strategy+businessISSUE 64 AUTUMN 2011A Strategist’s Guideto Digital FabricationRapid advances in manufacturing technology ...
A Strategist’s                                      Digital Fabricfeatures operations & manufacturing        1            ...
Guide toation                                                                                                             ...
Tom Igoe                           Catarina Mota                     Previous pages:                                      ...
Most digital fabrication devices can              follow designs created by people using                     mainstream pr...
All of these objects were created                                                                                         ...
More than 10 million 3-D-printed hearing aids                                                                             ...
As early as 2020, every auto dealership                                                 and home improvement retailer may ...
For example, many large manufacturers have separated         you to shorten product life cycles and make rapid im-high-exp...
Are there enough interested customers to justify                                                                          ...
PINs for later extraction. The proprietors of i.materialise   responsive production networks. Unions might helprefused to ...
strategy+business magazineis published by Booz & Company Inc.To subscribe, visit www.strategy-business.comor call 1-877-82...
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A Strategist's Guide to Digital Fabrication

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Digital fabrication devices (such as 3-D printers) are doing to manufacturing what the Internet has done to information-based goods and services. For example, a 3-D printer generated a bust of Beethoven in less than two hours, using a design uploaded to Thingiverse.com by a contributor identified only as “dino-girl.” Here are the changes to consider before this innovation takes hold.

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Transcript of "A Strategist's Guide to Digital Fabrication"

  1. 1. strategy+businessISSUE 64 AUTUMN 2011A Strategist’s Guideto Digital FabricationRapid advances in manufacturing technology point the waytoward a decentralized, more customer-centric “maker” culture.Here are the changes to consider before this innovation takes hold.BY TOM IGOE ANDCATARINA MOTAREPRINT 11307
  2. 2. A Strategist’s Digital Fabricfeatures operations & manufacturing 1 by Tom Igoe and Catarina Mota Rapid advances in manufacturing technology point the way toward a decentralized, more customer- centric “maker” culture. Here are the changes to consider before this innovation takes hold.
  3. 3. Guide toation features operations & manufacturing 2 At a research meeting in late 2010, a primatologist business models. Ten units of a comb — or an auto- studying monkey genetics took a tour of a university’s mobile component, a book, a toy, or any industrially digital fabrication shop. She mentioned that her field produced item — typically cost a lot more per unit to research had stalled because a specialized plastic comb, produce than 10,000 would. The price per unit goes used in DNA analysis of organic samples, had broken. down even more if you make 100,000, and much morePhotographs © Derek Quenneville The primatologist had exhausted her research budget if you make 10 million. But what happens to conven- and couldn’t afford a new one, but she happened to be tional manufacturing business models, or to the very carrying the old comb with her. One of the students in concept of economies of scale, when millions of manu- the shop, an architect by training, asked to borrow it. factured items are made, sold, and distributed one unit He captured its outline with a desktop scanner, and took at a time? We’re about to find out. a piece of scrap acrylic from a shelf. Booting up a laptop The rapidly evolving field of digital fabrication, attached to a laser cutter, he casually asked, “How many which was barely known to most business strategists do you want?” as recently as early 2010, is beginning to do to manu- This question is central to most manufacturing facturing what the Internet has done to information-
  4. 4. Tom Igoe Catarina Mota Previous pages: tom.igoe@nyu.edu catarinamfmota@gmail.com A 3-D printer generates a is an associate arts professor is a Ph.D. candidate at the bust of Beethoven in less than at New York University’s Faculdade de Ciencias Sociais two hours, using a design Interactive Telecommunica- e Humanas Universidade Nova uploaded to Thingiverse.com tions Program (NYU-ITP), de Lisboa and a fellow at the by a contributor identified where he oversees research International Collaboratory only as “dino-girl.” and teaching related to the for Emerging Technologies, a physical design of computer partnership between the Sci- interfaces and sustainable ence and Technology Founda- practices in technology develop- tion of Portugal (FCT-MCTES) ment. He is the author of Mak- and the University of Texas at ing Things Talk (O’Reilly Media, Austin. She is cofounder of the 2007), and a cofounder of openMaterials research group Arduino LLC, an open source (www.openmaterials.org). microcontroller platform. based goods and services. Just as video went from a tiny companies are often started with little or no exter- handful of broadcast networks to millions of produc- nal funding; the proprietors tend to work from plans ers on YouTube within a decade, and music went from encoded in software that are often openly available forfeatures managementfeatures