The Fifth Wave: The Sustainability Age and New Industrial Revolution

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Humans lived a nomadic lifestyle for 150,000 years until the agricultural revolution around 11,700 years ago. The second wave – the industrial revolution was initiated by discovery of electricity leading to exponential growth in production. The third wave, characterized by innovations in information technology and internet changed human lifestyle fundamentally and generated a new five trillion-dollar IT industry. The fourth wave is characterized by structural change based on digital networks. Meanwhile, growth and growth potential sometimes can be a trade-off. Growth came at the cost of further worsening climate change, energy and demographic crises. As a response to address these challenges, the fifth wave is characterized by sustainable growth so that myopic growth does not depreciate growth potential. This article discusses discerning factors of the fifth wave and its implications. In addition, this article introduces a new framework ‘Business Sustainability Matrix’ that classifies businesses based on demand potential, sustainability and their subsequent impact on economic potential in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Engineering Management Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • agricultural revolution
  • Agriculture
  • business sustainability matrix
  • Climate change
  • corporate social responsibility
  • CSR
  • energy
  • Energy management
  • environment
  • environmental impact
  • Environmental monitoring
  • environmental sustainability
  • ESG
  • Fifth Industrial Revolution
  • fifth industrial revolution
  • Fifth wave
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • human centeredness
  • Human factors
  • industrial revolution
  • innovation
  • Social factors
  • Social implications of technology
  • social sustainability
  • sustainability
  • Sustainable development
  • technology


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