Weekend reads: Microfactories, what 'inclusion culture' requires and gearing up for the new energy era

Factories are getting smaller and more stories for the weekend from the World Economic Forum on Agenda. Image: Photo by Lalit Kumar on Unsplash

Gayle Markovitz
Acting Head, Written and Audio Content, World Economic Forum
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  • This weekly roundup brings you top reads for the weekend from Agenda.
  • In the numbers: We won't see equality for women until 2154, but a workplace inclusion culture can speed things up.
  • Shifts and opportunities: Microfactories and advanced energy solutions.

Look beyond the headline noise for these thoughtful expert insights and one-of-a-kind features that put the world's biggest changes into fresh context. This week: the future of factories (they're getting smaller); the uneasy middleground of the online public square; the 'inclusion impact' for women at work; and confidence in a new energy era.

The shift
Factories of the future are getting smaller

'Microfactories consume less power and require fewer people to operate than traditional factories because they use new technologies that are more efficient.' It's a win win.

More on front-line innovations from workers on the factory floor in this report, Views from the Manufacturing Front Line: Workers’ Insights on How to Introduce New Technology.

The take
Online chatter in the dock

How should we experience and govern internet discourse? 'Excluding people from marching in your parade might seem unfair. But, it's your parade.' Recent Supreme Court shenanigans have had repercussions for freedom of expression online.

And yet 2.6 billion individuals globally lack internet access. The World Economic Forum's Edison Alliance is working to change that.

The stat
Women and the 'inclusion impact'

How do you create an inclusive work culture? Measure it! PwC's Workplace Inclusion Indicator Index measures 'belonging, fairness and inclusive decision-making'. Aside from women feeling generally less included than men, they discovered that this affects job progression, productivity, burnout and everything in between.

It's International Women's Day. For anyone wondering why we still need it, the Global Gender Gap report is a reminder that we may be waiting until 2154 until we see gender parity. Listen to Moms First founder, Reshma Saujani, who tells Meet the Leader an overlooked move that can bridge the gap (Hint: It's prioritizing families and paid care leave.)


The opportunity
Getting ready for a new energy era

Energy storage, clean hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), carbon management and small modular reactors are the ingredients of a net-zero future. The tech is ready, but the real challenge is how to muster the confidence to drive investment into production and deployment.

There'll be no energy transition without critical minerals, though. This publication dives into strategies to keep a critical-mineral pipeline secure.

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