NDE 4.0 Ethics Panel – Roundtable Discussion with NDE 4.0 Influencers | Episode 11

– Ripi Singh, Tracie Clifford, Matt Litschewski

In this episode of the NDE 4.0 Podcast, we have an exciting new panel format in which we chat with NDE 4.0 influencers and leaders and discuss the future and what an NDE 4.0 Ethics Code would look like. In this discussion, hear from three experts who are leading the way in NDE 4.0 innovation, education, and coaching.

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Just One Skill That Matters?

Just One Skill That Matters

There is only one skill that matters.

Really? It is the skill to develop new skills all the time, quickly.

Will industry 4.0 kill our jobs?

This is the most popular question in our panel discussions on this topic. My response is usually as follows.

“History has proven that all previous revolutions have created new higher-paying jobs, reduced the number of working hours, improved productivity and prosperity. People who were worried about jobs, and companies that were slow to adapt to the change paid the big price. We have come down from a 7-day workweek before the first industrial revolution to 5-days. I can foresee a 4-day workweek by the time we are all digitally transformed.”

… pause…

“I have lived through the 3rd revolution. My freshman engineering was using log tables, I got a calculator in Sophomore, and saw the first computer as a senior in 1985. When computers came to India, we had serious nationwide social protests, against the Prime Minister’s move to bring the technology. It was perceived as a job-killer. Most of my friends and their parents disliked my excitement with the toys. Our college took a student account at the very first computer center in the city and each one of us was given 5 minutes of CPU time on the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)’s PDP-10 mainframe. My allocated 5 minutes were used up within a week and then I borrowed minutes from those who were busy protesting against the computers. Today the whole economy of the country (India) and many other nations is because of the IT skills.” 

… pause …

“You see, it is not a jobs question. It is a competency question. Your skills will go obsolete. You need to reskill, you need to retool, you need to relearn. To confidently try new things and new ways of doing something is the most important trait. So, don’t worry about the jobs. There will be plenty more. Worry about developing the competencies and knowledge for the jobs that will be available.”

Traditional trade skills will have to embrace the entry of new skills – some multidisciplinary blend of Digitalization, Automation, Data Scientists, Machine Learning, Machine Communication, Man-Machine interface, Additive Manufacturing, and new ones every few years. The role of data scientists is already picking up. These are specialists who will extract and prepare data, conduct advanced analysis, and apply their findings to improve products or production.

Traditional soft skills will have a higher focus on complex problem solving (identification), creativity, open mind, critical thinking, teamwork and transparency, decision making under uncertainty, robotics supervision, and more. I can see a role for a full-time Fictioneer, Ideation facilitator, Concept artist, …

Job Descriptions are dying

If you can describe your job in sufficient detail, it will soon be replaced by a robot. You need to focus on talent that can bring intellectual capability and adaptability to meet Job Expectations. Simple tasks are being taken over by robots and shop floors are getting digital. Humans now need to oversee humans and cobots together. Perhaps we will see robots supervising other robots and then humans, sooner than we think. And let us add artificial intelligence or intelligence augmentation to the mix. We now have a whole new set of challenges with talent management.

If you consider the scope of digital skills required, universities will have a difficult time adjusting. In one of my recent conversations with a University Dean, I asked him how they will adapt when their curriculum revision cycle is 3-year, because very soon the content obsolescence period will be shorter than three years. I think Industry will take charge and not rely on university degree programs.

Focus is also shifting from graduate-level college degrees to rapid certification and creating relevant competency just in time and in place. Augmented reality-based training or job instructions might further diminish the value of formal classroom trainings. From an industry perspective, HR may not be able to handle the retraining, because of scope and content. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) may have to take this one on. There will be room for new types of colleges and academies to develop talent for the digital requirements.

Creativity can be learned, it is a practiced art. A whole library of how-to books has already been written on the theme. Some of the books are better than others, but they all focus on a couple of central ideas: be open to new things, ask questions, doodle around, and create ‘firsts.’

According to the BCG[1] employees will need to shift their focus to the things machines so far can’t do, will have to be more open to change, possess greater flexibility to adapt to new roles and working environments, and become accustomed to continuous interdisciplinary learning.

