technology breakthroughs from mobile connectivity, artificial intelligence, next-generation robotics, 3D printing and genetic engineering to nanotechnology, biotechnology and others.
These technologies, combined and connected, will transform the world of manufacturing and production systems with unprecedented speed and scope, impacting economic growth, business models, employment and sustainability.
A business-as-usual approach will not deliver the desired outcomes of innovation, economic growth, employment and sustainability. Manufacturers and policy-makers need new approaches and capabilities and must work together to create partnerships and deliver more efficient and inclusive production systems.
Successful firms must be able to constantly adapt their physical and intellectual infrastructure to unlock innovative business models and revenue streams across the whole production life cycle, from R&D and product development to supplier relationships and consumer interdependencies. The quality and skills of the workforce and company’s ability to harness a wider skill base will be a critical factor in capturing competitive advantage.
Policy makers must find ways to become more agile and design timely regulatory frameworks that recognize the extended nature of value-creation along the production life cycle and find ways to benefit their citizens and foster innovation. These frameworks must take into account how new technologies will affect job markets, money and taxation, liability and protection, security and privacy, availability and inclusion as well as the potential to create or remove power asymmetries