Throughout the history of business, innovation has been deemed critical to the success of business.
Successful businesses have through innovation made changes that have impacted society on a vast scale, for example, the assembly line in the second industrial revolution, made popular by Henry Ford.
Henry Ford stated, “the assembly line brings work to the worker”, and this made wide-scale manufacturing possible and allowed firms to achieve economies of scale and implement division of labour.
The third industrial revolution is credited with the rise of electronics such as the microprocessor which allowed computers to be used widely. Improvements in telecommunications brought further efficiencies to organisations.
Today we are in the fourth industrial revolution and the need for innovation in business is greater than ever before.
The fourth industrial revolution is a way of describing the muddling of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a combination of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. It’s the communal force behind many products and services that are fast becoming indispensable to modern life.
However, it is not all good news. Labour markets can be disrupted, and the jobs market may become increasingly segregated into “low-skill/low-pay” and “high-skill/high-pay” roles, which could escalate social tension.
An underlying theme with global CEOs and senior business executives is that the speeding up of innovation and the velocity of disruption are hard to understand or anticipate and that these drivers constitute a source of constant surprise, even for the best-connected and most well-informed.
Disruption is flowing from agile, innovative competitors who with access to global digital platforms for research, development, marketing, sales, and distribution, can oust well-established incumbents faster than ever by improving the quality, speed, or price at which value is delivered.
Customers are progressively at the epicentre of the economy, which is all about refining how customers are served. Physical products and services, moreover, can now be improved with digital capabilities that increase their value.
New technologies make assets more durable and resilient, while data and analytics are transforming how they are maintained. A world of customer experiences, data-based services, and asset performance through analytics, requires new forms of collaboration, particularly given the speed at which innovation and disruption are taking place. And the emergence of global platforms and other new business models, means that talent, culture, and organizational forms will have to be rethought.
It is, therefore, imperative that individuals constantly seek to upgrade their education levels and learn new skills to adapt to this changing environment. Skills such as business intelligence, data analysis, information technology and digital marketing are now more crucial than ever.
Regent Business School offers a range of programmes at the undergraduate to post graduate level that focuses on the issues addressed in this article. Modules such Business Intelligence, Digital Marketing, Leading Digital Business Transformation, Social Media Marketing Channels are all aimed at equipping students with the right tools and knowledge to not only gain success but to also future proof against a rapidly changing environment.