Introduction to Special Edition: Innovation, Technology Management and Industry 4.0
Innovation has been widely recognized as an important mechanism for competitiveness, especially in dynamic economies, where organizations need to respond rapidly to even more changing demands. Diverse studies have registered the increase in companies’ competitive capacity, financial return, economic prosperity (in business and national environments), generation of value for customer, and increment in productive capacity (among many others) as a result of the launch of innovations in markets. Innovation, in this sense, can be understood as an important competitive differential for large, medium and small enterprises.
Therefore, innovation lays the foundations for the strategic transformation of business and organisations. Technology management involves the selection, design, implementation and operation of key technology-enabled processes, products, infrastructures and technology-driven knowledge and tools to provide the basis for the creation of competitivity. In this sense, companies will have to develop their capabilities to accumulate innovative technologies faster than their competitors.
Ever since the beginning of industrialization, technological leaps have led to paradigm shifts in the field of mechanization, of the intensive use of electrical energy, and of the widespread digitalization. The advent of Industry 4.0 implies new paradigms regarding most managerial approaches and challenges motivated by the growing pace of technological innovation and management.
Although Industry 4.0 can be considered a well-known term, there are others used to present this same type of manufacturing system, such as advanced manufacturing, smart industry or smart factories, smart manufacturing, the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), networking manufacturing, intelligent manufacturing, industrial Internet and so on. This new paradigm is based on digital factories, with the capacity of combining information technologies and machines with smart products
In this scenario, the development of Industry 4.0 seeks to achieve a high level of operational efficiency, productivity, and automation of production systems, and to accomplish this goal enterprises need to improve their knowledge-based systems, and information integration, innovation and technology management.
When proposing this special issue, our aim was to invite scholars to engage in this debate and connect with authors and literature internationally developed. This Special issue aims to contribute to the body of knowledge on innovation and technological management and their impact on Industry 4.0 development within the companies in the fast changing 21st century.
These papers were submitted to double blinded review and after all the revisions, the edition counts fifteen papers in total. The papers accepted to provide interesting insights in terms of trends and opportunities on the three main areas highlighted in our call for papers: Innovation, Technology Management and Industry 4.0. Among the papers approved, there were mostly the use of internationally recognized theories towards Industry 4.0, cases of Industry 4.0 applications, as well as cases of innovation and improvements in companies’ competitiveness after promoting technological management. Moreover, it is interesting the number of articles discussing and presenting the theory and systematic literature review of Industry 4.0, its application, blockchain technology applications and perspectives, and Design Science in Operations Management, focusing on innovation and technologic management applications. The edition contemplates discussion on innovation in Brazilian companies, and some perspectives of the Brazilian Innovation Award Instrument, as well as the Innovation capability maturity in non-R&D performers.
It is hoped that these fifteen papers add to the emerging debate on innovation, technology management and Industry 4.0 not only in the Brazilian academy, but worldwide. The generous contribution of all reviewers involved in this special effort is acknowledged, and thanks must be given to the Brazilian Journal of Operations and Production Management (BJO&PM) for the opportunity of running an issue dedicated to such relevant topics.
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1Doctor in Production Engineering from COPPE at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (COPPE/UFRJ). Professor at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF). Instituto de Ciência e Tecnologia - Rua Recife s/n, Jardim Bela Vista, Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brasil – CEP 28895-532. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org