The global pandemic is demonstrating the need for resiliency skills. Businesses surviving in 2020s will be those where the organizations are flexible, adaptive, and agile; constantly analyzing and adjusting. Employers might look for such skills as a requirement in the near future. These skills are not easy to teach or learn.

In Summary,

To pick up a new skill on demand is the most important skill.

Ability to do the job that cannot be described clearly, is what will keep you in the job.

If you like this blog post, you will like my book – “Inspiring Next Innovation Mindset” available on Amazon.

If you wish to engage with me in a conversation, on important innovation topic, please register for our monthly sessions at

[1] Man and Machine in Industry 4.0; M Lorenz, R Strack, K Lueth, & M Bolle; BCG Report; ; Sept 28, 2015.

Can Industry 4.0 Bring 6th Sense to Inspection Activity?

Oh Really?

Human ability to see when something is failing has become better through non-destructive evaluation methods. It has evolved from highlighting surface to looking inside and now getting to point, where data analytics from diverse sources could provide a digital indication of damage that is yet to appear on the physical structure, kind of a sixth sense!

Can Industry 4.0 Bring 6th Sense to Inspection Activity

The Revolutions in Non-destructive Evaluation (NDE)

For centuries humans have taken care of their safety using the five basic senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. The revolutions in manufacturing, infrastructure, and transportation systems came with unfortunate incidents and fatal accidents. The engineering community rose to the challenge of quality, safety, and reliability through non-destructive inspections. This important domain serving so many industries, has also seen its share of revolutions, aligned with the changing needs of the industrial revolutions, and enabled by similar suite of technologies.

The first inspection revolution was around highlighting the surface for human organic sensory perceptions. Tools such as lenses, colors or stethoscopes improved the detection capabilities of naked eye and human ear. Procedures made the outcome of the inspection comparable over time.

The second revolution in NDE used physical understanding of material response to electromagnetic or acoustic waves, which lie outside the range of human perception, into signals that can be interpreted by humans. This resulted in a “look inside” into the components or a better visualization of material inhomogeneities behind or close to the surface. For example – X-ray, gamma testing, ultrasonic, Infrared and terahertz detection, eddy current, etc.

The third revolution in NDE came along with computers and digitalization that simplified imaging and analysis of signals, such as X‑ray detectors, digital ultrasonic and eddy current equipment, and digital cameras. Robotics automated the processes, making them convenient, fast, and repeatable. The digital technologies offered another leap in managing inspection workflow data from acquisition, storage, processing, 2D and 3D imaging, interpretation, to communication. Data processing and sharing became the norm, and data security and integrity came in as a new challenge.

The fourth revolution in NDE (now) integrates the digital techniques (from the third) and physical methods of interrogating materials (from the second) in a closed loop manner transforming human intervention and enhancing inspection performance. Within the context of the physical-digital-physical loop of NDE 4.0; digital technologies and physical methods may continue to evolve independently, interdependently, or concurrently. The real value is in concurrent design of an inspection through application of Digital Twins and Digital Threads. This provides the ability to capture and leverage data right from materials and manufacturing processes to usage and in-service maintenance. The data captured across multiple assets, can be used to optimize predictive and prescriptive maintenance, repairs, and overhauls over the lifetime of an asset. The relevant data can be fed back to OEM for design improvements. NDE 4.0 also serves the emerging trends in custom manufacturing. Remote NDE can keep the inspector away from harm’s way and integration by “tele-presence” can bring additional specialists in the decision process from anywhere in the world quickly and affordably.

The role of human is changing from ‘human-in-the-loop’ to ‘human-on-the-loop’ from ‘human-outside-the-loop.’

Game Changer – Intelligent Inspection System

The continuous improvement in inspection capability is driven by the need and desire to pick smaller and smaller damage or material discontinuity (Crack, corrosion, delamination, foreign object inclusions) with higher and higher likelihood. It is called probability of detection (POD), typically characterized by an S-shaped curve. Just like with naked eye, we all have slightly different probability of seeing small stuff on the floor. Most of the time a small shiny spec on the kitchen tile floor could go unnoticed, however it is different, if you knew that your child broke a glass yesterday.  You will likely scan a larger area looking for more such pieces. That is the power of knowledge, experience, and intelligence.

