Planning a Fourth Industrial Revolution Organization: Critical Practical Considerations

Planning a Fourth Industrial Revolution Organization: Critical Practical Considerations

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5390-8.ch003

Abstract

Chapter 3 presents a detailed discussion of the systems thinking theory that Smith and Pourdehnad claim will facilitate planning a major organizational initiative, such as adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The discussion emphasizes that the global political, economic, and technological environments are in a state of upheaval, resulting in volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (the VUCA world). The “bottom line” is that “nothing is certain,” and Smith and Pourdehnad detail a planning approach that is both practical and beneficial under these circumstances.
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Introduction

The global political, economic, and technological environment is in a state of upheaval, resulting in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (the VUCA world). Global organizations worldwide, of every kind, and in every industry, are now stepping back and questioning their most fundamental assumptions, even as they consider adopting The Fourth Industrial Revolution with its associated technological complexities. As Dennett (2017) has so wisely commented:

Thinking is hard. Thinking about some problems is so hard it can make your head ache just thinking about thinking about them. . . . Whenever we find thinking hard, it is because the story path to truth is competing with seductive, easier paths that turn out to be dead ends. Most of the effort in thinking is a matter of resisting these temptations.

With all this complexity Smith and Poourdehnad wonder:

  • Why are organizations not learning and adopting new planning and implementation processes that are appropriate for dealing with dynamic complexity?

  • Why don’t organizations learn the lessons that the US aviation industry learned, and adopt a “Learning & Adaption” approach for planning and implementation?

The Authors claim that “the Dynamic Complexity” facing many countries, organizations, programs, projects, and policies is very much like that which Captain Crespigny experienced as the Commander when he piloted his Qantas Flight 32, Airbus A380, from Singapore to Sydney on a beautiful, clear November day in 2010 (Duhigg, 2012):

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