operations & manufacturing record companies to GarageBand and Bandcamp.com, download on the Web. a transition from centralized production to a “maker Digital fabrication also continues to attract press culture” of dispersed manufacturing innovation is un- attention — in part because of stunts designed for der way today. Millions of customers consume manu- that purpose. For example, in 2009, Stratasys teamed factured goods, and now a small but growing number up with a Canadian automotive company called Kor are producing, designing, and marketing them as well. Ecologic Inc. to announce the hybrid Urbee, the first As operations, product development, and distribution automobile with a body fabricated by 3-D printers; in processes evolve under the influence of this new disrup- 2010, the laser-sintering company EOS (a privately held tive technology, manufacturing innovation will further business founded near Munich in 1989) manufactured expand from the chief technology officer’s purview to a violin within just a few hours. In the long term, many that of the consumer, with potentially enormous impact aspects of today’s conventional supply chain are likely to on the business models of today’s manufacturers. change. But even in the next few years, digital fabrica- Some early signs of change are visible in the de- tion technology — and the way it is used — will pose velopment and use of relatively low-cost digital fabri- new and unusual challenges for conventional manufac- 46 3 cation devices. The leading producers of these tools turers, both large and small. It also represents enormous are firms like 3D Systems (a US$51 million maker of opportunities for brand building, cost saving, consumer 3-D printers founded in 1986 and based in Rock Hill, outreach, innovation, and global competitiveness: in S.C.), Stratasys (a $117 million printer-maker founded short, for a manufacturing business model that no lon- in 1986, based in Eden Prairie, Minn.), and Epilog ger depends only on economies of scale. Laser (a privately held company founded in 1988 in Golden, Colo.). Their products were originally used for Tools of Change rapid prototyping, giving mainstream manufacturers The first step in building this new manufacturing busi- and university researchers the means to test concepts ness model is to take stock of the new fabrication tools. and identify problems early in the design cycle. Now, Digital fabrication devices fall into two categories. The the devices are being applied to end-product manufac- first is programmable subtractive tools, which carve turing by a burgeoning number of small-scale manu- shapes from raw materials. These include laser cutters strategy+business issue 64 facturers and one-person factories. In mid-2010, 3D (which cut flat sheets of wood, acrylic, metal, cardboard, Systems and Stratasys reported on the information site and other light materials), computer numerical control MakePartsFast.com that more than 40 percent of their (CNC) routers and milling machines (which use drills customers used digital fabrication tools to manufacture to produce three-dimensional shapes), and cutters that not just prototypes, but end products and parts. These use plasma or water jets to shape material.
  5. 5. Most digital fabrication devices can follow designs created by people using mainstream programs like Adobe Illustrator or even iPad apps. The second category is additive tools, which are software and extensive training. They can follow de-primarily computer-controlled 3-D printers that build signs created by people using mainstream programsobjects layer by layer, in a process known as fused de- like Adobe Illustrator or even using iPad apps; the tech- features title of the article features operations & manufacturingposition modeling. They work with a wide variety of niques can be learned in an afternoon.materials: thermoplastics, ceramics, resins, glass, and To be sure, digital fabrication tools have limits.powdered metals. Technically known as “additive rapid Currently, they are best suited to production runs ofmanufacturing” devices, 3-D printers also use lasers 1,000 items or less. Although a few high-end routersor electron beams to selectively shape the source mate- and cutters are fast enough to produce dozens of prod-rial into its final form. Because additive devices require ucts in an hour, 3-D printers can’t yet make goods withlittle setup time, they make possible the production of the same speed as traditional injection molding. Someany quantity at the same cost per unit, and also allow 3-D printers can combine different types of plastic (toeasy, rapid switching between products. A single ma- make, for example, a hairbrush with a hard plastic bodychine can shift from making combs to making clamps and soft bristles), but this kind of hybrid printing is stillto making iPhone stands within minutes. In some cases, a high-end process. Most can handle only one type ofa 3-D printer can fabricate in a single piece an object material at a time. Metals and other nonplastic materi-that would otherwise have to be manufactured in sev- als require specialized devices. Thus far, no digital fab-eral parts and then assembled. And because it composes rication device, professional or personal, can efficiently 47 4objects bit by bit, instead of carving them from larger produce in one fell swoop a complex multi-materialblocks, additive manufacturing considerably reduces the product such as a mobile phone.waste of materials. For these reasons, no one expects digital fabrication Additive technologies have been following a path to replace conventional manufacturing anytime soon.comparable