Dr Maurizio Bragagni.
Pure innovation must be powered by the drive to deliver added value: to make things easier, faster, safer, better – or less expensive. Sometimes these gains come at a price.
Dr Bragagni observes that we are standing together on the edge of the fourth industrial revolution, and that it’s as much about revolutionary thinking as it is about ground-breaking engineering – the two go together.
While studying for his MBA he had time to connect to, and consider, the possibilities of this incoming disruption: this challenge to the way of doing things; this boundless opportunity.
He commented: “These are exciting times, and we have to decide whether to sink – or swim. To survive this latest challenge to our world, a self-created challenge, we have to not only adapt, but adapt in the right way.”
A job for life will become a rare thing and that means the very fabric of life will change beyond all recognition. And it won’t be the first time.
Every generation has its disruptive technology. Today that technology is the Internet, in previous industrial revolutions the machines were bigger and driven by steam – but the net result was the same. Fewer people were required and today our own commercial value – what we ‘bring to the business’ – may be on thin ice.
Massive technological disruption; it’s been with us for centuries, and it’s not finished yet.
This fourth industrial revolution drives the need for continuous learning. It’s been a buzz-topic for some time, but life, says Dr Bragagni, will take a more varied path as people leave education, gain skills, have their jobs change, re-educate and re-skill, change jobs and move forward.
If we don’t prepare for these seismic changes now, we will be left severely wrong-footed. That’s one of the reasons he was focused on the introduction of an Academy at Tratos. The Academy is the right space for continual learning, for exchanges of ideas and for upskilling in response to (and anticipation of) change now and change to come.
Dr Bragagni is more than just an advocate of continuous learning – he was keen to learn more at Cass Business School – it’s something he feels has allowed him to explore different approaches and applications of innovation.
Re-training is key, he says, and industry needs closer relationships with universities so that they can both provide relevant training at all levels. The way we work and contribute to business will be revisited, renegotiated and redesigned.
It’s a different way of working – and it suits a culture of innovation. It’s all about flexibility and being adaptable. It’s not always the strongest, or the most intelligent – but the most adaptable and flexible that survive. So, we need to be ready, says Dr Bragagni.
Automation will do what it always does. We’ve only to look at history, he says.
Automation increases productivity and that in turn usually created fresh job opportunities. But if they’re getting smarter, what’s to cap robots’ career ambitions?
Do they have to be limited to those lower skill areas? Driverless cars have arrived – where does that leave taxi, lorry, bus and train driver? Old science fiction movies are proving to have been fairly accurate in their depictions of how life is lived in the future.
So, we must be smart and stay smarter. The astute money is on finding ways to work better with the technology, and to do that we need to educate ourselves better and – now – more often. And that’s why the enlightened companies are sharing the aspiration, embracing technology and taking their workforces with them