Best Practices for Sustainable Growth in
the Fourth Industrial Revolution Age
By Dr. Soha Maad
The digital transformation in the era of the fourth industrial revolution has created an urgent need for re-engineering business models, introducing new policies, upskilling in advanced technology areas, and tackling rising cyber security challenges. This entails opportunities and challenges and imposes on institutions and nations to put new plans to address the challenges and profit from offered opportunities.
The implementation of a 4.0 system imposes radical change in companies business models and practices. This entails the need for big investments to stay ahead of the game and lead the fourth industrial revolution.
Companies must Innovate in order to benefit from the opportunities offered by the smart revolution and must have the prerequisites needed to withstand changes generated by «smart» systems.
Workers who face the world of work 4.0 must have new skills in automation, digitization and information technology, without forgetting soft skills.
Not all institutions and nations will be ready on time to embrace the digital transformation challenge brought by the fourth industrial revolution. Some institutions will be lagging in embracing the needed change, others will be following, and the winners are the leaders of the fourth industrial revolution who are capable to embrace change and adapt to it. Hence the need to put benchmarks for readiness and consider case studies at national and institutional levels to assess the benchmark criteria and identify best practices among nations and institutions in addressing the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution towards sustainable growth.
The Union of Arab Banks was leader in motivating the theme of “identifying best practices for sustainable growth in the fourth industrial revolution age and the need to establish benchmarks at macro and micro levels to identify best practices” at the World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum 2019 held in conjunction with the 18th session of the Conference of Arab Businessmen & Investors in the Capital Manama on 11-13 November 2019 in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
There is evidence of an urgent need to identify best practices in addressing the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution and to develop a model practice to learn from, draw policies, and shape practices. Benchmarking criteria is key to reliable best practice selection and identification. Scope and nationwide coverage is also fundamental in identifying a best practice.
Under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa, the Union of Arab Chambers, in collaboration with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, The Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation and the UNIDO International Center for Entrepreneurship and Investment in Bahrain, the Arab Businessmen and Investors Conference (ABIC) and the 3rd edition of the World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum 2019 (WEIF 2019) were held in the Capital Manama on 11-13 November 2019 in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the slogan «Investing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Digital Economy».
This event was an Arab economic and investment gathering encouraging investment in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the digital revolution in the Arab world and enhancing the cooperation between the Arab countries in this field. It was a key platform that brought together all the Arab parties concerned with investment of senior officials, investment and promotion bodies, entrepreneurs and Arab companies involved in various sectors of digital investment.
In this event, the Union of Arab Banks contributed two forum panels and had an exhibition stand in the innovation smart zone of the event where latest UAB -IGROW EEIG publications about the fourth industrial revolution were on display.
The first contributed panel entitled “From Industry 4.0 to Finance 4.0” was moderated by the secretary general of the Union of Arab Banks, Mr Wissam Fattouh, and gathered prominent speakers from lead world institutions and countries including: HE Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa (AAIOFI), Honorary Chairman Board of Trustees UNIDO/ AICEI, Bahrain; Mr. Mohamed EL KETTANI, Chairman & CEO of Attijariwafa Bank; Mr. Osama Al Khaja, Senior Investment Advisor, Kuwait Finance House; Mr. Baybars Altuntas, President, World Business Angels Investment Forum, Mr. Khalid Saad, CEO of Bahrain Fintech; and Mr. Nawaf Al Kooheji, CEO Tenmou.
The second contributed panel entitled “Best Practices towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure” was moderated by Mr. Mohamed Elsayed ABDELMOMEN, UNIDO Country Representative, Sudan and gathered prominent speakers from lead world institutions and countries including: HE Mr. Paolo Carnevale, Executive Director, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei; Mr. Ismail Abdulla, Chief Executive Officer, Strata Manufacturing; Ms. Reem Badran. Former member of the Jordanian Parliament; Mr. Hassan Mostafa, Chairman CSR Forum; Dr Soha Maad, International consultant, Union of Arab Banks; and Mr. SOUMITRA BISWAS, Adviser – Technology & Innovation, Confederation of Indian.
The exhibition stand in the innovation smart zone was specifically designed to display UAB publications about the fourth industrial revolution.
