Gazing into the future

11th October 2023 |   Mark Mathews

We look into our crystal ball to understand how technology is reshaping business and wider society via Industry 4.0.

Gazing into the future

We recently sat down with Henrik von Scheel, a leading speaker on AI and an expert on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As the originator of the term, he is highly regarded by businesses and governments for his insight into digital trends. Our interview explores his experiences at the forefront of his industry to reveal his roadmap for growth and transformation.

Q: As the originator of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, could you expand on the events that led you to coin the term?

A: “In 2008, I was asked to co-create the strategy for Germany. Have in mind that, in 2008, there was a big recession and Germany is the pumping heart in Europe. So, we gathered all the industry leaders. I worked very closely with the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to actually define what the challenges were.

“We discovered something quite unique. We discovered that normally, in strategy, you have trends; you adapt to them for five to ten years and you have one at a time. That was the first time that five transformations came together, right? So, before 2008, your phone wasn’t connected. Today, you have big data, you have social media, you have the Internet. So, what happened there? We called it the digital agenda and the European Union accepted that. That became the global theme we have to date on digitalization.

“So, this is actually three worlds colliding together: the digital world, the virtual world, and the physical world. But it was a little bit more complex than what we thought, because six months later we were sitting together over a beer, and we realized it’s not just five trends; it’s 79 trends that are colliding and driving a change that we have never seen. So, we called it Industry 4.0.