Is 3D printing the key to Utopia?

14. May 2012

Date: 14-05-2012
Source: The Observer

The ‘magic’ of digital manufacturing could transform our homes and the industries that serve them. But at what cost?
 Magic trick: a 3D printer makes a plastic rabbit. Photograph: David Neff

You know the problem: the dishwasher that has cleaned your dishes faithfully for 15 years suddenly stops working. You call out a repairman who identifies the problem: the filter unit has finally given up the ghost. “Ah,” you say, much relieved, “can you fit a new one?” At which point the chap shakes his head sorrowfully. No can do, he explains. The company that made the machine was taken over years ago by another outfit and they no longer supply spares for your ancient machine.

Up until now, this story would have had a predictable ending in which you sorrowfully junked your trusty dishwasher and bought a new one. But there’s an emerging technology that could change that. It’s called three-dimensional printing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why No Apple in Europe?

12. October 2011

Date: 12-10-2011

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Why doesn’t Europe have its own Apple? 

European leaders are relying on up-and-coming entrepreneurs to stimulate job creation and economic growth they desperately need to solve the debt crisis and cool social tensions, but industry watchers say rules, red tape and financial conditions are stifling the emergence of top-notch, high-growth businesses. 

The European Union’s leaders have launched programs and tax breaks to tackle these problems, but some industry experts say they fall short:

too often they focus broadly across traditional Mom-and-Pop shops and fail to hone in on young, high-growth businesses that hold the key to job creation. 

“If you’re looking for breaking new innovation and fast employment growth, which is high on the agenda now, it’s these young firms that are particularly promising,” said Andrew Wyckoff , director of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s industry directorate. There should be “a difference in policy between young firms and small firms.”  Read the rest of this entry »


Business and WikiLeaks: Be afraid

14. December 2010

 Date: 14-12-2010
 Source: The Economist
Companies must adapt to a world where no secret is safe 

THE digital archive of a big bank contains many secrets. So when WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website, promised to publish five gigabytes of files from an unnamed financial institution early next year, bankers everywhere started quaking in their hand-made shoes. And businesses were struck by an alarming thought: even if this threat proves empty, commercial secrets are no longer safe.

Smaller leaks are nothing new in the corporate world. WikiLeaks itself has already been the conduit for a few. In September 2009, for instance, it posted a leaked internal report from Trafigura, a commodities giant, discussing a hazardous waste spill in Côte d’Ivoire. In January 2008 the site released stolen documents from Julius Baer, a Swiss bank, including bank records of about 1,600 clients with accounts at a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands. The bank sued to stop WikiLeaks publishing the documents, but then dropped the suit. Read the rest of this entry »


Just Doing It

19. April 2010

    Date: 18-04-2010

  Source: THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, NYT 

You’ve heard that saying: As General Motors goes, so goes America. Thank goodness that is no longer true. I mean, I wish the new G.M. well, but our economic future is no longer tied to its fate.

No, my new motto is: As EndoStim goes, so goes America

EndoStim is a little start-up I was introduced to on a recent visit to St. Louis. The company is developing a proprietary implantable medical device to treat acid reflux. I have no idea if the product will succeed in the marketplace. It’s still in testing. What really interests me about EndoStim is how the company was formed and is being run today. It is the epitome of the new kind of start-ups we need to propel our economy: a mix of new immigrants, using old money to innovate in a flat world. 

Read the rest of this entry »


In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits

19. April 2010

By Chris Anderson, Wired, January 25, 2010  | 

In an age of open source, custom-fabricated, DIY product design, all you need to conquer the world is a brilliant idea.
Photo: Dan WintersThe door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories. 

In June, Local Motors will officially release the Rally Fighter, a $50,000 off-road (but street-legal) racer. The design was crowdsourced, as was the selection of mostly off-the-shelf components, and the final assembly will be done by the customers themselves in local assembly centers as part of a “build experience.” Several more designs are in the pipeline, and the company says it can take a new vehicle from sketch to market in 18 months, about the time it takes Detroit to change the specs on some door trim. Each design is released under a share-friendly Creative Commons license, and customers are encouraged to enhance the designs and produce their own components that they can sell to their peers. 

Read the rest of this entry »


Unbundling the 20th Century Mindset

4. August 2009

Having spent the past three years of my life in the Enterprise 2.0 / Collaborative software market, I remain struck by the industry’s continued lack of ability to define a compelling reason for enterprises to adopt new software applications, such as blogs, wikis, microblogs, etc. In the early days of the Enterprise 2.0 movement, much of this software was dismissed as the next wave of Knowledge Management, which was largely viewed as a zero ROI investment (or at least in the eyes of the venture capital community, it did not produce any break out, high return investments). Today, it is largely viewed as a necessary evil because the likes of Facebook and Twitter are impossible for the enterprise to ignore.

Aus Wikinomics


Best Buy as Wiki

5. May 2009

Aus Don Tapscott’s Blog.

Best Buy management understand that the nature of work is changing. It has become more cognitively complex, more team-based and collaborative, more dependent on social skills, more time-pressured, more reliant on technological competence, more mobile and less dependent on geography. A growing number of firms are decentralizing decision-making functions, communicating in a peer-to-peer fashion, and embracing new technologies which empower employees to communicate easily and openly with people inside and outside the firm. In doing so, they are creating new corporate meritocracy that is sweeping away the hierarchical silos in its path and connecting internal teams to a wealth of external networks.