Conditions Watch: 3D Printing


A vital element of the Resilient Futures approach is awareness of emerging conditions. Without this capability, the pursuit of opportunity and management of risk becomes a stab in the dark. One such condition we are watching is 3D Printing.

Over the past 12 months the term 3D printing has emerged in media and is now a hot dinner party topic. But what are the emergent changes behind 3D printing?

3D Printing is but one of a vanguard of technologies and methodologies behind the micro manufacturing revolution that includes rapid prototyping, globally distributed design/manufacture/distribution, small batch manufacturing and crowd sourced marketing and fundraising. Add to this the growth of Techshop – a pay as you go ‘delicatessen’ and we are watching, first-hand, the reinvention of manufacturing.

Imagine – being able to print out objects whereby you can: make one or make many at a scaled down cost; provide spare parts that save on inventory and distribution costs; gain just-in-time customised supply of complex objects (in any material), and construct houses from concrete in a few days.

3D Printing is a game changer that will impact every organisation or industry in some way, and all organisations should be considering its impact and consequent change in operating conditions.