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Are We Getting Ready for the New Industrial Revolution? Part II

20 July 2014

Gianfelice Rocca

 

I am building on what I was commenting in my previous post on the topic of re-industrialization.

 

In the New Industrial Revolution, the role of the education system will therefore remain central, as I had already mentioned in my post on the School of the Future, and as Gianfelice Rocca, Chairman of the Techint Group, is insistently underlining.

 

Besides the pleasure of listening to him during a recent meeting organized by Ambrosetti in Milan, I found particularly interesting the ideas Rocca has articulated in his recent book titled in Italian ”turning the engines on again”: he is highlighting, with supporting data, the difference between the so-called revolutionary innovation and the incremental one. The latter is the true foundation for a balanced industrial and social development, among other things because it does not require those rare extraordinary talents which are necessary for the revolutionary innovation, though important as well.

 

Particularly, Rocca emphasizes the importance of medium-tech compared to the far more celebrated high-tech. For medium-tech he means "the set of industries defined as medium-low and medium-high tech, such as the production of derivatives of the plastic, boating, mechanics, chemistry, diagnostics and production of medical instruments, and the automotive industry itself. "All areas of great importance to the domestic Industrial Sector of most of the Developed Countries.

 

The incremental innovation requires strong “transversal" skills, very typical of the Italian tradition and excellence.

 

The conditions so that we can reverse the trend are manifold: first of all, the restoration of an educational system that may marry the capabilities required by such a model, instead of chasing fashionable trends.

 

Among other things, this is the model that is supporting the German industries’ expansion, which relies on a robust education system, which emphasizes precisely the formation of those capabilities, at both the high school and the university system levels.

 

The medium-tech is a great example of what I tried to convey in my previous post: every Country should in fact value and enhance its specific industrial vocation and embrace the technological change that is accelerating its inevitable transformation, rather than opposing it with unhistorical battles.

 

Continued ...

 

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