The University of Stirling Management School (SMS) has appointed its first Digital Entrepreneur in Residence to help students and staff prepare for ‘Industry 4.0’.
Business engagement advisor and Stirling graduate, Joe Little, will help ensure SMS teaching and research meets future industry needs, as well as encouraging University spin-out and start-up businesses.
Mr Little spent 30 years at oil and gas company BP, building a network of Silicon Valley technologists and top academics to create collaborate innovation and inform future business strategy. Since leaving, he has been making similar connections through the Scottish Business Network.
Mr Little said: “The world requires more digital skills. That means being able to collaborate remotely, being agile, and understanding and manipulating data, such as insights from artificial intelligence. It means making sure universities are solving real world problems through the skills they teach and the research they carry out.
“Industry 4.0 will require constantly evolving skills. We are going to see more of the gig economy, and people will need to be entrepreneurial. Employers may take over updating the skills of those they employ, even if that’s on a contract basis. They will also be deciding which tasks should be done by humans, and which by robots.”
Rethinking robots and artificial intelligence
In the oil and gas sector, Mr Little said, it can be safer to take humans out of the equation, with some tasks increasingly becoming remote and operated by robots. “This is an opportunity to rethink what humans do and what robots and AI could do,” he said.
He added: “I have a huge affection for the University of Stirling, with its fantastic pool of students and academics. I now have the chance to share the knowledge and connections I have developed and support the University to engage globally to meet the changing demands of the world.”
Dean of SMS Professor Kevin Grant said: “As the world embraces digital technology, it is important to understand how it can enable the ways we wish to work, rest and play going forward.
“As our Digital Entrepreneur in Residence, Joe Little can support our staff and students to take their first steps in setting up a company or an organisation to provide new, digitally- enhanced, products and services – turning their ideas into digital reality. I’m delighted to welcome him to SMS.”
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