What the Fifth Industrial Revolution is and why it matters

love 2019

(Rochelle Brown, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Pratik Gauri, India President, 5th Element Group PBC & Jim Van Eerden, President, 5th Element Group PBC


Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore posed a piercing question to us at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Oslo.

“Will our children ask us why we didn’t act?”, he asked.

“Or will they ask us how we found the courage and rallied the resources to rise up and change?”

Gore is focused on the looming global climate crisis, and is frustrated about the world’s neglect of a catastrophic problem. But a still larger – and related – issue is illustrated by the march of successive industrial revolutions that the modern world has witnessed. Each has intensified the risks of dehumanizing economic progress, to the point that we now face an existential threat in both environmental and humanitarian terms.

The advance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and the like) has produced a developing scenario in which the service of humanity seems too often eclipsed by the momentum of technology and commerce. This challenge has been highlighted recently, as some of the leading innovators of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have begun to relinquish their intellectual property because of the risks to them as the owners of it. These captains of the Fourth Revolution surmise that the new technologies have the capacity to be an Orwellian “enemy of the people”. Meanwhile, our economic engines continue to roar and belch proverbial smoke into the air, as the world’s population grows and the ideals of human flourishing are left wanting.

Indeed, in many ways we are unprepared to meet the challenges ahead. According to The Future of Jobs Report 2016, 65% of children entering education today will end up in careers that don’t yet exist, and much of this will be attributable to the rapid advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, there are now five “beacons of hope”.

1. Profit with purpose

First, there has been an unprecedented connection of business to purpose. In an ironic way, at the moment that capitalism is more derided than ever in many circles, business is emerging as the world’s most powerful and active force for doing good. Consumers are demanding it, and many businesses are responding, with sustainability-minded brands winning market share.

2. 5IR

This is the driving factor in the second beacon, which is the rise of the Fifth Industrial Revolution. In contrast to trends in the Fourth Revolution toward dehumanization, technology and innovation best practices are being bent back toward the service of humanity by the champions of the Fifth.

Image: 5th Element

Forbes contributor Lawrence Wintermeyer highlighted this recently, with reference to the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the fintech markets.

“Most of the conferences I attend focus on ‘the next big tech thing’ and what it can do”, Wintermeyer observed, “often to the exclusion of the utility and impact the technology will have on society.”

“I am most often asked what the next ‘smart money’ tech trend is in fintech. I am now happy to report it is not blockchain, bitcoin, or AI. It is humanity.”

In the Fifth Industrial Revolution, humans and machines will dance together, metaphorically. At Davos 2019, an event sponsored by Forbes, MIT and Tata had the theme “Blockchain+AI+Human = Magic”. This equation seems impossible to some, but it can, and will, prove true. AI will help increase human labour productivity. Blockchain will help give access to banking (and intangible forms of capital) to the unbanked. Robots will help humans align returns on investment (ROI) with purpose. But it will require intentionality and moral clarity.

Image: UNCTAD, World Investment Report

3. Targets for progress

The third beacon of hope is the increasing prominence of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs provide history’s first universal matrix for achieving a flourishing future. Adopted by the heads of governments from 193 UN member states, the SDG framework addresses the key physical facets of life in our global village – social, environmental and economic.

According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s World Investment Report 2014, an estimated annual investment of $3.9 trillion is required to achieve the SDGs. Currently, there is an estimated $2.5 trillion annual gap. But businesses are rallying. This is evident in advancing public-private partnerships (PPPs) that are gaining momentum as a model for sustainable impact initiatives. Helpful frameworks for leadership are being widely adopted by various sectors, such as this one in the impact investing community:

One apparent way to fund the gap is by targeting private capital in a manner that requires businesses to be SDG-aligned. Larry Fink, CEO of investment community leader Blackrock, wrote an open letter to CEOs that sets the standard in this regard.

“Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits but the animating force for achieving them”, he wrote. “Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose – in fact, profits and purpose are inextricably linked.”

Beyond investing, businesses will need to think outside of the box to engage more than $2 trillion in brand marketing budgets to help advance the common good. One example of this gaining global attention is Fifth Element Group’s Good Exchange model. A Good Exchange is a marketing framework by which a brand engages its consumers with content activation that unlocks a donation to a cause that matters to both the brand and the consumer. The consumers become the media beacons for brand and cause-connected content, so that a growing portion of brand funds can flow to cause, rather than to media intermediaries.

Companies like Fifth Element are creating traffic on the bridge between key performance indicators (KPIs) and SDG-aligned social impact. These “omniwin” models, when supported by clear and compelling case study data, are changing the traditional marketing mix at many companies, and producing PPP opportunities.

4. Closing the gender gap

The fourth beacon sits at the centre of the SDG framework as the fulcrum to lifting all the others. SDG5 is about the empowerment of women and girls worldwide. There is no hope for achieving the SDGs unless SDG5 is central to the agenda. If women and girls are empowered to lead campaigns for human flourishing, all the other SDGs will rise.

 

Open platform movements such as the SDG5 Global Alliance have been created to promote aspirational examples of women who are leading the way in getting things done. The Fifth Industrial Revolution must include the strategic voice of women in leadership. Businesses, through best practices in hiring and development and other kinds of support, will be essential facilitators.

