Why we should be ready for disruptions (and you should too!)

The Economic Partnership recently attended the Foreign Direct Investment conference and one thing was clear – the way we do business is changing. If communities and companies don’t adapt they are going to be left behind. Some of the changes are forced, some are a choice. So, what is predicted to be coming down the pipeline?

Disruptions are Happening

Disruptive innovations are no longer a “what-if,” they are happening across all sectors – distribution, manufacturing, agriculture, and service based industries. (Wondering what disruptive innovation is? I recommend heading over to Google – interesting stuff!). Much of the talk around disruption has centered on automation. Food for thought: Japan is currently #1 in industrial robotics and the United States is #3.

How will innovative disruptions impact our global economy? New jobs will be created with new technology, as a result there will not be enough jobs available for everyone. This could largely be attributed to a skills mismatch. CODING WILL BE A VITAL SKILL! (checkout the NEW Penn State Berks coding certification program). Technical skills will be required to not only build robotics for automated processes, but also the operation and maintenance of the robots.

Most surprising to hear – labor costs will not be as important as they have been in the past – instead proximity to customers/market will increase in importance. Location will minimize transportation costs and offer on-demand service for the consumer.

Disruptive innovation is not limited to industry innovation – it’s happening to populations too. According to Peter Zeihan Author, The Accidental Superpower, demographics are shifting dramatically across the globe. While some countries like Brazil and China are facing dramatic population shifts, the United States is predicted to experience stability through 2030. The implications remain to be seen over the coming years.

Adapt and Evolve

Not only do companies and economies have to adapt and evolve, so does the way we approach our workforce. Now more than ever technical skills are vital. Technical skills will no longer be reserved for advanced manufacturing or IT jobs – these skills will be needed across all sectors.

There are other workforce implications as demographics shift. The younger generations filling the workforce pool are motivated by more than wage rates. What is a younger workforce looking for?

  • Location – where is the company based? Can they LIVE and work there?
  • Desirable work environments – as it relates to the physical space people work in
  • Seeking an employer that aligns with their values
  • Professional and personal development offerings
  • Flexible time in lieu of higher pay

Workforce attraction and recruitment and talent development should include investing in your employees and developing strategies to fill the pipeline at a young age.

This all begs the question - What are we doing to address the coming changes as a community to prepare for the innovative disruptions? Looking forward to continuing the conversation!