Preparing for the 4th Industrial Revolution


How do you stay relevant in the workplace during this rapidly transforming time of change?

Dr Linda Meyer, Dean: Institutional Advancement at Boston City Campus & Business College unpacks concepts around the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and discusses strategies to maintain relevance during this tumultuous time.

1. What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution about?

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. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since late into the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about digitisation becoming an integral part of our lives. This includes aspects such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing, smart robotics, and the likes of driverless cars and the internet of things transforming futuristic concepts into current day realities.

2. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is going to prioritize new skills. Could you tell us more?:

According to the World Economic Forum, the top 5 skills will be
1. Complex problem solving
2. Critical thinking
3. Creativity
4. People Management (see leadership below)
5. Coordinating with others

These are skills that can be learned, but are not usually part of a degree or diploma in which learners will concentrate on work skills and academic content.

1. Complex problem solving
One of the key ways of problem solving is to create a culture of continuous learning, opening the way to new paradigms and new information which can be used strategically.

2. Critical Thinking
Machines are getting better at aspects of critical thinking, but humans are still able to connect, interpret and imagine concepts in a world full of ambiguity and nuance. A lawyer can pinpoint the most successful way to win a case for a client, a marketer can understand the different messages that are needed to reach different markets.

3. Creativity
Creativity requires a degree of intuitive randomness that cannot yet be imitated by AI. Creativity allows you to think out of the box, to create new business ideas, concepts and services, to approach customers. AI is clinical in its problem solving, relying on data and formulae. Creativity is central to today’s thriving economies. Through the Work Integrated Learnership at Boston, we expose our students to different work situations, ensuring that they are work ready beyond academic content.

What are some ways to update your skills to remain relevant in this new work environment?

It is vitally important to equip yourself with soft skills, IT skills, flexibility, and the willingness to get involved outside of the scope of your job. Learn new ICT programmes such as Powerpoint or any new skills.

  • Develop your soft skills.
  • Do team building exercises whenever they are offered.
  • Do team leader workshops and qualifications.
  • Learn to mentor and coach new employees or school leavers.
  • Develop your soft skills.

Ie: if you know understand and ‘feel ‘ the organisation, they will see you as an asset.
If you already have a qualification such aa s BCom, BA, Management, IT etc, then explore a post graduate qualification which accommodates a broad spectrum of fields . Boston offers the Postgraduate Diploma in Management PG.Dip. (Management).

Management and industries are at a pivotal crossroads with the digitisation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) changing the way we do business. The Diploma has been carefully constructed to develop your critical and creative thinking – two critical competencies for effectively steering and managing business in the Fourth IR.

3. How can people future proof their jobs in the workplace?

Artificial intelligence is replacing jobs – you need to future proof your career. Equip yourself with a crucial leadership skillset to enable you to capitalise on business opportunities that will allow your company and employees to thrive in our rapidly changing world.

Call Boston, or schedule an appointment with a career advisor: 011 551 9000, email [email protected] or visit