Industrial Revolution 5.0 – Time for Change

How different does the world look from only a month ago? People, businesses and the global economy are directly affected in what I label the “Industrial Revolution 5.0”.

When we look back at the previous four, we learn that each time jobs were lost, market demands changed, and businesses had to re-invent themselves. What we can also see is that new jobs and roles were created as a result of it.

The first industrial revolution (end of 18th century), also referred to as the mechanical loom, introduced water- and steam-powered mechanical manufacturing. Mechanisation was the reason why agriculture started to be replaced by the industry as the backbone of the societal economy.

At the time people witnessed massive extraction of coal along with the very important invention of the steam engine. That was the reason for the creation of a new type of energy that later helped speed up the manufacturing of railroads thus accelerating the economy.

The second industrial revolution (end of 19th century) introduced massive technological advancements in the field of new sourced energy – electricity, gas and oil.

Other important factors were the development of steel demand, chemical synthesis and methods of communication such as the telegraph and telephone. Finally, the inventions of the automobile and the plane are the reason why the second industrial revolution is considered the most important one.

A century on, in the third industrial revolution, yet another source of energy emerged – Nuclear energy. It also brought forth the rise of electronics, telecommunications and of course computers. The third industrial revolution opened the doors to space, research and biotechnology. This also gave rise to an era of high-level automation.

In the dawn of the 21st century we discover the internet and with it comes the fourth industrial revolution, we are still in it. From virtual reality worlds, allowing us to bend the laws of physics, to shaping the worlds economies. We all rely on it and only 20 years ago this would have been impossible to imagine. It replaced a vast amount of manual labour and automation is the new norm. It also created millions of new jobs.

What can we learn from our past?

  • Change is happening faster than ever
  • What you do today is not what you do in 5 years’ time
  • Never stop upskilling
  • Be in your customers world, not in your own
  • Be smart with your resources (tangible and intangible)
  • Collaborate for invention
  • Government interventions are never long-term
  • Focus on your relationships
  • Don’t waste opportunities

If you have lost your job because of COVID-19, think about how you can use your strength, resources and skills to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Do you need to upskill, do you need to re-assess your goals and can you work together with others in your situation to invent, create and activate?

More of us will be working from home, more of us will prioritise balance over 12-hour days, more of us will focus on the environment, sustainability, cleanliness and convenience.

Every industrial revolution claims jobs. But it also creates fantastic opportunities.

Stay safe in your bubbles.

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