FEATURED BEST PRACTICES PANEL TALK AT WBIF 2019
The talk of the author Dr Soha Maad, presented during the panel session “Best Practices towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure” moderated by Mr. Mohamed Elsayed, addressed the topic of best practices for sustainable growth in the fourth industrial revolution age. The talk covered the following key points and stressed that best practices are yet not identified as different countries’ practices haven’t been studied to benchmark:
Best practices is not yet researched and there is a considerable effort ahead and work to be done to identify best practices for sustainable growth in the fourth industrial revolution age and we have to work on it
In the latest book publication by the Union of Arab Banks “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Definition, Challenges, and Opportunities”, the author Dr Soha Maad, considered several case studies from various countries including China, United Arab Emirates, Germany, and the European Union. But it is hard to say that a best practice has yet been identified.
There are four major steps to identify best practices:
Consider case studies
Establish comparative analysis based on benchmarks
Identify best practice
Given the large scale of the work ahead to identify best practices, nations and institutions have to join hand and collaborate to consider case studies, gather needed data, raise awareness, and produce related publications.
Given the wide dimension of the impact of the fourth industrial revolution at micro and macro level, the work ahead is huge and necessitate national and international collaboration.
Another important issue to consider is how to visualise a best practice and convey a model best practice to follow. Emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality and machine vision may be useful, and this is a new era for start-ups to dig on.
WHAT IS A BEST PRACTICE
A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements.
Best practices are used to maintain quality as an alternative to mandatory legislated standards and can be based on self-assessment or benchmarking.
WHAT IS BENCHMARKING
Benchmarking is the practice of comparing business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and best practices from other companies. Dimensions typically measured are quality, time and cost.
Benchmarking is used to measure performance using a specific indicator resulting in a metric of performance that is then compared to others.
Best practice benchmarking is used in management in which organizations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best-practice companies’ processes, usually within a peer group defined for the purposes of comparison. This then allows organizations to develop plans on how to make improvements or adapt specific best practices, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance. Benchmarking may be a one-off event, but is often treated as a continuous process in which organizations continually seek to improve their practices.
BENCHMARKING BEST PRACTICES IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AGE: TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
The evolution of technology and the digitization of the world have created a new industrial revolution referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. This revolution designates a digital information age heavily shaped by a bundle of technologies ranging from Artificial Intelligence, to Machine Vision, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Big Data, Cloud Computing and all other forms of technologies that are derived or are an application of these technologies. It is a revolution that involves many different sectors and is still evolving. In an industry 4.0 Environment, the physical world is merging with the virtual world.
Best practices in the fourth industrial revolution age are to be considered at:
Micro level – institutional level
Macro level – national / country level
At a macro level, the identification of a best practice can be based on studying the existing ecosystem and supporting infrastructure to address the challenge of the fourth industrial revolution. This involves:
The identification of the elements of the ecosystem (people, institutions, and resources). The role of banks and regulatory authorities is important in driving the ecosystem.
The assessment of the readiness of the ecosystem to embrace the needed change of the digital transformation brought by the fourth industrial revolution.
Benchmarking assessed readiness according to various criteria.
Comparing benchmarks of different countries and sorting the results.
Selecting best practice based on the comparative analysis.
Developing a best practice model.
Visualising the results to raise awareness and convey roadmap to follow to embrace the needed change in the fourth industrial revolution age.
This article is the first issue of a series of articles covering best practices in various Arab countries for sustainable growth in the industrial revolution age. This first article covered the panel talk of the author Dr Soha Maad, presented at the WBIF 2019 in Bahrain. Each subsequent article considers best practices case study from an Arab country. Countries to be considered on yearly basis include Bahrain, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, and Sudan. The last two articles of the year will establish benchmarks for ranking best practices in considered countries and then select the model best country. Recommendation and roadmap will be drawn to adopt the winner country best practice model.
For further references about the topic of the fourth industrial revolution you are invited to read the newly published book by the Union of Arab Banks: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Definition, Challenges, and Opportunities – ISBN: 978-1-912227-03-7 by Dr Soha Maad. The book takes you through an enjoyable journey to understand the underlying concepts, frameworks, technologies, drivers, and enablers of the fourth industrial revolution.ا