4.0: Industrial Revolution and Development

August 02, 2018
According to the UN, the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be of a magnitude that is difficult to imagine; technology can be harnessed to deliver on Sustainable Development Goals.
Picture of full classroom during the AIM ZSDM masterclass

The Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management (ZSDM) held a masterclass entitled “4.0 Industrial Revolution and Development Management: Forces, Trends, and Implications to Development Management” at the Asian Institute of Management last 14 July 2018.

The masterclass was one of many during the Institute-wide Inside AIM event, showcasing what ZSDM has to offer and giving people the chance to experience life at AIM firsthand.

The masterclass was facilitated by development management experts Mr. Motoo Konishi, former Country Director of World Bank in the Philippines, and Mr. Sreenivas Narayanan, the Group Managing Director of the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST). ASSIST is an international, self-sustaining, non-profit organization that promotes capacity building to achieve progress and profit in Asia.

The ZSDM masterclass also exhibited how to use several innovative methodologies such as a web-based game application for activities and an augmented reality application to help visualize information.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Opportunities and challenges

According to Konishi, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change the way we live, work, and relate to one another. He also mentioned that simultaneous with the Fourth Industrial Revolution is consumers’ growing sophistication and the rise of the social enterprise, a profound shift facing business leaders worldwide. He emphasized that the business sector needs to understand and appreciate the complexity and effort required to drive social change if it is to succeed in promoting its business and profitability.

Governments and some academic institutions, according to Konishi, are struggling to keep up with the changes brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They need to step up and be more agile to shape, govern, and lead the trajectory of emerging technologies for society’s best interest. Reskilling and upskilling talents, and impressing upon them the importance of improving aptitude, skills, cognitive flexibility, and creativity are some of the ways an organization can smooth the transition into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Konishi also underlined that though leaders do not need to be big data or innovation experts, they should be able to speak the language, be enlightened leaders, and be faithful to their values. The hard and soft skills needed to lead this transformation, he said, are taught at ZSDM. Bridging Leadership—a framework that emphasizes leading collaborative action to bring about social change—is integrated into an excellent curriculum that involves innovative principles and tools, and relevant field immersions.

Konishi concluded his talk with a message to all the participants: Lead with purpose, lead with commitment, and most importantly, lead with your heart.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution’s impact on the development sector

According to Narayanan, the Fourth Industrial Revolution affects the development sector’s strategies, structure, and operations. Non-government organizations will have to align their vision and advocacy to keep up with changing contexts, their structure and policies will have to adapt, and they must find a way to continue effective operations.

Key trends in the development sector were discussed such as the automation of services through humanitarian delivery drones and biometric databases; education about social issues; and the engagement of a large number of people to obtain data as an efficient way of segmenting and solving problems (ex. crowdsensing and crowdsourcing).

Narayanan also mentioned that though the Fourth Industrial Revolution will challenge how we work, it will also bring about an increase in productivity and employ maximum governance and minimum government. Soon, we will proficiently harness technology for the most appropriate reasons.

Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, ZSDM School Head, concluded the event by encouraging attendees to work together and innovate for an inclusive growth in development.

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