Imperatives of Industry 4.0 in the work environment.

Jim van Hulst has worked in several leadership functions at EY, ING Bank, ABN AMRO Bank, and Johnson Controls International. His positions have included Director Talent Management, Global Head Professional Development, and Global Learning Technology Leader. Jim has an MSc. in Learning Technology from the University of Sheffield and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Arnhem/Nijmegen. He also holds a diploma in Business Management and Leadership from the Rotterdam School of Management, and he completed his MBA in 2020 from MSM, The Netherlands. He is a frequently asked speaker and author of numerous articles. Jim founded Jignite recently in 2021.

Jim van Hulst, owner Jignite

Imperatives of Industry 4.0 in the work environment

In this article, we discuss the two major imperatives in work: Industry 4.0 and VUCA.

The beginning of the 19th century witnessed the first revolution in terms of the emergence of mechanisation. The first revolution, a process,  that replaced agriculture with industry. The second revolution was related to new forms of energy. Elements like steam, coal and gas. Finally, the third revolution was the rise of electronics. Think about information technology, computers and the Internet. The transformation of organisations to the digital form is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, this term became more known in 2016 by the founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum (Schwab, 2016). In this Fourth revolution, organisations must decide how and where to invest in new technologies. In addition, they also need to identify which investments might best fit their needs.


Next to the complexity of Industry 4.0, leaders also have to operate in another essential element. This is the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world (Whiteman, 1998). The American Military used this acronym to train and educate officers for the 21st century. Many industries are using this term in recent years, and the term became popular. Things change continuously; what is true today may not be true tomorrow. Besides, it is impossible to predict how markets will evolve. It is a given that the interconnectedness of systems makes things increasingly complex. Due to this complexity and unpredictability, many leaders find it challenging to take a decision. Moreover, they sometimes even tend to avoid taking a position. In the current situation, freedom, creativity, speed, and flexibility are purely dictated by the environment. This environment is placed within regions or countries of our complex VUCA world.

Read also my article on the Industrial Internet of Things.


Schwab, K., M. (2016). Fourth Industrial Revolution. Random House USA Inc New York.

Whiteman, W. (1998). Training and Educating Army Officers for the 21st Century; Implications for the United States Military Academy Last visited March 3, 2020.

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