Today it’s something we all take for granted. In fact, technology has evolved to the point that this particular activity takes place automatically so as to be undetected. It also happens to be the first successful computer to computer transmission that took place and occurred in 1969. The message was ‘Login’ and it was sent from UCLA to Stanford by research scientists with the Advanced Research Projects Agency, the predecessor agency to DARPA now heavily funded by the Department of Defense. Today, every minute approximately 2.8Mn emails are transmitted, 76,000 Google searches are made and 76,000 GB of internet traffic occurs. Those words and their transmission sparked a global revolution in technology now largely driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The introduction of the computer and the communications technology that followed has created enormous prosperity and radically reconfigured business, government and life for billions. These new businesses have created many of the Industries of the Future. Industry of the Future are defined as those that are either in its early or growth stages. Criteria that would qualify an industry include those that have new rules and regulations are still being developed, the rate and pace of new entrants is above average, new products and services are constantly being introduced and widespread consolidation has yet to occur. Specific examples of Industries of the Future are blockchain, Internet of Things, Cannabis, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, cyber-security and crypto-currency. (For a full list of Industries of the Future please click here)
Many of the Industries of the Future are being developed because of the introduction of new technologies, but not all. Blockchain is being developed on a decentralized ledger system, cannabis is being legalized creating new businesses and machine learning is coming into existence largely due to an exponential increase in computing power. The businesses and the industries themselves remain in the early and developmental stage. A unique dynamic has opened and has created a ‘Wild West’ feel with an influx of new capital, enterprising entrepreneurs and lagging regulation. The risk remains quite high and the failure rate above normal in comparison to more developed and mature industries.
Reliable and repeatable practices remain in flux with new processes, procedures and practices constantly being introduced. These situations can in and among themselves be the competitive advantage. Rapidly prototyping, developing and introducing new products that are in turn available to a global audience of billions can take place in the span of minutes.
These new spaces of possibilities present reconfigured and all-together different situations than those experienced during previous industrial revolutions. From the constitution of a business to the sales process to the production of new offers, products, services and business models – business concerns take on new meaning. For instance, the sales process – once a high-touch exercise – has moved onto the internet leaving sales professionals redesigning how this new tool, never before used by humans in this capacity, is utilized.
Finding superior help in an environment of global competitors that’s high paced and largely driven by knowledge and computers becomes challenging. How do you assess help when operating in an entirely reconfigured and new marketplace? Who do you trust and how do you trust them?
Peer connectivity becomes an increasingly valuable resource in this environment. Learning, designing and collaborating with others who find themselves in similar situations – competing, taking care of business concerns, leading, selling – becomes one of the most cost effective, efficient and competitive strategies to employ. The peer-to-peer collaboration model opens new possibilities to assess the marketplace, design offers and build identities that employees and investors trust.
The value of peer-to-peer collaborations is in their inherent ability to provide real-time feedback from current situations. The textbooks haven’t been written yet for the Industries of the Future and as such there’s no playbook to use. Imagine being the CEO of a leading company utilizing new technology and one or more of the systems to run the business – such as marketing or human resources or accounting – uses outdated practices. This will quickly turn into a threat. Collaborating with senior leaders tackling similar challenges could uncover this threat and turn it into an opportunity with real competitive advantage.
As new practices and processes are implemented the opportunity opens to remain in collaboration with peers to constantly improve. Facilitated collaboration opens new possibilities to move quickly, remain competitive and fulfill ambitions in the top of the marketplace. This would include sharing best practices, exploring joint ventures, gaining access to valuable resources and solving those big challenges that so often prevent business objectives from being fulfilled.
During the Third Industrial Revolution (IR3), working alone and being determined in a secure job for the majority of ones’ career was the norm. With new technologies and business being built on the foundation of a global internet, those career concerns have been reconfigured. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4) which we find ourselves in the midst of today, business concerns such as sales, finance and marketing still exist yet the practices used to take care of them have changed, in some cases radically. New configurations and collaborations are required to survive, be free and live a good life.