In speed, we can see that things are changing very quickly due to the convergence of many of the technolo- gies that you just referenced: genomics and robotics and smart sensors. And the whole portfolio of digital technolo- gies is obviously moving very, very quickly. In terms of scope, there are very few segments of the

business world that are not impacted by these technologies. Then there is the systemic nature of

what we are seeing. The line between industry sectors is becoming increas- ingly blurry. Think about Amazon. What business is Amazon in? Is it a media content producer? A retailer? A supply chain and logistics company? In many ways, it’s all of the above. We’ve seen that with Google and a number of other companies as well. That touches on the systemic nature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Were there many ideas that sprouted at Davos about

how to address that systemic nature? Quite a few. As head of mobility at the Forum, I work a lot with automotive companies and airlines and logistics providers, and what we’ve seen is we are very much in the early stages of a massive transformation in mobility. Let me use urban mobility—how people and goods move around in cities—as an example. When you consider the rise of on-demand business models—the Ubers and Lyfts and Car2Gos of the world—and combine that with what we are seeing in advances in autonomous driving and then combine that with some advances in energy storage systems and propulsion technology for vehicles, you can see that the convergence of these factors really has the ca- pability to fundamentally reshape how we will get around in our cities. So you can imagine the shift from ownership of private automobiles toward fleets of robo-taxis that are not necessarily owned by individuals but are roaming the city and taking people to where they need to go. Through this, we can imagine an incredible increase in the utilization rate of vehicles. When you own a car, it sits there doing nothing 95% of the time.

What kind of discussion was there specific to manu-

facturing? For example, we have written about compa- nies that are getting involved in sharing manufacturing facilities in terms of putting small batches together in facilities that are not used as much as they could be. The manufacturing discussion focuses across four dimensions.

The first is the impact of new technologies like ad-

vanced robotics and new materials and 3D printing. The second stream is around the policy dialog: the engagement of not just multinationals but also startups with policymakers to consider what policies to put forth in a particular country to play to the strengths of that country so it can move up the value chain or

“We saw plenty of evidence [at Davos] that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. We saw very little evidence the world is ready for it.”

incentivize a shift to advanced manufacturing or to enhance the innovation capability of the country. There is a tremendous amount of interest now from various policymakers, ministers of industry and so forth to engage in that dialog with business. The third element that impacts the global production

system is the circular economy model. This notion that we can shift the paradigm from making stuff, using stuff and throwing it away and having a great deal of that stuff end up in a landfill to making stuff and using it in a smarter manner to better leverage the assets we already have through new business models. The fourth stream is about the linkage between the

global production system and skills and human capital. And one question that addresses is “how can the work- force be retrained and reskilled for the jobs of the future?”

You spoke three years ago about an advanced manu-

facturing “ecosystem” and said countries were thinking more strategically about how to develop an integrated portfolio of public policies that enhance the overall in- novation capability of the nation to design, develop and make a wide variety of sophisticated products. How do you describe an advanced manufacturing “ecosystem?” An advanced manufacturing ecosystem enables and

incentivizes innovation in products, in services related to those products, the opportunity to develop new business models—for example, circular, which I just referred to— and ultimately to deliver more value for consumers. This means that governments do their part to promote these policies that enable innovation. And that’s not an easy question to answer. There are some commonalities that have emerged from our work. For example, it’s clear that governments need to signal long-term directionality with


Fall 2016

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