to that of Moore’s Law; the capabilities of According to a 2010 report from the technology marketthe devices are growing and the cost is decreasing expo- research firm Wohlers Associates Inc., the most com-nentially. In 2001, the cheapest 3-D printer was priced mon applications of the technology are the productionat $45,000; by 2005, the cost had dropped to $22,900, of functional models, prototype components and pat-and now you can buy a professional 3-D printer for terns (used for tooling or to test fit and assembly), andless than $10,000, an open source personal version visual aids. All of these are areas where production runsfor less than $4,000, and a desktop do-it-yourself kit for of one unit are often necessary. Nonetheless, even theseless than $1,500. Subtractive tools, such as laser cutters early forms of digital fabrication could become highlyand CNC routers, have also become more affordable, disruptive to conventional manufacturing practices.mostly because manufacturers have produced models to How is one factory making 1 million units differ-fit the low-volume needs (and lower budgets) of small ent from 10,000 factories making 100 units? For onebusinesses, schools, and individuals. Most of these digi- thing, the 10,000 factories offer the safety and abilitytal fabrication devices no longer require custom CAD to experiment that comes with redundancy. For an-
  6. 6. All of these objects were created with 3-D printers (clockwise from top left): a bracelet with a coral-features managementfeatures operations & manufacturing like texture, soles for running shoes, a model of cellular dynamics, jewelry modeled after radiolaria (amoeboid protozoa), an architectur- al model of a proposed skyscraper, a tooth model created by scanning a person’s mouth, and an orthopedic implant. 48 5 other, they offer proximity to local customers, and thus dustry that requires mass customization because every useful information about their needs and wants. person’s body is different. Wohlers estimated the 2009 Having a large number of small shops immediately at revenues from 3-D-printed medical devices at $157 hand ensures that when one shop is not available, an- million. British manufacturing expert Phil Reeves says other can be brought into service. The rapid tooling more than 10 million 3-D-printed hearing aids are in turnaround afforded by digital fabrication means that circulation worldwide (it takes just an hour and a half each shop can change production runs for different to fabricate one), along with more than 500,000 3-D- clients as needed. The ability to augment mass produc- printed dental implants. Medical researchers are using tion with highly customized components and parts, to fabricators to turn CT and MRI scans into 3-D models reduce inventory by making components on demand, and, at a still very experimental level, to “bioprint” ar- strategy+business issue 64 or to make setup changes more rapidly at a lower cost, tificial bones, blood vessels, and even kidneys layer by could dramatically affect supply chain design, finance, layer from living tissue. Established manufacturers still and management. have the upper hand when it comes to larger quantities The potential for transforming manufacturing or complex assembly. That could change, however, as business models is most evident in healthcare, an in- the devices foster new waves of experimentation. 
  7. 7. More than 10 million 3-D-printed hearing aids are in circulation worldwide. It takes just an hour and a half to fabricate one.RIGHT COLUMN, TOP: © Jessica Rosenkrantz/www.n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com; BOTTOM: © Sarah St Clair Renard/www.n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com Open Source Manufacturing iPhone accessories (Glif), jewelry (Nervous System), Probably the most disruptive element of this technol- cases for prosthetic limbs (Bespoke), and other products ogy is not the tools themselves, but the maker culture such as kitchenware, toys, and furniture. They generally features title of the article features operations & manufacturing — the community of people who sell, use, and adapt make their goods on demand, with short production Jessica Rosenkrantz/www.n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com; MIDDLE: © 3D Systems; BOTTOM: © 3D Systems the tools of digital fabrication. This community is, in runs, catering to both local and global markets. effect, a self-organizing global supply chain, consisting The makers who start and run these enterprises of hundreds of interlinked businesses, user groups, on- don’t work alone. Nor do they rely on university or line shopping sites, and social media environments. On- company labs, as innovators did in the past. Instead, line fabrication services such as i.materialise (a Belgian they are forming open source collaboratives and work- company founded in 1990) and Sculpteo (a Paris-based shops that take advantage of the dropping costs of digi- service founded in 2009) provide on-demand 3-D print- tal fabrication and the connectivity of social media. In ing and laser cutting in small volumes and at rates that the past few years, many informal workshop collabora- are affordable to individuals. Customers upload a digital tives have sprung up around the world. These spaces design and receive the corresponding physical object by are not centrally owned or organized, but they share mail a few days later. Ponoko (a New Zealand startup information collectively and help one another advance. founded in 2007) and Shapeways (a Netherlands-based One such operation, TechShop, has six locations in the spin-off of Philips Electronics) go one step farther: They United States and markets itself with the slogan “Build 49 6 are supply chain management tools for garage inventors, your dreams here.” Another group, the community fab- Z Corporation; BOTTOM: © Z Corporation enabling creators to exchange plans and instructions, rication spaces called Fab Labs, is affiliated with MIT’s coordinate production, and sell their designs and fabri- Center for Bits and Atoms; there are 50 Fab Labs in cated objects directly to the public. 