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People are the fuel that will power the next industrial revolution

Company: McKinsey & Company, Inc. Prague

Amid the Omicron surge, it’s perhaps poignant to note that all the advanced technology in the world means nothing without a population capable of adopting it and creating with it. COVID-19 vaccines are a good example of a technology that depends on people’s acceptance. This week, McKinsey explored how people in various industries and sectors relate to technology and the power of these interactions.

The McKinsey Talks Operations podcast brings together the CEOs of Flex, Protolabs, and Western Digital to discuss why the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be people powered. Digital manufacturing and production will change how the world makes goods but only if there is training and development to teach workers the skills to use these technologies. With the current labor mismatch in many countries, now is the time to further engage workers for a digitally enabled future.

With Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in the hands of a workforce empowered with the skills needed to use them, an organization’s digital-transformation journey can move from aspiration to reality.

A pivot to telemedicine, remote work, and other technologies helped a leader in pediatric medicine manage the onslaught of COVID-19. Boston Children’s Hospital president and CEO Dr. Kevin Churchwell calls for more innovation to cope with a sharp rise in children and young adults with behavioral- and mental-health issues. This generation of kids is being reared under physical distancing, lockdowns, and school closures. Churchwell believes that those presenting with mental-health issues would benefit from a tech-enabled continuum of care that encompasses the family, the primary-care pediatrician, the school system, the hospital, and the state.

Sarah Bond, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for game creator experience and ecosystem at Xbox, describes how recognizing that game playing is a fundamental human trait helped Microsoft create its “ubiquitous global gaming ecosystem.” Investments in cloud gaming, the Game Pass subscription service, and cross-platform play allow gamers to participate anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Tulsa Remote, a program that enabled Tulsa, Oklahoma, to attract 1,300 remote workers to the area, also prioritizes the human need for connection. In addition to giving relocators $10,000, the program provides membership to a local coworking space and assists in finding housing. Events, both virtual and in-person, are intended to mitigate the potential isolation of remote work. The initiative has attracted 50,000 applicants and is making a meaningful impression on the local economy.

In a typical organization, only a specific department and designated functions are accountable for quality in design, development, operations, and even postmarket activities. But in a smart-quality organization, everyone owns quality. Pharmaceutical and medtech companies can create value by redesigning key quality processes along these principles.

Here are other key findings from our research this week:

What makes a CEO great? In a recent edition of Author Talks, McKinsey senior partners Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vik Malhotra discuss their new book, CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest (Scribner, March 2022). The authors interviewed 67 CEOs worldwide who met their criteria for excellence and diversity of both background and approach and identified keys to excellence that can provide lessons for any type of leader.

Also in Author Talks, Tareq Azim, founder of Empower Gym, trainer of NFL greats, and creator of the Afghan Women’s Boxing Federation, talks about his new book, Empower: Conquering the Disease of Fear (Simon & Schuster, January 2022), which was coauthored with Seth Davis. Azim discusses how he created a place for women to practice the most male-dominated activity in the most male-dominated society of all time and how anyone can find inner strength.

This briefing note was edited by Katy McLaughlin, a senior editor in the Southern California office.


Tags: Business Development | Human Resources |

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