March 10, 2018


Our Purpose

The 4IR Forum sets out to facilitate the democratisation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) by creating an ecosystem through which to create awareness about 4IR, co-create pathways to the recognition and exploitation of opportunities, and find workable solutions to the thorny issues inherent to 4IR.

Our Story

Some five years ago, 4IR Forum founder, Cobus Oosthuizen, became increasingly restless with the exponential technological advancements spawning phenomenal benefits, but also problematic conundrums. This was later amplified with him closely following the proceedings of the 2016 WEF meeting in Davos which invoked a sense of urgency to better understand the nature and scope of 4IR, and to find ways, not only to wake people from their “business-as-usual-slumber”, but also to pragmatic opportunity exploitation and problem-solving solutions.

4IR is ushering in new business models, the disruption across all sectors of the economy and the reshaping of the factors of production, consumption, communication, transportation and the like; all evidence of the profound changes taking place around us. The velocity, breadth, depth, and systems impact of the changes are unlike previously experienced in history. In light of the evident challenges and opportunities inherent to 4IR, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, calls for the mobilisation of the collective wisdom of people’s minds, hearts and souls to adapt, shape and harness the potential of disruption. Although it is not clear how 4IR will unfold, Schwab believes it is of necessity that the “response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.” The 4IR Forum is a result of heeding to this call…

Cobus’ sense of urgency initially found expression in sharing reflections on 4IR in blog-posts, keynote addresses and research publications, but driven by an increasing restlessness that more need to be done, the 4IR Forum was conceptualised.

Subsequently, in a spirit of collaborative co-creation, the 4IR Forum sets out to be a catalyst for cutting edge research, new knowledge creation and dissemination, a mechanism for constructing workable solutions and a conduit for empowering human capital to contribute towards shaping a future that will benefit all. We are not captives to an unfolding future over which we have no control. Instead, the future offers many possibilities, that if approached with the appropriately configured thinking, reasoning and acting, could be influenced positively. However, for positive outcomes to be actualised, the enactment of individual and collective commitment to a preferred future is required.