I have just read a fascinating article which theorises that the world is just entering it’s third “Industrial Revolution”.
The article was a series of extracts from an interview conducted with a well-known political and economic theorist, Jeremy Rivkin, who has a pedigree and sphere of experience which is imposing to say the least.
Amongst other things his CV contains years of experience as an adviser and consultant to Angela Merkel’s German Government, the European Union, the Chinese Government and various other European business leadership Groups.
In the interim, he continues his primary career, as an International lecturer in Executive Education.
In summary he has analysed the prevailing conditions which lead to the world’s previous well documented Industrial Revolutions, which were the British lead Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries, and the USA lead Industrial Revolution of the early part of the 20th Century.
He summarises that there needed to be three consistent situations, all of which were in sync, for each Industrial Revolution to commence.
These were chronological massive changes in communication systems, energy systems, and changes in respective information/human mobility.
In England these co incided with the development of steam energy, which helped power and develop the printing and manufacturing industry, and the telegram for communication, and then the evolution of the train industry for human and product mobility.
In the USA last century, the key changes were the evolution of oil and petroleum for energy, the development of the telephone, and then radio and TV, for communication, and as a consequence of the new energy source from oil, mobility changed rapidly with the development of cars, trucks, and buses.
He theorised that we have similar changes to the world as we have known it, in these three categories, happening right now.
As he sees it, traditional energy sources as we have known them, such as coal, are dead and buried, and are being replaced by sustainable energy sources such as solar, wind and water.
He then theorises that communication systems are going through their biggest generational change in the world’s history due to the internet, including, email, iPhone technology, and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
And then, the final link in the chain is information mobility, which has been revolutionised by outlets such as Wikipedia and Google.
I don’t think there could be any arguments that the entire world has never been more connected with immediate information access for the vast majority of us on this planet.
So, if his thoughts are correct, what does it mean for all of us?
The facts are overwhelming that the last two Industrial Revolutions completely changed the world as it then was.
What changes in our day to day lives, and business lives, can we expect FROM THIS Industrial Revolution, which he theorises, has just commenced in terms of its’ evolution?
Firstly, it is undoubted, that across the world, we have seen a slowing in productivity over the past 15-20 years. As the world has changed, issues like climate change have seen an increase in unemployment. If you don’t believe this, consider the case of the US car industry.
He argues that the key to international growth is the building of infrastructure, which is a long term strategy, but this creates a political conflict, as politicians are interested in short term policy, which will get them re-elected in 4 years’ time.
For companies and businesses, he argues that the change has already started, and will continue to gather pace in its implementation.
The old business world was as he sees it, sellers selling something to a buyer.
The old world was all about analysing a business market.
The old world was based on consumerism.
The new world will be service providers providing their service to users.
Think about revelations like Uber, and Air B + B.
The new world will be about networks, not markets..
And the new world will be about sustainability of service.
So…what to do?
I don’t think there can be any doubt, that we are living in an era of the fastest ‘Business’ environmental changes in the history of the world.
So, business people need to consider the fate of dinosaurs, which couldn’t adapt to a changing environment and became extinct, in the process. The time to have flexibility of thought, an ability to embrace and implement new technology, is now. Everybody needs to work out what parts of the new world of communications, of energy and mobility can be implemented into your own businesses.
Who knows…In the process some exciting new opportunities may arise.
It is a whole new world. A world which is being revolutionised – by energy, by mobility and communications.
Survive now, evolve, and thrive later or would you rather be a Dinosaur?
That’s my thoughts
Muzza from Warnbro….