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Learning from histories: a systematic review of historical industrial transitions – report

The transition to sustainability coincides with an industrial digitalization. While this latest industrial revolution creates new challenges, it also revives historical ones encountered in previous transitions. Through two parallel systematic reviews, challenges are identified for the current digitalization transition and historical transitions: mechanization, electrification and computerization.

The aim of this research is to identify lessons from history that may help overcome the challenges of industrial digitalization. The paper provides illustrative examples of social factors that are either internal to a technology adopting organization or external, related to wider societal change. These factors suggest actionable insights that may support the adoption of Industrial Digital Technologies.

This research was conducted by Dr. Ahmad Beltagui, Dr. Brian Sudlow of Aston University Dr. Miying Yang and Glen Jonata.of Cranfield University, and Qinglan Liu of Exeter University.