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Leg 7. From Auckland to Itajaí (III). Education as a Competitive Advantage for Industry 4.0

Education as a competitive advantage for Industry 4.0.


The Antarctic Exclusion Zone is windy and it has icebergs.

Good afternoon to all of you. It is almost 5 pm here in my hometown. And I am so delighted to write about this topic. I am deeply thankful to God for being able to write about the blessing of education. And grateful to my parents that they offered me the wonderful door to study with the Jesuits. As you may know, I studied at a Catholic Highschool named Externado de San José. I received a unique and over the top type of education at that time. I remember we studied mathematics in High School at the level of first and second years of any Accredited Spanish Engineering University. When in the year 1988, I started to study Civil Engineering at the UCA-The Jesuit University in El Salvador. I thought: this is a piece of cake. Mathematics at the University for me was easy. Simply because we had good base-fundamentals from High School. Later during my engineering studies: I studied 4 Mathematics courses, 3 Physics Courses, Statics, Dynamics, Geology, Hydraulics, Mechanics of Soils, and tons of specialized civil engineering courses such as Highways, Metalic Structures, Structural analysis, Urbanism, Hydrology, Seismology, Reinforced Concrete, etc… In addition, I took several courses in Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, Writing Techniques and even I took a course of the Bible. I spent 5 years of my life helping my brain to develop the certain type of analytical skills which have helped me to be who I am today. Then through two Master Degrees, I did a turn to business and economics because I found I liked these disciplines much more than Engineering, but my brain functions differently simply because I trained my brain to think differently,  in one of the most difficult Engineering Schools in Central America.

it is my personal opinionGiven the way my brain works, and with the further 18 years of exposure I had by working in consulting and finance, whatever I share with you today, it comes from my own brain perspective. Ok. And whatever I share about Industry 4.0 and all the internet emerging technologies, please, it comes from my own historical development. In this context, I believe, we as human beings have not assimilated how to educate ourselves to be successful in Industry 3.0 yet. And we want to jump to Industry 4.0.  Can you see it?. It is insane.

Industry 4.0 has and will have multiple benefits, yes, but at this specific moment in time (23-March-2018) we are not ready. I think, and from my own perspective, Industry 4.0 has to be sailed with the right knots. I don´t think the “Fast and forward” is the motto anymore. Our motto for Industry 4.0 should be “Slower but right”. We are so close to a dangerous area, that even though we know we can cross certain boundaries, we shouldn´t do it. At least not yet.

Let me share with you a metaphor of why I compare our pace of innovation for Industry 4.0 with the Antarctic Exclusion Zone (AEZ) at the Volvo Ocean Race. Please read the last phrase c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y and slowly: I am not against emerging digital technologies, what worries me is the PACE or the velocity in which we are forced to adopt them without being ready. I have no doubt that human beings will dismiss the wrong technologies (either beforehand or after making the mistakes), but the velocity to adopt them without being ready for them, is what causes a sense of inquietude and deep concern to me. What is the point to rush when our educational system is not ready, neither the organizations? Look at it with “common sense”, it took more than 3,300 years to evolve from the abacus to the first mechanical calculator. Why do we want to jump into Industry 4.0 without being ready? It is just common sense. 

All the fleet including me is gybing near the Antarctic Exclusion Zone (AEZ). I think I have not explained to you what is the meaning of gybing in sailing. See the next slide to understand what is gybing.

Gybe meaning.jpg

If you wish to see the last slide in PDF, click here please: Eliescalante Leg 7 Outline Trends in Competitive Advantage B 23032018.

We can do gybing with the hope to raise our velocity in sailing at 25 to 28 knots today in our route to Cape Horn. All the teams are gybing at the moment.  But we can´t enter the AEZ exclusion zone. There is a reason behind this. There are rules to follow in sailing too. Even in the Southern Ocean the most experienced sailors know there are places we can´t get in or we will end hurt, or what is worst, we can be disqualified.

