Today’s Practitioners and Educators (P&Es) need to break free from traditional, linear thinking or become too absorbed by the various societal challenges demanding attention. P&Es need to think strategically about the impacts of the 4th Industrial Revolution and determine how to incorporate technology and facilities in community engagement, civic dialogue, and promote relevant and needed partnerships to address community expectations, production and service enhancement, collaborative innovation, organization form, and technology and natural systems.
The 4th Industrial Revolution, 21st Century Engagement: what it means and how to engage? go.osu.edu/engage4IR.
Community Wellbeing and Health
Community wellbeing and health are directly linked to how we address our changing environment, socioeconomic conditions, and the automating workforce. Societal challenges are demanding new partnerships to develop new community engagement tactics that strengthen these connections between our natural environment, our educational institutions, and the economy. Themes are emerging around sustainability and resilience, but in order find effective solutions in these areas we must acquire the knowledge, skills, and a mindset that brings forth a 21st Century engagement program that keeps are our Practitioners and Educators (P&Es) relevant to their communities’ needs. My intention is to provide background and resources for engagement in a technology driven, digitizing world that is on the onset of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Convergence of Social, Digital, and Biological Systems
Our society is at a unique convergence of social, digital, and biological systems that are rewriting the narrative of how we want to live. How P&Es design their engagement programs will be critical, and defining humans’ intentions of today as a precursor will influence new program design. Effective engagement requires the inclusion of relevant partnerships, but also facilitating higher expectations than to simply work to be less bad, less redundant, less hazardous, less equal, because today societal challenges are demanding a more combative and absolute standard of a diverse, safe, healthy, and just world with clean air, water, soil, and energy. Community engagement must happen at all levels of society, from the individual, the personal, the institutional, to the corporate, with a global perspective that responds to today’s societal challenges, but also adapts to technological challenges that are redefining what it means to be human, what it means to work, and to be embedded in a community.
Over thirty percent of the world uses social media platforms to connect, learn, and share information. This can provide opportunities for cross-cultural understanding and cohesion, but it can also create propaganda and unrealistic expectations as to what constitutes successes, as well as offers opportunities for extreme ideologies to spread. P&Es will have to weigh technology’s bypath of greater inequality and disruption to the workforce or a net increase to a safer rewarding workforce and higher quality of life. Although, the reality is probably a blending scenario.
New technologies make assets more durable and resilient, while data and analytics are transforming how they are maintained and applied. Humans have always used tools, but now our tools are exponentially advancing and augmenting themselves into an array of new ways that are requiring new approaches to education, workforce training, and engagement systems.Technology can be a tool to continuously innovate, learn, and apply a growth mindset to everything people do, especially around engagement and P&Es must not let technology diminish compassion and communal cooperation.
Partnerships engagement is employing more technology and requiring higher levels of emotional competency, such as demonstrating a(n):
- Awareness of partner needs as societal with values, assets, and challenges;
- Sharing of resources, responsibilities, and leveraging strengths for mutual benefit and collective impacts;
- Commitment to stewardship ensuring trust, compromise, efficiency, and sustainability within partnerships; and
- Recognition of successes affirming the value of partnerships.