Design Story: Jessica Caldwell Programme Manager at Catalyst Inc.

We chatted with Jessica Caldwell, Programme Manager at Catalyst Inc. who told us a bit about the 4th Industrial Revolution and its importance to our central theme of Heritage and Future Heritage.

1.    Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I’m Jessica Caldwell, Programme Manager for Catalyst Inc working on the event series 4th Industrial Revolution Challenge, exploring the impact technology has on all aspects of life. These events are monthly and bring together diverse groups of people to discuss some of the most challenging and exciting developments of our time. I’m also the Curator of the Belfast Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, encouraging young people to come together in their cities to impact social change.

2.     What is the 4th Industrial Revolution?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by Prof Klaus Schwabb of the World Economic Forum as a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.

3.    How would Future Heritage for Belfast be affected by 4IR?

Technology needs to be harnessed for cities to be agile to global changes. Physical, digital and environmental components all contribute to the maintenance and growth of Belfast. By keeping the citizen at the centre of development plans, Belfast can design a future ready city. There are countless opportunities through data driven problem solving, innovative energy applications and connected devices to make the city more user centric. These technologies can be used to ensure we protect the heritage of the city, like historic buildings and public green space, while making it the best place for citizens to live and work by improving their commute, the building they work in and air quality.

4.    What are some of the careers that don't currently exist but might in the future?

What is interesting with the 4th Industrial Revolution and automation is the focus on skills and the human aspect of work. Many jobs that we have now will grow over the next 10 years including data scientists and AI specialists while jobs that are easily automated will decline. What is critical is how we develop the 21st century skills required for future careers that will define us as a species for the next 100 years to come. Skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence. The need for designers who understand the human experience and what the user needs or wants will be essential to many businesses.

5.    How could 4IR affect the design industry?

I think this has already started, with the focus on user centric design and the role of designers as key players in a company. Creativity and problem solving are traits that may come more naturally to designers than those in other professions, making them most suitable for the future workplace.


The Catalyst Inc. Fintech Hub at Danske Bank will be hosting Big Motive’s Applied Innovation through Human-Centred Design next Wednesday 14th November.