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Editorial Articles


Volume-1, 7-13 April, 2018

 

 

Fourth Industrial Revolution and Engineering Entrepreneurship

Dr. Seema Singh

Today, we are at the verge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Fordist-type of mass-producing manufacturing of the late 19th and 20th centuries is increasingly becoming obsolete. The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. The fourth one is building on the digital technologies of the Third Industrial Revolution, it is powered by a wide range of new breakthroughs not only in the digital realm (such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, advanced robotics and new forms of automation) but also in the physical realm (new materials), as well as the biological realm (bio-engineering). It includes artificial intelligence, ubiquitous mobile internet, sensors and the internet of things, block chain and distributed ledgers, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, such as cars and drones, new materials, such as graphene, genetic advances, bio-engineering, nanotechnologies, personalized and precision medicine, new energy sources and storage technologies, and quantum computing (World Economic Forum. 2017; pp.07).

Every industrial revolution creates fears over job losses. Schumpeter has called it as "creative destruction" which refers to innovation mechanism by which new production units replace outdated ones. In the past, new technologies generally, have led to more jobs being created through the growth of new industries. So, there was frictional unemployment for brief period. But under the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the outlook is less positive. To attract and provide individualised product and services to the customers, companies will use artificial intelligence and robotics. The machines will perform better and faster than the man. While this may reduce costs and raise productivity, it wi!! threaten not only low-skilled, repetitive jobs (such as assembly line workers), but also services jobs as of business process outsourcing. However, innovation and entrepreneurship in technology intensive area will be high in demand.

India is a young country. As per the Census 2011, thirty percent of the Indian' population is below the age of 14 year and at by luck, engineering education has also experienced an exponential growth in last twenty-twenty five years. However, rising unemployment among engineers is a clear indication that the students need to enlarge their knowledge and prepare themselves for engineering entrepreneurship. Schumpeter has called entrepreneur as having the ability to appreciate the possibility of" an innovation; whether or not he is also the inventor (Schumpeter, 1942). Beside the subjects of science and engineering, they need to strengthen following  skills also:

1. Always try to find the Gap

Finding 'gap' in the system or process is the first step of innovation/ entrepreneurship. Look around you. Try to locate the 'gap' which is missing and satisfaction/ productivity will enhance after bridging the gap. The challenge before you is to find the gap in your area of expertise.

2. Increase your knowledge horizon

Try to gather as much knowledge/ information as you can in the area where you wish to venture. Go in- detail and in-depth. Go to the near-by-library, Google and internet. Meet various stake holders and try to get their point of view.

3. Collaborate rather than compete

Try to establish forward and backward linkage with your proposed work. 'Collaborate rather than compete' is the new mantra of success in the present day environment. Find out your partners.

4. Prepare the proposal well

Planning and managing finance well is one of the prerequisite to be successful. According to an estimation, half of the start-ups cannot achieve the break-even point due to wrong/ detective planning. Prepare or proposal well. Take the help of expert in the process of planning.

5. Use technology for enhancing productivity and efficiency

Your advantage is your engineering knowledge. Do not shy of using technology even if it looks costly in the beginning. The enhanced productivity will pay off soon.

6. Keep eye on short run as well as long run goal

As any time, thing can go hay-way, so, strict monitoring is very important to sustain for long.

The environment is very suitable for engineering entrepreneurs. The Government, venture capitalist, banks are ready to finance sustainabie business proposals and engineering graduates should take the advantage.

Reference:

1 Schumpeter, J. (1942), "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. New York; Harper & Bros. https://economtcs.mit.edu/ files/1785 retrieved on 10/1/2018.

2. World  Economic  Forum  (2017).  "ASEAN  4.0:   What does  the  Fourth  Industrial Revolution     mean     for     Regional     Economic     Integration'1     ADB     white     Paper https://www.adb.org/sites/dcfault/ files/ publication/379401 /asean-f'ourth-industrial- revolution-rci.pdf retrieved on 08/01/2018.

Dr. Seema Singh, Faculty of Economics, Delhi Technological University, Delhi-110 042. E mail: seemasinghdtu@gmail.com