The Industry 4.0 can bring the ability to synthesis all of the data right from manufacturing, usage, environment, (digital history acting like a lifelong blackbox) and combine it with data from detected damage in other older assets (experience), the intelligent inspection system could predict with a certain probability that there is a discontinuity hiding here smaller than equipment’s ability to detect.

We have seen such capability in many domains. Ten years ago, Target store figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did (Forbes Feb 16, 2012). Amazon regularly ships products to the distribution centers nearest to your house based on your shopping patterns to cut down delivery time. Law enforcement agencies can thwart threats from social media chatter. That is the power of the data and intelligence augmentation.

The probability of detection by cyber-physical system using digitalized history can get better than intrinsic capability of the physical equipment, in a sense the 6th sense of the machine. Machine can predict with certain confidence that there is a signal here hidden in the noise, from an anomaly that will be detectable sometime in the near future. 

Discontinuity Size

In Summary,

The NDE 2.0 changed the game providing inspectors with equipment to see hidden damage using physical waves.

The NDE 4.0 could change the game again by augmenting an inspector with an intelligent system to foresee a damage on the digital twin before the inspection equipment can pick it up on physical structure.

If you like this blog post, you will like our upcoming book “Welcome to the World of NDE 4.0” DM me or Johannes Vrana and we can alert you when it is available on Amazon.

For a dedicated session for your company, please reach out to Ripi Singh directly.

Are you Managing or Leading Innovation?


I like the statement – “Manage process and lead people”. But what about innovation? We still struggle to understand if it is process, or people mindset, or some combination.

We know innovation is a lot about exploratory action and Leadership that empowers action. There is still room for managing it particularly in corporate setting, which must manage risk.

Innovation Managing and Leading

Innovation, Managing, and Leading

There is a lot written around managing vs leading, as applicable to people, processes, and business. Some of that when viewed through the innovation lens, looks like:

InnovatorsInnovation ManagersInnovation Leaders
Solve complex problemsControl complexity in developmentTransform company, industry & ecosystem
Develop new products & servicesDeliver to the roadmapCreate vision, strategy, and roadmap
Create future they conceivePredict the future based on trendsPrepare for the unpredictable future
Deploy their expertise to resolve situationsOrganize, staff, and manage resourcesAlign expertise and offerings with markets
Create new outcomesPrevent negative outcomesPromote positive outcomes
Be creative and exploreControl creativity and experimentationEmpower people to experiment and learn
Develop their expertiseAssess the expertise and fill the gapsProactively fill gaps to required expertise
Build relationships of valueRe-structure to accomplish goalsCreate relationships to be highly effective
Do it the way they know bestDo it the right wayDo the right things
Defend their viewpointSell solutions to get everyone on boardAcknowledge & surface healthy conflict
Collaborate, learn, & produceMotivate but control collaborative practicesInspire collaboration and learning
Strive for excellenceMaintain a Center of ExcellenceBuild a Network of Excellence
Want to feel importantWant to look importantMake others feel important
Compete and collaborate as requiredCreate competitive strategies to winCreate collaborative strategies for win-win
Focus on Innovation Value ChainFocus on Innovation FrameworkFocus on Innovation Purpose and Mindset

In Summary,

An innovation focused organization needs all three roles – leaders, managers, and innovators. I emphasize the term ‘ROLE’ and not ‘TITLE’. I have seen CTOs actively engaged in technical discussions and engineers creating vision and collaboration with competitors for a win-win. 

A successful innovative organization allows a bit of all three across all its staff – from technician to the C-suite. That cross over through working meetings and casual chats, in person or virtual, promote sound teamwork, transparency and integrity, and internal empathy; so much needed to be adaptive and agile.

If you like this blog post, you will like my book series “Inspiring Next Innovation ….” available on Amazon and summarized in these book launch webinars on YouTube.

For Leaders

Inspiring Next Innovation Purpose,

Available on Amazon Watch on YouTube                               

For Innovators

Inspiring Next Innovation Value Chain,

Available on Amazon Watch on YouTube  

For Managers

Inspiring Next Innovation Framework,

Available on Amazon Watch on YouTube     

For Leaders

Inspiring Next Innovation Mindset,

Available on Amazon Watch on YouTube

To engage with the author – please register for upcoming virtual sessions.