Very often we are asked questions on our brand name “Graphene”. What does it mean? Why does it articulate our aspiration and unambiguous choice of working with talented individuals, or the teams and organisations they are part of? Why does it capture so well our mission to have all of them, individuals, teams ànd organisations, experiencing how they can effectively shape their own future?

To explain this we will first take you to the world of physics and the discovery of graphene, the material, back in 2004. Then we will fast forward to the era of 4th Industrial Revolution and the challenges it brings to society. But equally so, we will underline the opportunities for talented individuals, working together in high performing teams to create value and have impact for society in the future. We hope that by then, we will have made clear why “Graphene”, the approach, will be an essential structural element to help accomplish the ambitious goals of talented people and teams to have impact and create value in the fast changing world of today and tomorrow.

 

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GRAPHENE, the material (fig.1)

Graphene, the material, is a semi-metal and a form of carbon consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It is the basic structural element of many other forms of carbon, such as graphite, diamond, charcoal, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. Scientists theorized about the existence of graphene for years but the material was only isolated and characterized in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester. This work resulted in the two winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 “for ground breaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.” Graphene has many intriguing properties. It is the strongest material ever tested, efficiently conducts heat and electricity, and is nearly transparent, … and has the potential to reshape the world.

Also read : What is Graphene and how will it reshape the world?

GRAPHENE, the approach (fig.1)

It is graphene’s hexagonal lattice structure that reminded us of a network of talented people working together beyond borders to create value for society.

It are graphene’s intriguing physicochemical properties that reminded us of the essential values and working principles of contemporary individuals and high performing teams working together with the collective desire to have impact.

It is graphene’s unique potential to reshape the world (see above), that inspired us to believe that individuals, aware of their unique professional talent, working together in high performing teams ànd connected by shared values, will shape our collective future in a fast changing world (see below).

The 4th Industrial Revolution : What it means and how to respond to it?

Today, we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.

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 the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact. The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.

The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science (eg. graphene), energy storage, and quantum computing. Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.

At the same time, economists have pointed out that the revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labour markets. As automation substitutes for labour across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labour. On the other hand, it is also possible that the displacement of workers by technology will, in aggregate, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding jobs. It cannot be foreseen at this point which scenario is likely to emerge, and history suggests that the outcome is likely to be some combination of the two. However, I am convinced of one thing—that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production.

The impact on business

An underlying theme in many conversations with senior business executives is that the acceleration of innovation and the velocity of disruption are hard to comprehend or anticipate and that these drivers constitute a source of constant surprise, even for the best connected and most well informed. Indeed, across all industries, there is clear evidence that the technologies that underpin the Fourth Industrial Revolution are having a major impact on businesses.

On the whole, there are four main effects that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has on business—on customer expectations, on product enhancement, on collaborative innovation, and on organizational forms. Whether consumers or businesses, customers are increasingly at the epicentre of the economy, which is all about improving how customers are served. Physical products and services, moreover, can now be enhanced with digital capabilities that increase their value. New technologies make assets more durable and resilient, while data and analytics are transforming how they are maintained. A world of customer experiences, data-based services, and asset performance through analytics, meanwhile, requires new forms of collaboration, particularly given the speed at which innovation and disruption are taking place. And the emergence of global platforms and other new business models, finally, means that talent, culture, and organizational forms will have to be rethought.

In summary, the inexorable shift from simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution) to innovation based on combinations of technologies (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is forcing companies to re-examine the way they do business. The bottom line, however, is the same: business leaders and senior executives need to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and relentlessly and continuously innovate.

Shaping the future

Neither technology nor the disruption that comes with it is an exogenous force over which humans have no control. All of us are responsible for guiding its evolution, in the decisions we make on a daily basis as citizens, consumers, and investors. We should thus grasp the opportunity and power we have to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution and direct it toward a future that reflects our common objectives and values.

To do this, however, we must develop a comprehensive and shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. There has never been a time of greater promise, or one of greater potential peril. Today’s decision-makers, however, are too often trapped in traditional, linear thinking, or too absorbed by the multiple crises demanding their attention, to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.

In the end, it all comes down to people and values. We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them. In its most pessimistic, dehumanized form, the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed have the potential to “robotize” humanity and thus to deprive us of our heart and soul. But as a complement to the best parts of human nature—creativity, empathy, stewardship—it can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny. It is incumbent on us all to make sure the latter prevails.

At Graphene.Works we have discovered and developed our own talent through previous national and international job experiences in start-up, scale-up ànd corporate environments. We have developed our talent as individual contributors, as team leaders, or as members of high performing and less performing teams. However, we felt inspired by the opportunities of doing things differently in today’s fast changing world and to collaborate with likeminded people from different background and origin. We therefore left our previous jobs to pursue our passion of working with individuals and teams seeking to discover or enhance their (complementary) talents . Through putting our talent and experience at work, we hope all of them to experience they can effectively shape their future, create value ànd have the impact they are looking for in today’s rapidly changing world.

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