16 countries. Even more numerous are “hackerspaces”: Complementing these businesses are open reposi- community-organized workshops that share an ethic tories like Thingiverse, a website created and managed of collaboration and information sharing on tools and by MakerBot, a New York–based manufacturer of 3-D processes. The world map on hackerspaces.org registers printers that was founded in 2009. At Thingiverse, peo- about 500 of these collectives. Centers for bio-fabrica- ple can freely download one another’s designs and pro- tion also exist; the New York–based Genspace offers the gramming code for such ubiquitous products as gears, tools to perform synthetic biology experiments, DNA bottle openers, and coat hooks. Distributed manufac- analysis, and more. turing networks like Makerfactory and 100kGarages Within the maker culture, people are expected to MIDDLE COLUMN, TOP: ©LEFT COLUMN, TOP: © enable the communities further by connecting digital publish their plans and specifications, typically under fabricators with potential customers, allowing custom- an open source license, which allows others to copy, ers to post job requests that are then bid on by individ- adapt, and learn from the designs, always with credit ual fabricators. There are also successful new small en- and mutual access to ideas. Makers tend to design their terprises using digital fabrication to make customizable business models accordingly. They make short runs of
  8. 8. As early as 2020, every auto dealership and home improvement retailer may have a backroom production shop printing out parts and tools. each product and make frequent changes based on cus- source licenses, adds that many shan zhai companies tomer feedback; two makers might work together easily share information about materials and other design while creating competing products that draw on each elements, and credit one another with improvements.features managementfeatures operations & manufacturing other’s specifications. As do other maker groups, the shan zhai community Many successful manufacturing startups are enforces this policy itself and ostracizes those who emerging from this community, with strong ties to its violate it. open source ethic. SparkFun Electronics Inc., founded Already, digitally enabled open source manufactur- in 2003 in Boulder, Colo., makes electronic component ing is changing the way people think about the produc- modules and devices. Its revenues reached $18 million tion and use of goods. As Eric von Hippel, a professor in 2010. Makerbot and Arduino (based in Chiasso, of technological innovation at MIT’s Sloan School of Switzerland, and making microcontroller modules) had Management, put it in his book Democratizing Innova- revenues of more than $1 million each, and Adafruit In- tion (MIT Press, 2005): “User-centered innovation pro- dustries (New York, electronics kits and sensors) report- cesses offer great advantages over the manufacturer-cen- ed sales of well over $2 million. The Arduino microcon- tric…systems that have been the mainstay of commerce troller board, an open source microcontroller platform, for hundreds of years. Users that innovate can develop sold almost 300,000 units in its first seven years, and exactly what they want, rather than relying on manu- has spawned dozens of derivative products because its facturers to act as their (often very imperfect) agents. 50 7 design is freely available for copying and innovation. Moreover, individual users do not have to develop ev- Open source software is already a billion-dollar busi- erything they need on their own: they can benefit from ness, and Adafruit partner Phillip Torrone estimates innovations developed and freely shared by others.” that open source hardware will reach that threshold This change is likely to translate into greater levels by 2015. (Torrone is also an editor of Make magazine, of product and process innovation. Von Hippel notes which is devoted to the maker culture.) that “users were the developers of about 80 percent of  A noteworthy parallel to, and inspiration for, the the most important scientific instrument innovations, Western maker community is the shan zhai movement and also the developers of most of the major innova- in China. These fast-moving “knockoff” manufactur- tions in semiconductor processing.” And it will make ers are genuinely innovative in their own right. They supply chains more robust: As small shops and home respond to local needs and tastes, they make continual shops come online and share information, networks of improvements in their products, and they repeatedly in- vendors grow more dense, more diverse, and less depen- strategy+business issue 64 vest in future developments. (See “Knockoffs Come of dent on any one supplier or region. Age,” by Edward Tse, Kevin Ma, and Yu Huang, s+b, Autumn 2009.) Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, vice presi- Lessons for Large Manufacturers dent of engineering for Chumby, an Internet browsing/ Any disruptive innovation requires changes in basic op- receiving device whose plans are published under open erating practices, and digital fabrication is no exception.
