The Future of Work: Harnessing Disruptive Forces to Leapfrog Challenges
“Office,” “assembly line,” “desk job.” These are common words associated with work today. But work is about to be upturned by three hugely disruptive forces: the Industrial Internet, Advanced Manufacturing, and the Global Brain. And GE calls it; “The Future of Work”.
As they wash over the workplace landscape – from industrial parks to office towers and everyplace in between – we will soon begin to use terms like “collaborative innovation,” “micro-factories,” “cloud sourcing”.
And let there be no doubt, this transformation is not only happening in faraway places like Europe, North America and Asia. It’s coming here too, to the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region. A GE White Paper titled “Mapping the Future of Work in MENAT” was released today on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Unlocking Resources for Regional Development being held in Istanbul.
The changing face of work and the workplace provides an opportunity for the region to leapfrog some of its enduring challenges, including high unemployment, especially among youth; lagging worker productivity, and less homegrown innovation than expected.
For example, regional countries can broaden their manufacturing base with the greater flexibility and speed of advanced manufacturing processes that can fast-forward the design-prototype-production cycle of a new product in micro-factories and other workspaces that use 3D-printing, injection molders and other relatively inexpensive “maker movement” technologies.
The ability to tap nationwide and cross-border human talent through Internet-linked networks will lower barriers to entry and redefine the concept of scale for companies by enabling smaller initial investment. It also will open employment opportunities to regional workers who now can access jobs irrespective of location.
The industrial Internet and advanced manufacturing will boost productivity and efficiency across key sectors such as oil and gas, aviation, transportation and health care, while roles such as engineers and technicians will see salaries rise as they become more productive and valuable through technologies that link their work on the ground with big data resources in the cloud.
Even more, as local supply chains become stronger, robust mechanical components and electronics industries can emerge, helping regional economies shift towards more knowledge intensive, higher value-added exports.