Accelerating the adoption of industrial IoT in Brazil

  • Case Partnering with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to develop a protocol for action
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  • Client World Economic Forum
  • Industry Nonprofit
  • Capabilities Design Research
    Design Technology
    Design Education
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Small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) are critical to the global economy, but in many sectors they’re being left behind by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We partnered with the WEF to develop solutions to bring the benefits of emerging technologies to SMEs.


SMEs must overcome a range of challenges to keep up – insufficient capital, lack of training, and a shortage of qualified employees. The WEF set out to resolve these barriers to help SMEs unlock the benefits of IIot (Industrial Internet of Things). This would benefit numerous stakeholders by improving environmental and social outcomes and creating expanded tax revenue for governments.


We worked with the WEF, Brazil’s Ministry of Economy, and the prefecture of São Paulo to develop and co‑design policy protocols that aim to lower barriers to IIoT adoption. Our team invited 15 companies to an open discussion of their opportunities and challenges, where participants shared how their companies operate, train their employees, and track and use information. We analyzed our research to map different categories of need, from organizational culture to technological readiness, from which we identified a dozen challenges that could be addressed through policy.


In January 2020, the WEF released a whitepaper with our contributions. Ultimately, we developed 12 policy ideas. At least three of them will be implemented to aid the development of IIoT. This initiative will impact over 2,000 companies across Brazil, with plans for implementation in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The full project, with our methodology and research, are accessible online.

We should reflect on the fact that the Fourth Industrial Revolution might be more about people than about technology. Raphael Alex de Sousa, Senior Designer, Designit

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