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The Next Production Revolution

Implications for Governments and Business

image of The Next Production Revolution

This publication examines the opportunities and challenges, for business and government, associated with technologies bringing about the “next production revolution”. These include a variety of digital technologies (e.g. the Internet of Things and advanced robotics), industrial biotechnology, 3D printing, new materials and nanotechnology. Some of these technologies are already used in production, while others will be available in the near future. All are developing rapidly. As these technologies transform the production and the distribution of goods and services, they will have far-reaching consequences for productivity, skills, income distribution, well-being and the environment. The more that governments and firms understand how production could develop in the near future, the better placed they will be to address the risks and reap the benefits.

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The role of foresight in shaping the next production revolution

Foresight can be a highly useful tool to address the opportunities and challenges triggered by the next production revolution. As shown by the various country cases considered in this chapter, foresight facilitates debate and systemic thinking about multiple futures and helps to shape the future through processes of participation and engagement. Given its participatory nature, key actors are mobilised to form shared views about the future, negotiate their future stakes and interests, and agree on actions aligned with their shared vision. The next production revolution requires quick and proactive policy making, as well as better orchestration across different policy domains. Foresight can assist policy makers by providing foundations for robust policies, reframing policy issues, and translating long-term concerns into aligned policy priorities. Furthermore, policy implementation is likely to be faster and more effective when key stakeholders are involved early on in shaping the policies. Foresight benefits, however, are far from being automatic: the chapter considers eight factors critical to achieving the benefits. Ultimately, beyond just foresight recommendations, policy makers must be prepared to act.

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