The third Revolution is not industrial

The Revolution that happened in the 18th century is commonly named Industrial Revolution.
Newcomen machine
But Industry is just the result of a deeper Revolution, the Third Revolution: the Revolution of Broadcasting.
Broadcasting is sending out ideas to the world, in numerous and cheap copies. The first technique was mobile-font printing.
Broadcasting leads to literacy. Literacy leads to many more inventors, explorers and scientists.
The inventors of the Industrial Revolution were not from the rich aristocratic class. James Watt was just an instrument maker.
Because they could benefit from the ideas of Broadcasting, they took initiative and created the tools that revolutionized the world.

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Manufacturing will become subsidized

In the world beyond the Fourth Revolution, Manufacturing will become subsidized, as Agriculture is subsidized today.

manufacturing assembly line

This is because Manufacturing will still be needed, but it’s relative value will be very small compared to the value created by long distance collaboration.

Workers of the Manufacturing industry will probably still represent a strong social force, like farmers today.

But the value they will create will diminish relative to the new value creation. For manufacturing workers to maintain a minimum standard of living, manufacturing will have to be subsidized.

Deindustrialization as an effect of globalization? It is rather an effect of the Fourth Revolution.

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The second Revolution: Writing

The Second Revolution was related to the invention of Writing.

Babylonian clay tablet
Writing is a technology that allows to transmit knowledge over long distances and long times.

Very soon Agriculture and raising of cattle would change the face of the world. Population settled and grew.

Scholars developed knowledge, and transmitted it down the generations and across continents.

We are still reading from the writing of the Ancients.

It changed our world.

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A new leadership style needed: ‘mutual learning’

mutual learning leadership
The Fourth Revolution will bring in a new type of leadership. Beyond the previous types of leadership:

  • command and control leadership,
  • rational leadership,
  • tranformational leadership,

the new leadership style will be ‘mutual learning’. In this style, the leader is not supposed to be the reference for the Vision, or giving the direction. The team is mutually accountable and defines together their Vision.

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A revolution means a new Elite

A Revolution means a new Elite will emerge. The old Elite will disappear or be confined to representation tasks (see for example, the royalty !).

The Elite of the Industrial Age is the merchant, the capitalist owning machines.

The new Elite will be the nomadic K.E.E.N. The Knowledge Exchanging Expanding Networker.

Are you ready to be part of the new Elite that will move the world?

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Unprecedented long distance collaboration

Long distance collaboration is new.

social network

It is new because the technology that makes it cheap and available everywhere is new

30 years ago it cost a fortune to make a long distance call.

Today it costs nothing. I can stay on Skype with the video on for hours in a row with my family 10,000 kilometers away

That’s a true Revolution. We can’t even imagine the consequences

Do you still think about the bill when you call long distance ?

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Specialization and trade

From Age to Age, from Revolution to Revolution, specialization has increased.

Hunter-gatherers were mainly specialized between men (hunters) and women (gatherers and children-raisers)

In the Agricultural Age, priests, soldiers and specialist artisans were the specialists that did not produce their food.

In the Industrial Age, a multitude of specialist trades developed that did not produce their food and only contributed a small part of the production process.

Specialization cannot develop without trade. Specialists spend their time on their specialty and cannot get what they need to live without trade. Specialists need trade to develop to exchange their production and get what they don’t produce.

Beyond the Fourth Revolution, specialization will further increase. Even maybe to the point where each individual will be recognized as an individual specialist in it’s own self. In any case trade will also necessarily further increase.

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Hunter-gatherer Age – the beginning of specialization

The Hunter-Gatherer Age, which follows the First Revolution of Speech, is the beginning of specialization.

During that Age, specialization is mainly related to sex. Men go hunting, women do gathering close to the shelter. But among the men and also among the women, specialization must also have started to appear, based on the skills and capabilities.

Specialization will increase through all the successive Revolutions and Ages.

What will the Fourth Revolution add in terms of specialization? What if, each of us becomes a specialist in it’s own right? 6 billion special people?

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The First Revolution

The First Revolution occurred around 100,000 years ago when humans invented speech.

This gave the Homo Sapiens a decisive advantage. Speech is the basis of conscious thought. It is also the basis of creativity because word associations are the first creativity mechanism. Putting together words that don’t fit logically is the start of creativity and poetry.

What about the famous sentence by the French poet Paul Eluard

“the Earth is Blue like an Orange?”

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Where this idea of Fourth Revolution comes from

An engineer by initial training, I have worked as senior executive in the French civil service, and have been involved as senior adviser to the French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development. I have lived and worked in various countries, hence an international outlook: France, USA, Chile, Germany, and now Malaysia.

I am keen on all innovative technologies in particular in the field of organizations leadership and management. I am a certified coach, as well as an experienced facilitator and trainer. I train high potentials in particular in interpersonal and personal soft skills.

Intrigued by some changes of today’s world, I have done some research and this has convinced me that the current times are not just normal changes, just a bit quicker than before.

It is a true step change, a real change in Civilization. This is why I believe the Fourth Revolution is a viewpoint useful to take, and to discuss.

Revolutions are periods of anxiety and uncertainty. But for those that are able to take them, they are also great times of opportunity. Let’s shape the world as we wish it to be. Let’s ourselves thrive through the Fourth Revolution.

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What the Fourth Revolution is about

The Fourth Revolution is a concern for all.

The concept is simple: we are living through one of the few Revolutions of Humankind cognitive capabilities. The previous ones were:

  • Speech, around 100,000 years ago, which led into the nomadic hunter-gatherer Age
  • Writing, around 10,000 years ago, which led into the Agricultural Age
  • Broadcasting, around 1500 AD (with the invention of mobile font printing), which led into the Industrial Age.

Today, progress of technology gives us capabilities which we never before had available: long distance communication that allows long distance collaboration.

This will be a new Revolution, the Fourth Revolution.

It has already ignited.

Are we ready for it? Can we understand better that world-shaking event?

Can we possibly behave in ways that will make us thrive through and beyond the Fourth Revolution?

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