In March 2017, ESCP Europe began running a course on industry of the future: the Executive Master in Manufacturing Automation & Digital Transformation (EMMA). This new programme, developed in cooperation with Italian industrial group Comau, will train tomorrow’s managers in the technologies driving Industry 4.0. We interview Giovanni Scarso-Borioli, EMMA Scientific Director.
Automation, 3D Printing, Industry 4.0… Do you think that the digitization of the industry sector is now under way?
In my opinion, Industry 4.0 is a buzzword. Like Big Data a few years ago and TQM in the 90s etc. Buzzwords though, don’t just materialise out of thin air, they take place when a lot of people within the communities of management professionals, take an interest in a particular topic, practice or technology. Which means that at the heart of it there is something which attracts a large number of people. Buzzwords are also generated by the effective marketing activity of companies which have a direct interest in spreading as much as possible. In the case of Industry 4.0, a great deal of resources has been invested by leading technology Companies to spread the concept. We have created the EMMA precisely to help participants distinguish myths from reality, and develop their critical thinking with regards to sizing the opportunity and develop effective innovation projects and programmes within their own Companies.
Do you think industrial leaders are still not very interested in this topic?
On the contrary, I think they are very interested! The problem is not the interest, but rather the lack of a “compass” to understand and prioritise the real opportunities for their Companies, which can be unlocked by I4.0 technologies. Also, the level of familiarity of managers of industrial organizations, with digital technologies is greatly variable and a level of unconscious, emotional resistance towards them is still a barrier to actions. One more reason for the EMMA to make a difference.
More generally, what are the reasons that have guided ESCP in creating this new training?
Many Companies don’t know yet what to do with these technologies, and they are risking to fall victims of the exponential trajectory of disruptive innovations. New entrants like Tesla are already demonstrating that innovation can advance at great speed, and those who do not take advantage of the new technologies are at risk of disruption. This programme is designed as a collaborative lab, where managers from different industries and functions, professors and technology experts, will work together to build a clear picture of Industry 4.0, and a roadmap towards the opportunities that can be unlocked. But a new breed of managers is needed, which is the reason why we are joining forces with COMAU, a leader of Robotics and Automation, to provide an executive education programme with no equal on the market.
What types of students are you looking for?
Junior to middle managers within industrial companies, with a technical background but across functions. We will have people working in procurement, design, R&D, product engineers, process engineers, etc. People with a strong passion for innovation, and with the ambition of being change agents and future leaders.
How will the executive master take place?
5 modules of 1 full-time week each, over a period of one year, complemented by distance learning and a Company Project to be performed in between modules. We will not only offer theoretical classes. The managers will also be confronted with the existing concrete solutions of Industry 4.0: use cases, meetings with professionals… All the information can be found on the Masters’ website. We are also offering the option to join only the first week, as an independent Master Class, for a fee of 5,000 Euros per participant.
| A tip from Blu.e
Higher education’s crucial role in industry’s digital transformation
At Blu.e, we can see two ways for higher education to help digitalise industry:
- Strategic planning: research teachers provide insights into the possibilities opened up by new technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality, etc. and equip managers to adopt them in their own field.
- Mainstreaming digital transformation for the organisation as a whole: teachers use their skills and expertise to create innovative materials and media, such as MOOCs, that can address the variety of training requirements in companies (when employees need to learn emerging professions or be retrained, etc.).