Thought Leadership

How historic manufacturing innovation offers clues to today’s market

By ToniB

Digitalization is here, and it’s transforming the way manufacturing innovation occurs in the marketplace. Most manufacturers see what’s happening, and they know they need to implement digitalization to survive. But we see so few actually digitalizing their business because they’re scared of the unknown.

Not implementing digitalization could spell disaster for companies, particularly the ones that have dominated the market for decades. We know this because we can look at previous Industrial Revolutions to see how a new manufacturing innovation pushed the stragglers out of the market. These disappearances will happen even faster during this fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0.

The identifying characteristics of Industry 4.0 — automated production, the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems and smart factories — give companies the means to generate disruptive innovation faster than ever.

But how did we get here? The answer lies in looking back to see innovation shaped previous Industrial Revolutions. 

Our series of infographics highlights important manufacturing innovation moments in previous Industrial Revolutions. These innovations transformed entire industries and brought the market closer to what we see today. And they tell of an important lesson all companies can learn: the companies that don’t innovate well enough or fast enough will disappear from the market.

In our first infographic, learn more about how the first Industrial Revolution brought mechanization to the forefront of manufacturing processes and propelled industries toward the future. 

Infographic_Image1.jpgManufacturing innovation in the first Industrial Revolution was characterized by water and steam power, mechanical tools and new factories.In the second part of our infographic series, we look at important innovations in the second Industrial Revolution

Tell us: What do you think was the most important manufacturing innovation in the first Industrial Revolution?

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at