In my last blog, I addressed how the new world order of the empowered individual is forcing businesses and governments to become more open, interact, participate, and provide flexibility in the workplace. But with all this empowerment, there’s still a troubling disconnect in the world today.

The need for real-time responsiveness in resource optimizationoptimizing physical resources has never been greater. Resources like oil, gas, and water that were once assumed to be limitless are now under pressure, threatening production, healthy living, even survival. Indeed, accessing scarce and unevenly distributed resources has become one of civilization’s most pressing issues.

At the same time, we see enormous and wasteful overcapacity in all kinds of things. Automobiles and vacation properties, for example, are used just a fraction of the time that they are available. Meanwhile intangible resources such as creativity, intellectual capital, and access to top talent are becoming the most important predictors of success as we enter the innovation economy (more on this in a future story).

We need to rethink how we produce and consume, taking a cradle-to-cradle, responsible approach to optimization across the entire product lifecycle, from the sourcing of raw materials to disposing or recycling, and reallocating resources in a real-time response to demand and supply fluctuations.

We see a few examples of the benefits that will result from this redefined, real-time value chain:

  • Prediction of risk in supply chains. Manufacturers will experience dramatic increases in raw materials volatility. Advanced analytics will help predict supply shortages, providing insight into when, where, and how to instantaneously reduce risk in supply chains.
  • Safeguarding of critical resources. Advancements in monitoring will provide real-time visibility into the integrity of pipelines and other remote structures, reducing the loss of valuable or dangerous resources.
  • Better living standards. Utilities and governments will partner to better manage critical resources, like water and electricity, using sensing and metering technologies to build real-time predictive models.
  • Utilization of excess capacity. Individuals and companies will engage in collaborative resource consumption, where privately owned but underused assets can be rented to others precisely when needed, yielding increased revenue for the owner, less expense for the renter (compared to owning the asset), and more efficient resource utilization overall.
  • Ease of recycling and reuse. Smart production processes will create products that will remember, and instantly transmit, information about their components, production methods, and usage, increasing the viability of resource recycling and reuse.

We’d love to hear about your challenges in optimizing resources.

To see what noted author and business strategist Don Tapscott has to say about the future of resource optimization, check out this video.

Read more: