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Thriving in the fourth industrial revolution

It’s been said that the only constant is change, and with the Internet morphing from a means of communication to the basis of the way we work and play, the pace of change is head-spinning. In fact the evolution driven by Internet connectivity has become so great that The World Economic Forum has referred to it as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This new revolution could make New Zealand a land of opportunity. Already New Zealanders have embraced our newfound connectivity and built successful careers around it. Our now half-completed ultra-fast fibre broadband network, of which Chorus is building the lion’s share, has meant that New Zealand has climbed to the rank of 13th in the world for information and communications technology. That’s one place ahead of our neighbours across the ditch. So, if anyone can take advantage of this metaphoric shift in how things get done, it’s Kiwis who can combine our number-8 fencing wire attitude with world-class connectivity to really make things happen.

American trend-spotting firm Sparks and Honey, has predicted eight, currently unheard of “next generation” jobs, that will exist in 2025. With all of them relying on the Internet to operate, critical thinking, complex problem solving, creativity and people skills are being lauded as the skills we’ll need to thrive in our fast evolving new world.

Established jobs aren’t immune to the revolution either as we find ourselves doing old things in new ways. Who would have thought that Amazon’s announcement last year declaring it will open a supermarket without checkouts would mean the supermarket workers of the future will be less about customer service and more about inventory and computer programming. Accountants are called on for advice rather than filing a tax or GST return due to Cloud-based software such as Xero and MYOB, and everyone from doctors to engineers are training and working through Internet-enabled systems. And with the arrival of companies such as Airbnb and Uber, nearly anyone can become a hotelier or a taxi driver.

According to KPMG there are six building blocks we need to think about at work to ensure we are in a position to benefit from the fourth industrial age. They focus on encouraging meaningful decision-making and activity aligned to purpose and strategy and delivering great service – internally and externally.

Connected technology is changing how we do nearly everything. Day-to-day tasks from how we order our groceries to how we visit the doctor are changing, and every one of us will see massive evolution in the way we work, live and play. It’s exciting, and New Zealand is perfectly placed to really make the most of it with the rollout of ultra-fast broadband.