I forget what Industry 1, 2, and 3 are, but there’s a lot of talk these days about Industry 4.0 being about sensors and the internet of things. I think industry 5.0 could be about software which helps our managers achieve business transformation.
I know it sounds dull but bear with me.
At some point, people are going to realise that sensors and the internet of things, like any technology, does not change a thing, unless it helps people do something they wanted to do already.
People wanted warm houses, gas and central heating made it easier. People wanted to travel, cars and aeroplanes made it easier. People like to interact and reflect with others, Facebook (perhaps) made it easier. Doing most things requires managing money, Fintech (sometimes) makes it easier. Warm houses, travel, interaction and money management are a major part of our lives and so these technologies have a high impact.
I am not sure where sensors and the ‘internet of things’ will lead to us being able to do something easier (which is a major part of our lives), and so I don’t think the impact of this technology on our lives will be very high.
But there is something very important which just about every organisation wants to do – and that’s to manage itself better (or have better management). Or to put this point another way, there’s barely an organisation which doesn’t want to improve its own management. The best managed organisations would agree most strongly that they need to continually improve their management. An organisation which doesn’t care about continually improving its management is perhaps not one you’d care to have much to do with.
Good managers can steer the business, and its component parts, on a good financial course. They can make sure the business does what it is supposed to do, and doesn’t do things it isn’t supposed to to.
This has been true for every organisation for the last 1000 years and will be true for the every organisation for the next 1000 years, unless you can imagine a world where our robots are so good we don’t need organisations. (If it is possible to have a world, I’m not sure I want to live in it).
But at some point, organisations will get much better at installing and developing software tools which help their managers. For example, help managers get a better situation awareness of what is going on, have good views of current and archived data (including analysed data), share stories with other managers, and see what the impact of their decisions is on the current situation, so they continually learn.
Such a world will enable our organisations to continually improve, which means doing far more with less resources, and operating at higher levels of reliability. Life for managers will be one of continuous learning and sharing with others – no anxiety or loneliness, continous enjoyable work.
We’d all like to live in a world with such organisations, we’d all like to be managers in such organisations, and it can all work in a world of constrained economics, which seems to be where we are headed.
How can we make this happen faster?