Guest blog: Practical tested actions for the social sector in the digital economy – by Professor Jane Farmer

In the lead up to the Society 4.0 Forum, Director of the Social Innovation Research Institute at Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Jane Farmer, explains why it is crucial to ensure that social good is supported as automation increases.

Social good in the digital economy

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is already upon us. Industry 4.0 means disruption to how society works – due to the potential capabilities of mass data digitisation linked with technologies such as AI, automation, machine learning and predictive analytics. ‘Digital economy’ refers to an economy that is based on these technologies.

Society 4.0 is the area where the societal implications of living with, adapting to, and securing wellbeing in, the digital economy come together – it’s where technology meets humanity.

Social good organisations must adapt so the future is not just the domain of large faceless organisations – the only ones that can afford to keep up with change, new technology and employ data specialists. Our mission at the Social Innovation Research Institute is to support non-profits, government and communities to thrive in Society 4.0.

Society 4.0 toolkit and solutions

For the past year, we’ve been scanning the globe to find initiatives where communities and social good organisations are meeting Society 4.0 head-on. We’ve done this by testing audacious and inspiring actions, so that social good survives and isn’t trampled out as automation arrives. 

Society 4.0 draws together a toolkit of top-quality international leaders to support individuals and organisations to gear up for the digital economy happening now and causing significant social disruption. Society 4.0 delivers several major themes with an impressive lineup of Forum speakers driving the change for good:

  • Communities powered with data and public interest tech: World-leader in forming data collaboratives to make collective impact and outcomes measurement happen, Stefaan Verhulst from GovLab at New York University, will present on developing data collectives. Tom Dawkins from StartSomeGood, along with a panel of top social innovation technology entrepreneurs, will explain how to ignite a public interest tech sector to bring new jobs and better technology. Entrepreneur Alvaro Maz from Code for Australia will discuss how the public sector can radically reskill.
  • Work and wellbeing in Society 4.0: Providing practical solutions for organisations and governments, Alice Martin from the New Economics Foundation UK and Geri Sumpter from Beyond Blue will deliver ways to make people well at work and to take responsibility for wellness to system level. Nicolette Barnard from Siemens and human services leader Jo Cavanagh from Family Life will explore methods to reengineer social services in an interactive conversation that invites your input.

Society 4.0 gives you real things to start doing now – for people in a better society.  Don’t miss this.

The Society 4.0 Forum is presented by the Social Innovation Research Institute at Swinburne University of Technology on 30 October 2019. Register now to attend this solutions-orientated event, filled with practical tools and strategies for social good to survive and succeed in the digital economy.

Author: Emily Silvester

Marketing and Communications at APO. If you'd like to guest blog on public policy issues or research get in touch esilvester@apo.org.au