The next industrial revolution, the time to fail fast…

When using my glass ball to look into the future of the industry, I can´t avoid looking at how technology information companies (TICs) perform to day, they are really marking the beat of how businesses of the future will function.

In a brief, among many other things, TICs manage to build platforms of services and value chains that defy actual geographical limits, creating collaboration networks that exceed that of the intended service reach, and often, very often, they bring more than just jobs, “a by-product” of positive impact on the communities surrounding them.

It worries me that at the light speed launch rate of TICs, the menu of products (I refer to the physical / tangible portfolio) will soon be limited and not really special.

Here is where the 4th industrial revolution kicks in.

Product designers, producers, value chains and the “retail world” will soon follow the TICs beat, networking to a fast+CHEAP+prototyping process to reach consumers faster, learn even faster, go back to adjusting the product, and start over. A concept I like to call “fail- to- trade network”

To make this efficient, we should start with education, the kids who today study basic education are already in a big disadvantage against kids that will start education in 10 years, the reason why, is that sadly education catches up way slower than the speed of practical changes in the world.

Those of us that are on the productive stage of our lives, should prepare the ground of our application areas for this change, so that when our kids are ready they can take over the industry and continue developing; If the educational system is not ready for the next level then we should provide our kids with the right tools .

The evolved educational system should provide students with a wider world view, the basic/fundamental learning needs to focus on systemic & logical problem solving skills, economics, business & entrepreneurship, coding, teamwork and social responsibility, working with tribes (groups of persons that share common interests and impulse), strongly supported with on-demand learning possibilities that allow students find their elements (interests and skills) soon enough to provide a path of what their application areas will be, furthermore hobbies & education will have to merge.

All these “new” skills will be used to create the new industrial processes, where the “ fail -to- trade network” will not happen under one roof.

Supply chains will have to adapt to the new speed of product design, single source / single model production schemes and world wide freight will be in essence obsolete, where 3D technology and the extra flexibility to remotely/virtually produce any where in the world will allow products to reach consumers faster than ever, the feedback process from user to designer will be on real time, giving product creators a great opportunity to adjust, change, evolve fast and at very low costs.

Producers will have to focus on creating transformation facilities that can leverage on remote design to production line technologies like 3D printing, prompt tooling (on the flor ) to production adaptation and top quality management; supply chain planners and suppliers will find new challenges making raw materials available at multiple locations.

As a consequence reaching the consumers will require less transport and time, flexible, smaller and faster production sites, faster product adjustments and less waste, business models will be 100% consumer-centric; design to service as close and short as possible, adaptation and evolution will taste more to Taylor-made than to mass produced.

Product change and evolution will come so fast that unless the product is truly disruptive / innovative / unique, people will not invest time protecting their intellectual property as it would only distract them from creating the next version… precious time between being the first or the “mee too”.

So as a conclusion the next industrial revolution is about the capacity to design, CHEAP produce & test, reach customers faster than your possible competitors, receive fast feedback, adjust, and move on; during this cycle we need to make sure we are socially responsible and work under strong ethics, not only because consumers will reject our products if we fail, but also to sustain our own existence, ecology and community care should become a must.