¡Special Times–Right Now!

Post by: On:Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Currently, most parts of the world are experiencing special times across virtually all economic, technological, civic, and political areas. For example, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of the German Government states on their website that “Europe is changing, the world is growing together. Global and regional innovation centers are shifting to Central Asia, Latin America and Africa.” That is true, but it is not only Europe that is changing; the whole world is changing. And innovation plays a huge role. "Of course we have a situation in which we feel the world is changing," says German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What we see are fast changes, and above all, division. Everywhere we look, we see division, driven by change. On the other hand, our special times are full of opportunities, and there is a realistic chance to create a more human society with the possibilities of digitization and globalization.

Europe is changing, the world is growing together. Global and regional innovation centers are shifting to Central Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The question arises of why the changes are happening now and did not happen decades ago. What is so special about our time?

An important part of the answer may be that – precisely now – we can see a transition in three different areas. Firstly, the Silicon Valley cycle of Social Media is facing low growth rates. A new cycle of advanced manufacturing is now becoming apparent in the Valley. Secondly, Industry 4.0 is gaining momentum, and thirdly, the Kondratiev waves are now entering a new phase. The simultaneity of these three events is unique and they are leading to new concepts in many areas of business (e.g. digital ecosystems) and also leading to huge social changes. As innovation means spreading new concepts pervasively, it can explain why today innovation is so important, why its rate is so high, why disruption has such high importance and why new possibilities are so varied. It is also clear that not everybody is capable of keeping pace with this development. Special times, really.

Another aspect of our digital age may be Artificial Intelligence (AI), a hyped term currently. So, what about AI? Are we moving from a mobile era to an AI era? I don’t think so. It is not AI that is shaping our new world. It is rather a combination of digitization, automation and globalization, where AI is just one (surprisingly 50-year-old) technology, besides other break-through technologies like the Block Chain or the Internet of Things. AI is a good example to show how much scientific research the word has already carried out which has not resulted in practical applications. The era of digitization is now digging up this treasure, not to mention the additional possibilities of recombining long-used base technologies to develop new products, services and business models. The autonomous car is such an example. AI, GPS, radar, and digital maps are all quite old technologies but their recombination (synthesis) is the foundation of future cars.

Traditional manufacturers have difficulties in imagining the enormous variety of possibilities in our new digital world. To help them innovate to create a more human society is one of the goals of our Global Innovation Initiative for manufacturing industries.


Quotes we like

"If you want a teacher, try a waterfall. Or a mushroom or a mountain wilderness or a storm-pounded seashore. That is where the action is."

Terence McKenna

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