Leadership needed in transition to Industry 4.0

In wrapping up the “summer Davos”, the World Economic Forum at its Annual Meeting of the New Champions highlighted the value of leadership in navigating industrial change.

Held in Dalian, China, the assemble thinkers and business leaders highlighted that leaders will need to be “agile and adaptive” to account for the rapid speed of change that Industry 4.0 will bring about.

One of the panellists at the session on leadership which canvassed these issues was Suphachai Chearvanont, chief executive officer at CP Group, Thailand’s largest private company which provides industrial manufacturing services as well as food and financial services, focussed on the need for a company’s mission or value to guide change in a period of chaotic transitions.

While some participants suggested that top-down leadership styles will need to give way to bottom-up thinking, others disagreed, with Michelle Zatlyn, chief operating officer of IT company Cloudflare, suggesting, “You want agility but you don’t want a whiplash.”

The Meeting of the New Champions finished with a number of commitments from participant members, which ranged from the guidelines for the ethical procurement of artificial intelligence to initiatives to increase support for biodiversity.

In addition, South Korea joined the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, which develops policy frameworks that accelerate the benefit of science and technology.

Furthermore, for those that may have thought that Australia was alone in experience a skills shortage, at the summit the United Arab Emirates was the latest countries to join the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap initiative, with the launch of an accelerator delivered by the nation’s Minister of State for higher Education and Advanced Skills.

Bringing the proceedings to a close, Huang Yiping, deputy dean of the National School of Development at Peking University, said that while innovation and flexibility will be needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, risk management across all sectors will ensure the success of the revolution.