"We call it single bottom-line sustainability, where I look at the single bottom line of all those elements, and I start attaching sustainability to it," Glickman says. "And I start looking at changes of value and then I can build a business case for change." As companies set sustainability goals--to be carbon neutral by 2050, for example--they're tackling complex challenges: regulations change, supply chains are complicated, especially during the current pandemic, and integrating new technologies into legacy systems is almost always a hurdle, technologically and culturally. Glickman suggests an incremental approach--he calls it micro change, embracing the fact that sustainability isn't a one-and-done paradigm shift. "These are things that can be done in a six-week period, eight-week period, that have tangible proof of concepts that can be measured, that can be done at different levels." Looking at current infrastructure investments, particularly in North America and Europe, as well as the increasing interest of stakeholders, the sustainability bar is expected to rise. "For the next three years you will see a lot of investment. You will see countries or businesses that want to be leading because they see an advantage," says Glickman. "Then you will see others have to move along in that direction also." This episode of Business Lab is produced in partnership with Infosys. Laurel: From MIT Technology Review, I'm Laurel Ruma, and this is Business Lab. The show that helps business leaders make sense of new technologies coming out of the lab and into the marketplace. Our topic today is sustainability, but on a global scale, from factories to supply chains to sustainable development goals for all the countries in the world. It's possible to design for sustainability, get a return on investment, and help fight climate change. My guest is Corey Glickman, who is the vice president and head of the sustainability and design business at Infosys. Corey is an expert in strategic design, digital transformation, customer experience strategy, and the use of visualization applied to the development of innovative products, processes, and services.
In a recent survey, "2021 Thriving in an AI World," KPMG found that across every industry--manufacturing to technology to retail--the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing year over year. Part of the reason is digital transformation is moving faster, which helps companies start to move exponentially faster. But, as Cliff Justice, US leader for enterprise innovation at KPMG posits, "Covid-19 has accelerated the pace of digital in many ways, across many types of technologies." Justice continues, "This is where we are starting to experience such a rapid pace of exponential change that it's very difficult for most people to understand the progress." But understand it they must because "artificial intelligence is evolving at a very rapid pace." Justice challenges us to think about AI in a different way, "more like a relationship with technology, as opposed to a tool that we program," because he says, "AI is something that evolves and learns and develops the more it gets exposed to humans." If your business is a laggard in AI adoption, Justice has some cautious encouragement, "[the] AI-centric world is going to accelerate everything digital has to offer." Business Lab is hosted by Laurel Ruma, editorial director of Insights, the custom publishing division of MIT Technology Review.
Autodesk University is a massive annual conference aimed at "those who design, build, make and create." It's where industrial designers rub shoulders with architects and makers, engineers and construction foremen, scientists and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Part of the reason to attend is the excellent classes, which we'll get into later. Beyond practical skill-building, another good reason to go is for the packed-house keynote speeches, where Autodesk's future-gazing wonks lay out the technology trends that will directly impact our design work. These are not your typical BS "Wouldn't it be cool if…" scenarios; since Autodesk is a software company that actually makes the tools that many of us will actually use, if they say something's coming down the pike, you can lay bets. The company stays on the cutting edge by getting out ahead of these trends and designing tools to work within them.
From cars to planes, the future of transportation is already here--and is changing rapidly. Software engineering is increasingly central to both the development and maintenance of all kinds of vehicles. That means more people need to start thinking like systems engineers. Dale Tutt, vice president of aerospace and defense industry for Siemens Software, says this means companies must offer more training and planning for those designing and developing vehicles of the future. "As you try to address the talent gap, there's a lot you can do to help make the tools easier to use. By better integrating the tools and by bringing in technologies like AI to help automate the generation of different design concepts and the analysis of those concepts using simulation tools, you can extend the capabilities of the system so that it helps empower your engineers," says Tutt. "Companies that are the most successful at adopting systems engineering are doing it because systems engineering, and the tools being used are becoming almost like the DNA of their engineering organization. Everyone is starting to think a bit like a systems engineer, even in their normal job. The tools and the ecosystem that you use to do systems engineering has a large role in facilitating adoption." Nand Kochhar, the vice president of automotive and transportation for Siemens Software, says a systems engineering approach can extend more broadly, as engineers think about how cars and vehicles connect to everything else in their environments. "In a smart city, the system has become the city itself. Take a vehicle in the city, for example. The definition of the system has moved from the single vehicle to include the flow of traffic in the city and to how the traffic lights operate. You can extend that expansive ecosystem to other aspects like building management, for example, into the smart city environment," he says.
Ask Stefan Jockusch what a factory might look like in 10 or 20 years, and the answer might leave you at a crossroads between fascination and bewilderment. Jockusch is vice president for strategy at Siemens Digital Industries Software, which develops applications that simulate the conception, design, and manufacture of products like cell phones or smart watches. His vision of a smart factory is abuzz with "independent, moving" robots. This podcast episode was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not produced by MIT Technology Review's editorial staff. "Depending on what product I throw at this factory, it will completely reshuffle itself and work differently when I come in with a very different product," Jockusch says. "It will self-organize itself to do something different." Behind this factory of the future is artificial intelligence (AI), Jockusch says in this episode of Business Lab. But AI starts much, much smaller, with the chip.