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Companies will have to create radical digital sustainability

Written by Pieter Mijnendonckx on 2 April 2019 for Companies

Industry 4.0 (i4.0) is ushering in a new era of exponential change, rapid disruption and regulatory challenges on a scale never seen before. But Raf Seymus, Founder & CEO of Exellys, believes that the future for businesses is extremely bright: “While many jobs will be automated out of existence, many more new jobs will be created,” he predicts.

Raf Seymus explained what companies must do to create radical digital sustainability, helping them to benefit from rapid technological innovation in the world of tomorrow.

Fostering an innovation mindset

Industry 4.0 will have a huge impact on businesses; change is not only very fast but is occurring in multiple different areas such as data, robotics, biotechnology and artificial intelligence. The speed and scale of this change make it extremely challenging for businesses to stay up to date and remain competitive. While this change will destroy some jobs, many more new opportunities will be created, and this is the area where companies need to focus on.

It is critical that businesses foster an innovation mindset among their workforce. This means encouraging employees to look at new concepts and ideas and trying to adapt and use them for their own benefit. Developing a mindset that embraces curiosity and creativity will ultimately lead to more innovation. When you’re not curious about how things can be done in a different way or how can you apply new technologies in your own business then you’ll be stuck and ultimately left behind.

Prioritizing talent management

While most people believe that technology will destroy jobs, research indicates that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will likely create many more jobs than it destroys. For each job that lost in the digital age, 3.7 jobs will be created, and recent figures suggest that by 2030 we’ll have a global talent deficit of 85 million workers, more than the entire population of Germany or South-Korea and Japan combined.

This huge challenge poses questions about how companies manage their talent. We’re facing a huge talent crisis that has never occurred in history before. When surveyed globally, 85 percent of CEO’s believe that their companies will succeed in finding talent in the coming years. Yet the solutions we applied before such as offshoring, onshoring or even smart migration will not be sufficient to conquer this deficit. Countries on every continent, from China to Russia and Brazil will all suffer from the same shortages.

That’s why HR and talent management should be one of the top priorities over the coming years for companies. Companies of all sizes need to become talent incubators, not merely employers. They must not only hire the right people but help them evolve too.

Raf Seymus - Industry 4.0

A positive work environment

If you want to attract the right people, you need to create a pleasant and stimulating working environment where the work-life balance is being taken care of. You must help develop the career paths of your employees and support them with the right training and coaching to help them reach the next level. This will, in turn, help your company prosper as well.

Skills to thrive in the 4th industrial revolution

First of all, tech savviness is a given. People will need to be able to work with i4.0 technologies and know how to implement them. They need to know how to work with businesses and apply new technologies to existing business processes.

Secondly, change agility will be very important. Change is occurring at incredible speed so people will have to feel comfortable with change in order to thrive in a new type of environment.

Thirdly, as a consequence of this change, the agility for learning, or nimble learning, will become even more important than it is today. People will be learning throughout their lives, at a high speed. Their ability to learn on the fly will become even more important over the next few years.

Radical digital sustainability

To thrive in Industry 4.0, companies will have to create radical digital sustainability. Organizations need to be able to react quickly to changing trends. There’s no time to lose. We need to be able to embrace this new digital world. If we do this, we can start thinking about how our companies can stay in business and even thrive in this Fourth Industrial Revolution.

That’s my invitation to all company leaders.

If you’re curious about how you can thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, be sure to watch Raf Seymus’ full interview here.

Written by Pieter Mijnendonckx Digital Growth Marketeer