An analysis of Industry 4.0 reveals that a lot of work, both physical and cognitive, formerly done by humans will be digitized.  This means the operations aspect of those processes will be more reliable, but only if the design of the digital systems is very good.

We’ve been seeing a slow shift to focus on design, but unfortunately it may be in the wrong realm.  There are two different design issues for potential focus.  One is the degree to which the system brings new and highly desired (emotionally) functions to the user.  This is often talked about as requiring Design Thinking.  The second design issue is the degree of reliability of the system, which is more about Systems Thinking.

Obviously the two are not exclusive, but I would propose that the latter is more important than the former.  For example, would life really be so bad if we didn’t have cup holders in our vehicles (a design thinking issue)?  Wouldn’t you really prefer that the vehicle gets you there safely (a reliability issue)?