The term “Industrie 4.0” originates from the high-tech strategy of the German government, which promotes the digitization of manufacturing. The term after the introduction in 2011 rapidly became generally acknowledged and used all over the world. Industrie 4.0 has been followed by SME 4.0 and Teaching 4.0 in Germany, and the terms has gained ground and flourished from a more general active entrepreneurial spirit. A favourable mood that call for an active (and successful) integration of new citizens, a research and development sector that grows dramatically and an educational approach that take advantage of digital applications and the web effectively. Furthermore, Berlin now is regarded as Europe’s Silicon Valley.
Research and Development
More than 600 000 people today are working in the research and development sector in Germany. This is an increase during 2005 to 2014 by almost a third with new jobs within the sector where the funding comes from government, industry and science. In order to keep up the good spirit the government has a special focus on application fields such as artificial intelligence and human-machine interactions. Another focus is to boost the slowing innovation in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), where the new SME 4.0 Competence Centres that we have written about earlier on eLearningworld is one initiative for progress.
Getting people involved
However, nothing is possible without engaged people and here is probably the most crucial key to the German success story. With initiatives like translating Industry 4.0 into the language of the middle class, open fast tracks to the labour market and the society for new citizens and offer big company benefits for smaller businesses are some of the reasons of the higher level of engagement in comparison to most other countries. One indicator of the outcome is that the export of research-intensive goods from Germany was able to increase and is again in second place in the world ahead of the US and behind China. As Peter Drucker wrote: “What we need is an entrepreneurial society in which innovation and entrepreneurship are normal, steady and continual.” Such entrepreneurial spirit on all levels is very present in Germany. A spirit that is desperately required especially in times of profound transformations like the one we live in.