5. Scaling and spreading

The fifth beacon of hope is that these kinds of cross-sector, SDG-aligned movements are going global and becoming increasingly democratized. SDG-aligned leadership is emerging in countries such as India, which is experiencing an historically unprecedented demographic dividend of young people with a keen desire for a better world.

Forward-thinking companies are taking note. Tech leader IBM, for example, is recruiting 200,000 girls into STEM learning programmes in India to help change the gender imbalance in the tech sector. Tata Trusts, the philanthropic arm of the Tata conglomerate, is spearheading solutions to the country’s water and sanitation crisis through PPPs.

New platforms are reflecting the democratized nature of the push toward the SDGs. The People’s Prize, for example, was recently announced at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford. It’s a new series of SDG-focused social entrepreneurship prizes offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to incentivize innovation teams that demonstrate to people around the world why their project should be funded to scale. Like other crowdfunding platforms, this is just one of several prizes that are moving beyond “black box” judging panels, shifting decision-making instead to an emerging class of micro-donors. It’s an encouraging and important trend.

 

At Fifth Element Group, we work to help businesses move from a “for-profit” to a “for-benefit” operating model. Collectively, our stakeholders are our shareholders, but our stakeholders are also our employees, our customers and more broadly the people and planet impacted by our work.

The challenges are clear. But so is the opportunity. We can create a new socio-economic era that closes historic gaps in last mile inclusion and engages the “bottom billion” in creating quantum leaps for humanity, and for a better planet.

The world needs a Fifth Industrial Revolution to flower like a new Renaissance Age. It will be marked by creativity and common purpose, as we together work to bend progress and profits toward purpose and inclusivity. Are you a part of it?

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

What are the real targets of EU’s efforts to fight tax evasion?

The good news on pensions: sustainable equals profitable

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving Globalization 4.0

Anxious gorillas, thirsty koalas and lame cows – how climate change is making animals miserable

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

EU Commission accuses Germany of obstructing growth and the banking union

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more integrated Europe

ECOFIN: Choosing between the re-unification of Eurozone and a stalemate

India’s agro-food sector has made strong progress, but a new policy approach is needed to meet future challenges, says new report by OECD and ICRIER

Syria: Ease suffering, save lives, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator tells Security Council

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

A Sting Exclusive: Young people are right about climate change; it’s time to listen

Europe slammed by Turkey’s shaky Erdoğan; both playing with immigrants’ agony

‘Alarmingly high’ number of children malnourished worldwide: UNICEF report

Eliminating waste at scale – eight opportunities for blockchain

2 trillion drinks containers are made every year – so where do they go?

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Facebook engineer working at the company’s HQ, Menlo Park, CA (Copyright: Facebook Inc., Source: Facebook Inc.’s website, newsroom)

Facebook goes under formal EU privacy scrutiny after latest massive data breach

Here’s a reason to feel cheerful – the world is full of Good Samaritans

EU elections 2019: Trump’s share in the support of populism

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

The European Sting @ European Business Summit 2014 – the preview

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

Working together to end the AIDS-HIV pandemic

Impressions of China

Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast: sustained but less dynamic growth amid high uncertainty

General Assembly officially adopts roadmap for migrants to improve safety, ease suffering

Migrants and refugees face higher risk of developing ill-health, says UN report on displaced people in Europe

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

More urgency needed to help increasing numbers ‘locked out’, before 2030, says UN’s Bachelet

Gaza: deadly violence continues to escalate, top UN officials work to restore calm

Colombia: New Congress marks rebel group’s transition ‘from weapons to politics’, says UN

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

More attacks, ‘persisting security challenges’ threaten progress in West Africa, Sahel

There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land

Glasgow and Edinburgh race to become the UK’s first net-zero emissions city

Environment and health at increasing risk from growing weight of ‘e-waste’

Greek citizens to pay the price again but Tsipras risks losing next elections

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

There is a way for Eurozone to reach a sustainable growth path

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

In DR Congo, UN Security Council says December polls are ‘historic opportunity’ for country

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity: Why consumer products must be looked at urgently”, by BEUC’s Deputy Director General

Rule of Law: The Commission opens a debate to strengthen the rule of law in the EU

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

Nearly two million Cameroonians face humanitarian emergency: UNICEF

Election 2019: New, Updated seat projection for new Parliament

The Middle East needs a technological revolution. Start-ups can lead the way

Preparing the future today: World Health Organisation and young doctors

Is the world living up to its climate commitments?

Inflation keeps falling in Eurozone

MWC 2016 LIVE: Orange targets VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi; strikes Google partnership

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

EU budget: Commission helps prepare new Cohesion programmes with Regional Competitiveness Index and Eurobarometer

IMF: Sorry Greece it was a mistake of 11% of your GDP

Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum

Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi during World News Media Congress 2019

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Industrial Revolution totally matter.You made some good points here. I did a search on the industrial revolution topic and found most people agree with your blog. An impressive share.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I am now happy to report it is not blockchain, bitcoin, or AI. … At Fifth Element Group, we work to help businesses move from a “for-profit” to a … Source link […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s