The AEZ is the red area which can be seen at the bottom of the race tracker. And this boundary prevents us from dipping into dangerous waters where we might put our boats and us at risk. “This boundary line is variable and it is designed by the meteorologists from the VOR Bureau in Alicante.  It is set by race control to keep the fleet out of iceberg-infested waters”. Although the measures could potentially prevent sailors from reaching the most desirable conditions further south, by setting up the boundary to AEZ, this ensures the safety of the crew.

Everything we do, all our innovations and Industry evolution, including sailing around the world, must have certain boundaries or under business terms, certain forms of regulations for the sake of avoiding future tragedies risks. We simply wish to sail to have fun, without the risk of being hurt.

thank you coffee drosThe same has to happen with Industry 4.0. We must be ready for it. That means at least 80% of the global population has to build the skills, capabilities and more importantly the mindset to enter into it. We are not ready for it yet. Now we are just starting to observe all these amazing innovative efforts to set up technologies running, which can help us to use the benefits and advantages of the Internet, robotics and artificial intelligence. We are racing a quantum market cap competition between Amazon, Alphabet (Google), Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft. And this just happened during the last few years. Silicon Valley and other high-tech labs are building new prototypes… but PROTOTYPES need to be tested many many times. Moreover, if the prototypes function well, they cannot be launched universally until they have proven to be a “force for good” for a city, or several societies, before planning to go to the humanity, otherwise, we will end up in the equivalent of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone at the Volvo Ocean Race.

Let´s go to Education. What is the role of education in Industry 4.0? Let me say it boldly: education is the key to success in this new stage of human development.  How education works right now? The educational system we have as a result of an evolution of centuries has been planned to work for Industry 3.0, and in some countries for Industry 2.0. Our educational system today has at least 12 years of elementary and secondary education. Then higher education starts with an average of 4 years of undergraduate studies (in Europe, undergraduate degrees take 3 years, but in the USA it takes 4 years to completion, meanwhile in Latin America it takes 5 years plus a thesis year). Then add one or two years of Master Studies, and finally, if you wish to embark on a Doctoral degree it will require at least 4 years more. In total, if we pursue this path, one person can become an expert with a doctoral degree only if pursues and accomplishes 22 years of formal studies.


Every education level has its own qualifications and degrees. Above is a diagramme of the qualifications/degree system. Source:

During elementary and secondary education we study math, sciences, literature, and languages.  We can´t try to force a little kid who is learning to sum and rest, to perform derivatives or integrals of Calculus as I did in my first years of Engineering. And even if we find a giftedness kid with IQ above 130 who can perform Calculus problems, it is insane to force kids to grow faster in other aspects which can only be leveraged by interacting socially with other kids. Each age to its own.

The same happens with Industry 4.0, we can´t force to execute what it is not even ready in the educational system yet. Positively we need to start with a reform of the educational system in parallel to the organizational evolution in each industry. It is impossible to fill the gap between the requirements of the emerging technologies which are the base of Industry 4.0, without an educational re-design and restructuring. According to Martec´s law, organizations change at a logarithmic rate, meanwhile technology changes at an exponential rate. With such gap, it is insane to think we can deploy Industry 4.0 in some years because if we do it, we will sink in the Antarctic Exclusion Zone and we will be out of competition forever.

The Industry 4.0 will demand a different educational system of what we have right now. It will require:

1. Knowledge of the degree discipline
2. Practical and psychomotor skills
3. Interpersonal skills and social responsibility
4. Ethics and professionalism
5. Communication and leadership skills
6. Analytical and critical thinking skills
7. Lifelong learning and information management
8. Management skills and entrepreneurial characteristics

And even with 22 years of education for doctoral degrees, we still don´t have all of what is listed above.

Let me finish to show the current status of how is the education industry in the world. Let´s see certain general indicators (Source: UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More to continue…

Thank you, have a beautiful day!.

thank you coffee swim

Amadísimo Alejandro Guillermo Lozano Artolachipi… A kiss for you… I love you so much.


Source References:

Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos posted unless otherwise stated.



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