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2021 and beyond. Industries and workforce innovation.

Updated: Jan 14

by Michele Longpre


Evidently the aviation industry has been quite hit by the sanitary crisis and the survivors are the one that could renew themselves in different areas. Many airlines have moved some of their assets into developing the Cargo side of the business for example refurbishing their planes for cargo transport as this was an area that was booming while the commercial airlines were declining. Aircrafts are being refurbished for different uses; this trend will continue in the next year and it is an area that will develop. Although hit quite hard, the aviation industry will rise from its ashes. IATA estimates that the air traffic will not recover its 2019 level until 2024.


The industry that is most developing is the pharmaceutical sector (both human and animal), this includes not only drugs but also all the connecting industries like high precision machineries and robotics. Specialized, high precision mechanics are currently on high demand in the industry. If we connect the situation with the aviation, the high precision mechanical company can easily convert some of their production line from high precision aviation mechanical parts into the pharmaceutical and enter other sectors requiring precision mechanics, robotics and AI.


Another industry that is impacted by the more stringent environmental requirements is the packaging industry. Including the push downward for transport pricing, the packaging industry will need to develop lighter, environmentally friendly packages.


As a result of these changes, Cargo (aviation, road, rail and sea), the packaging, the pharmaceutical industries we will also see the rise for Supply Chain and multi-modal logistics expertise. These industries will also need to become more flexible while maintaining higher level customer requirements and meet the more stringent clean energy regulations.


Many companies will diversify their assets in order to build resilience in case of other crisis. As we have seen, when a crisis arises, some industries and companies are badly hit, while others found a lot of opportunities to continue innovating.


Expecting innovative workforce


We see that more Innovation will be happening in unusual areas to meet our near future requirements, industries will need to ensure a creative environment to allow innovative workforce to rise to the challenge. At the hearth of this shift, companies will require trained leaders to manage their programmes and projects. We will need more and more transformational type of leaders and managers. This means another type of leader profile focused on business digitalization, innovation and resilience.


Improvement in Collaboration tools and connectivity are expected


Virtual meetings, virtual classrooms, new ways of working in the industry will require the development of new tools to fit the emerging needs. Currently some of the tools have been upgraded and adapted, but many are not fit for purpose. Most of the tools have been developed and used as multipurpose and not meeting any purpose. Let's take a virtual learning course as an example. MS Teams is made for meeting, not for teaching, although people are currently using it as such, since it is not as expensive as the other classroom tools (for example Adobe and Webex). Adobe or Webex are great tools, (including Zoom) for teaching, but require heavy expensive technical support, training for the educators and large bandwidth. Example: if one wants to use the webcam features, depending where people are located and their bandwidth capabilities, this feature cannot be used efficiently. Small and medium size education company that cannot invest in the required technical support to hold their virtual classes on these tools, or simply invest in buying these tools, will adapt but at the risk of delivering lower quality and less efficient training. The education and training industry is required to evolve and transform itself. Strong Change Management to accompany these transformations will be required to allow all stakeholders to embark on this rapid changing environment. Leaders will need to ensure that no-one if left behind.


Connectivity requirements are also changing. Amazingly, the world wide web and the internet have been able to sustain the rise of the demand, but it is getting to its limit and frustrations are on the rise. New infrastructures capable to meet the high speed, extra-large bandwidth required to meet the virtual world will need to be installed. Governments will need to invest heavily in this sector to enable collaboration in all areas of the world, even to the most remote location.


More focus on the environment


Environmental requirements are embedded in all future projects. Governments will invest heavily in this sector for the economic revival of their nation and to meet the increasing demand for clean energy products and services.

Canada, for example, is currently pouring money into renewable energy like hydrogen R&D or the fuel cell sector. (Note: one has to have a look into the recycling requirements for the batteries)


Empowerment of the staff as a way to increase health and well- being


"The premise - somewhat provocatively named 'employees first, customers second' - is that often most value in companies is generated at the bottom layers of the pyramid and that it is exactly those people there that should be empowered by management, so as to deliver the maximum value to the customer." Vineet Nayar

We need to realize that the lack of empowerment of the staff led to a long decision-making processes in many organizations today, creating bottleneck and sometime endangered the survival of the company or even yet the patient or customers. We have seen the shift in the valuation of employees and the need to empower decision at the level where it is needed, on the frontline where issues and problems arise. Vineet Nayar, although provocative, was then much more than an innovative leader, he was a mindful leader. Today, not only has his actions proven him right but the current situation is calling loud and clear for these types of leaders.