Theo H Veldsman

(Project Leader)


Rise of the 4th Industrial Revolution with its challenge to IOP

At present we are in the throes of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).  By all estimation, the 4IR will sweep across all spheres of life as we know them currently – particularly the workplace – thus radically transforming them. In short, 4IR can be characterised by the acronym DIVAS:

Digitisation, Interconnectivity, Virtualisation, Automation and Smart.

Within the ambit of IOP’s scope of study and practice embracing the psychology of the working person, the work place and their fit, the overarching future challenge to us will be how to design technology enabled, productive, humane work places, that is able to satisfy the basic needs of people for meaning (or purpose); efficacy; fulfilment; belonging; and existence. This is probably going to be THE future challenge to IOPs.

Launch of a SIOPSA research project into the 4IR workplace of the future

It is with great excitement that I can announce that SIOPSA has approved a research project with me as Project Leader aimed at uncovering what the humane workplace of the future need to look like within the frame of the radical 4IR transformation. In the process, concurrently uncovering the necessary realignments of our profession in all its facets – in focus, content, and mode of delivery – to the future workplace in order to make and keep our profession future-fit. Additionally, the project will be funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology.

Two Search Conference Days – Five work streams

The research project is made up of five work streams, simultaneously pursued, each led by a senior IOP and a younger, IOP with at least 5-8 years of experience:

Work stream 1:          Expected future world of work

Work stream 2:          The IOP Profession’s response to the future workplace

Work stream 3:          Professional ethics of the future

Work stream 4:          Future-required IOP training and development

Work stream 5:          Needed IOP research regarding 4IR


Intended Research Process – future search conferencing, open space methodology

The research work streams will be addressed through a twofold, combined research process over several months: future search conferencing, using open space methodology. The purpose of future search conferencing is to explore collaboratively in large, knowledgeable, groups possible futures, and fit-for-purpose responses to the challenges of identified futures.

Two, One-Day Future Search Conferences


21 May 2020

Exploration collaboratively by up to 100 IOPs of the emerging DIVAS world of work w.r.t. the above five research work streams. The exploration will be facilitated by the Work Stream Leaders of the respective work streams.


20 August 2020

Critically validation, extension and deepening with the same/ different 100 IOPs of the written-up insights gained from Future Search Conference 1. The finalised output from the research process will be shared in a comprehensive, four-hour Symposium at our 22nd Annual SIOPSA Conference with further enrichment and extension in order to arrive at a finalised outcome.


Expected Outcome of the Research Project

The expected research outcome will be a ‘white’ paper – a position paper – to serve as a critical, future-referenced policy document to direct and guide the IOP as science-practice – in the academic, research and practice spheres – with the aim of making and keeping IOP future-fit. But also, to provide input into the SA national initiative regarding 4IR. The report may also be published as a book.

The position paper will be shared as widely as possible through the SIOPSA structures; the social media; conference presentations; articles – academic and popular; workshops/sessions with universities IOP Departments and IOP practitioner forums; and national policy forums.

Your contribution and attendance will be valued

The two Future Search Conferences will be restricted to IOPs who either are currently undertaking in depth research (inclusive of intense reading)  into the DIVAS infused work place of the future, or are in practice setting up such work places in their organisations (a maximum of 100 IOPs in total at each Conference, who can be the same or different).

It is critical to note that the Conferences are about collaborative information sharing, and NOT about merely attending to listen and take away. This will happen at the Future Workplace Symposium at our 22nd Annual SIOPSA Conference.  So, as an earnest appeal, please select or deselect yourself honestly accordingly from attending the conferences, given the above attendance prerequisite.

Attendees will be acknowledged by name in the final report.

Be part of an exciting initiative to make IOP future-fit!!

Conference Information and Booking

Dates Conference One: 21 May 2020*
  Conference Two: 20 August  2020*

*Attendance of both days is recommended, but not compulsory.

Time 08:30 to 16:30
Venue: St George’s Hotel, Irene, Pretoria (next to R21, at the Nellmapius off-ramp)
Conference Fee R 100 per conference
Inquiries: Please send an email to Marissa: IOPFutureFit@siopsa.org.za

Special request:  One of the outcomes of the research project is to create an extensive Fourth Industrial Literature Database.  Please bring along any references regarding the 4IR that you have found useful.

Book here for Conference Workshop One
Book here for Conference Workshop Two