We announced last week that we were joining the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators forum. This is a tremendous honor and a tremendous opportunity. The group is “invitation only” and there are less than 50 members. The Global Innovators community includes organizations that are focused on addressing some of the most pressing global issues such as defining the future of manufacturing, ensuring better overall financial inclusion, achieving excellence in governance and improving access to better health outcomes. We are among a handful of Global Innovators working to help define what the future of manufacturing could look like and leading innovation and change in this field. I have been lucky enough to join into a wide range of conversations with some of the most thoughtful leaders from large manufacturing companies, highly regarded consulting companies like McKinsey & Company. and Bain & Co., and noted academics.
The Forum In the Vanguard of Driving Advances in Manufacturing
While most people know the World Economic Forum for its famous Davos conference, this organization is also one of the leading communities driving change and progress in global manufacturing technology. The Forum’s founder, Professor Klaus Schwab, is the father of the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The broader goal of the Forum is “…to bring together the most relevant leaders from all sectors of global society, and identify the best ways to address the world’s most significant challenges.”
- Improving manufacturing sustainability
- Making manufacturing more resilient (in particular in response to COVID-19)
- Helping manufacturing companies adopt technology to transform their workforces
Like Sight Machine, the Forum sees manufacturing as a crucial lever for improving the world. Sight Machine is engaging with WEF’s Advanced Manufacturing and Production Platform across various working groups including:
- New Business Models by Advanced Manufacturing
- Carbon Reduction in Manufacturing
- Unlocking Value in Manufacturing through Data Sharing and Open Data
Sharing Our Knowledge of Scaling With the Global Lighthouse Network
Last but not least, Sight Machine will also share our learnings from working with customers across all manufacturing industries with the Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network. This is a network of 44 manufacturing companies that have embraced change and digital transformation. Where Sight Machine hopes to add real value to the Network is through our insights into scaling advanced manufacturing technologies to dozens of plants in an enterprise. This experience and capability remains rare even a decade into the era of the Industrial Internet of Things. We have learned a lot scaling Sight Machine and we want to share that knowledge with the rest of the manufacturing universe.
As the Forum explains, “This community of manufacturers shows leadership in using Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to transform factories, value chains and business models, for compelling financial and operational returns.” Participants include global leaders in their fields like Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Cummins. We will be working in the Global Lighthouse Network alongside Microsoft (Sight Machine is a Microsoft Global ISV and we use Microsoft’s Azure and Power platforms for many Sight Machine installations).
Partnering with Microsoft and Other Global Technology Leaders
In the future, Microsoft and Sight Machine hope to help the World Economic Forum identify new plants and manufacturing companies to add to this network. All three of our organizations share the same goal – of accelerating adoption and moving more technology projects out of “pilot purgatory” and into broad adoption that benefits these companies and their customers and communities. Stay tuned for more as we deepen our engagement and learn more from our interactions with this amazing group of industry leaders.