An acceleration in tools, techniques and approaches to design and manufacturing is occurring right now and many of us are almost completely unaware, unless we’ve been paying attention. These revolutionary developments have been quietly shaping the future of both design and manufacturing and will undoubtedly impact the way you work and what you deliver going forward.
From crowdsourced designs being utilized by a company like Threadless.com (background) to 3D printing for advanced and rapid prototyping, organizations around the world are leveraging the connected innovation we all have access to with a computer and an internetwork that are sending our thoughts, ideas, designs, photos, videos and more around the globe at the speed of electrons.
This is one reason why we were so pleased to see a White House initiative to launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) and realize that this will benefit all of our clients and customers as innovations in design thinking, production methodologies and models are created and made widely available. According to the White House announcement, “Investing in technologies, such as information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, will support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development. The President’s plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, will invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort. The President believes that even as we live within our means, we must invest to win the future.”
The White House blog had this post in advance of the President’s speech at Carnegie Mellon last Friday with this photo of an Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (known as “DARPA”) project which leveraged connected innovation to accelerate innovation with defense needs:
“The look of that vehicle isn’t the only cool thing about it: it’s also the product of a new approach to manufacturing, which has the potential to reduce the overall process by a factor a five. Rather than the usual contracting model that takes several years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (known as “DARPA”) asked a small company in Arizona, Local Motors, to fulfill the challenge in a little over four months. With only four weeks for planning, Local Motors democratized the process by receiving 162 high quality designs from hundreds of entrepeneurs and spent fourteen weeks building the car. The efficiency of the DARPA challenge reveals the potential impact of crowd-sourcing and small businesses on advanced manufacturing at the Department of Defense.”
We’re seeing this “mass collaboration” trend accelerate and there is yet another new book on the subject from prolific author and speaker Don Tapscott called “Macrowikinomics“. Though panned by some as too timid in wrestling with the big issues of companies and governments trying to control connectedness (and therefore innovation) on the internet, I would argue that Tapscott achieved his goal: to get people to think about what it means to business when people and systems are connected and how that is accelerating design and manufacturing…and much more.
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