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The service sector, a major contributor to GDP in most Asian Productivity Organization (APO) member countries, is undergoing a major change with the emergence of newer digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and advances in mobile platforms. These service-sector innovations can result in quantum leaps in productivity if organizations are able to harness employees’ creativity effectively to create hybrid work cultures.
To create awareness of the latest technological developments in the era of Industry 4.0 and their impact on the service sector and lifestyles, the APO organized a multicountry observational study mission on ICT Innovation in the Service Sector in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 7–10 January 2018. The mission, conducted in cooperation with the National Productivity Organisation of Bangladesh, was attended by 20 participants from 13 APO member economies, including representatives from the government, public and private sectors, and national productivity organizations.
Addressing the inaugural session, APO Director for Bangladesh and Ministry of Industries Secretary Muhammad Abdullah emphasized that in the era of Industry 4.0, eco-friendly economic development and sustainable productivity were important issues. He thanked the APO for the opportunity to host the mission and mentioned that the country had developed a national strategic plan for Digital Bangladesh aimed at utilizing ICT innovations to improve services in both the government and private sectors.
Program Officer Jun Ho Kim of the APO Secretariat Industry Department delivered a special lecture during the opening session. Explaining what organizations needed to do to sustain productivity enhancement in the new digital era, he introduced the overall concept of Industry 4.0 and key technologies for smart initiatives. Kim also touched upon the benefits and impact of newer technologies on sustainable productivity and their role in driving efforts to achieve it.
The study mission was conducted by three APO-assigned international experts: Global Management Center Head Kazuteru Kuroda of the Japan Productivity Center; Director of Global Cooperation Sehyeon Baek of the Creative Economy and Innovation Center, ROK; and National Taiwan University Professor Chia-shen Chen. While the study mission included classroom sessions on ICT in relation to services, the experts also helped participants analyze current ICT policies in their countries and led discussions on how ICT innovations could boost productivity efforts by the service sector. High-tech Park Kaliaqoir hosted a visit to demonstrate Digital Bangladesh initiatives in action.