Caroline Norbury MBE in Tech & Digital

20/10/2017

Why you need to know about the Fourth Industrial Revolution

This week I was invited to hear Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, speak to the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  His book on the same subject is a world best-seller and offers ideas on how the harnessing of the key technologies of the twenty-first century, that fuse the digital, physical and biological worlds, can shape a better future.  A future that empowers rather than enslaves, or as we hear so often, where technology and automation replace human endeavour, and one in which technology serves the greater good rather than disrupts and destroys. 

The Arts and Humanities Research Council – which funds and supports some of our country’s world leading intellectuals and researchers - has called for expressions of interest in a new programme to harness the power of academia and creative companies working together; the Creative Industries Cluster Programme.

The programme seeks to bring together higher education and creative industry partners to address key regional industrial challenges to create growth and prosperity through commercial impact and is aligned to the key objectives of the government’s Industrial Strategy, as set out in their Green Paper earlier this year. 

Schwab spoke passionately about creating the right frameworks to advance change and I think the collaboration envisaged in the AHRC’s programme meets the same criteria – it’s synthesising mutual objectives to create new IP, products and services by combining the best academic brains with the market knowledge and business agility of small creative companies and ensuring it is particular and specific to local need and sensitive to global opportunity. 

The Creative Industries Clusters programme thus seems very timely, as it’s exactly the sort of vehicle needed to bring together brilliant minds who otherwise may work in isolation of each other. All bids must focus on an established cluster around the country, and see academic institutions working hand-in-hand with creatives, SMEs and organisations such as Creative England to solve an industry challenge. This pattern of collaboration is something we’ll need if we are to ensure this all-encompassing technological revolution is a positive one.

Given the velocity of change, it’s impossible to know exactly what challenges are on the horizon as this revolution unfolds and becomes ever more complex. While this makes it difficult to prepare for, what we can – and must – do is develop shared understanding and collaboration.

To find out more about the Creative Industries Clusters programme, visit the website here.

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