Business En Route is a digital publication that investigates how the digital economy affects the corporate world and what companies are doing to stay at the helm of emerging technologies in a cut-throat race towards a sustainable, circular economy in Europe.

The unexpected spread of the coronavirus pandemic gave the digital economy a long-awaited booster. The new normal created an environment that increased our need for agility, adaptability and positive transformation. Over the next decade, expectations say that circa 70% of new value created will be based on digital platforms and business models.

Yet, beyond their potential, digital solutions risk the exacerbation of exclusion and unequal concentration of power and wealth. In this context, the fourth industrial revolution has fundamentally changed how we live and work. Industry 4.0 is merging the physical, digital and biological worlds, creating a technological fusion with opportunities and challenges. And perils.

In light of this revolution’s speed, breadth, and depth, businesses need to rethink how they create value. The corporate world needs to create a more inclusive, human-centred economy. With the digitalisation we are seeing, emerging new technologies are changing our lives.

The 5G-fuelled fast and intelligent connectivity is expected to create circa €10 trillion economic value globally in the next two decades. It will put technologies on fire, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT).

The contradiction-ridden and widely-feared AI is a powerful tool, albeit, in its current state, it is surprisingly limited in its capabilities. With its potential to support human existence comes many threats, such as deepening social divides and transformation of the labour market that will lead to job losses.

Furthermore, its influence will reach, if it has not yet reached, people who are not technical enough (and need not be as end-users) to understand the gravity of what is happening under the hood of deep-learning models.

In the meantime, a myriad of intelligent devices connects to the internet, establishing IoT ecosystems. New products and business models emerge as a result, together with security and safety worries. All these, again, are changing how we live, travel and work.

As businesses are working on a better digital today, we need to address the “take-make-waste” culture. Linear economies are having an irreversible impact on the environment and peoples of the world. We are at a watershed moment. Companies need to rethink how we design, make and use products and materials. Waste, ultimately, is a design flaw.

We must manufacture products that are used longer, and we need to regenerate natural systems keeping in mind that everything is food for something else. The circular economy is the only way to address the root causes of economic, social and environmental challenges that humanity faces these days.

  • How is digital progress changing our economies and industries in Europe?
  • How shall we change our education systems to equip the next generations for the future that is already present?
  • How is the labour market changing?
  • What can the European business landscape do to live up to these challenges to create a sustainable future benefitting both the professional and private life of the continent’s residents?

Business En Route investigates these complex issues in Europe via discussions with industry experts offering prompt and apt insight.

Business En Route is a publication by Christian Keszthelyi.