  9. 9. For example, many large manufacturers have separated you to shorten product life cycles and make rapid im-high-expense “creative” or “innovative” R&D from low- provements. Limor Fried, founder of Adafruit, notescost production processes. But in the maker commu- that you can sell 2,000 of anything on the Internet withnity, those two practices are merging again. The changes little effort. If you can finance development by plan-to come will accelerate moves that some leading manu- ning a run that size, you can innovate at a profit. Digitalfacturers are already making: toward open source in- fabrication tools make it easy to swap in new features,novation, flexible production, and knowledge-intensive change the production line, or restart production of oldproduction lines. If you are a mainstream manufacturer products if demand resurfaces. In this environment, it’sintending to become a leader in this new environment, helpful to think of product planning as designing a con-here are some directions worth considering. tinuous information flow, rather than designing sepa- • Prepare now for the capabilities you’ll need when rately launched objects.some of your products are digitally fabricated. As early For other items, such as commonly used products,as 2020, every auto dealership and home improvement exploit the competitive advantage that scale provides.retailer may have a backroom production shop printing Whether it’s the mounting bolt used in all camera tri-out parts and tools as needed. Manufacturers that figure pods, the USB cables that connect to more and moreout how to make their wares out of printable compos- electronic devices, or the ubiquitous aluminum drinkites, investing now in the requisite changes in materials, can, things that are universally compatible and con-could have a considerable advantage. sumed in large quantities will always be needed. Be- features title of the article features operations & manufacturing One way to gain skills and experience is to par- cause standards hold a complex system together, theyticipate in fabrication-oriented supply chain networks, must be openly available, clearly defined, and changedleasing out excess capacity to smaller manufacturers or only when necessary. This makes them good anchorstartups or using those customers to diversify your ex- products for large manufacturers that have capable sup-isting business. SparkFun has done this for clients that ply chains.want small numbers of custom-printed circuit boards, • Counter reverse engineering with open innova-spinning off a business called BatchPCB.com, which tion. Digital fabrication will inevitably enable amateuraggregates small circuit-board jobs into larger batches enthusiasts to knock off and alter commercial productsfor mass production. For the end customer, it means in their garages. Although it’s unlikely that any one in-waiting a few more days for the board, but at a drasti- dividual will replicate complex goods such as laptops,cally reduced price. cameras, or cars in large quantities, the Internet is al- Experience suggests that your own company’s ca- ready flooded with blueprints for customizing consumerpabilities will improve when your employees get their goods, repurposing game controllers, and replacinghands on the tools of fabrication. For the past 50 years, broken parts. Just like the music and movie industries, 51 8the separation of manufacturing from R&D has pro- manufacturers now face a choice between engaging induced engineering graduates with too little hands-on eternal court battles with their own customers and as-manufacturing experience. Now that fabrication tools similating this new culture of sharing and remixing intoare increasingly driven by digital information, the two their design and production processes.functions can work more closely together. Many fac- Deploy the new tools to help consumers adapttory-floor workers are already highly skilled at read- and personalize their products, and use this to learning and interpreting design files and operating and about their unspoken wants and needs. There are al-maintaining machinery, and should be seen as allies in ready several examples to emulate. Quirky.com, a siteadapting shop processes to match new tools. As com- where inventors can propose their ideas for fabrication,puter-controlled fabrication tools become more flex- invites the 35,000-plus members of its community toible and product runs become shorter, a typical factory vote on whether a product should be made. The result isworker might be making tripod handles in the morning imaginative devices and housewares as varied as preci-and watchbands in the afternoon, and the gap between sion plungers, cord organizers, and new types of SwissR&D and manufacturing will narrow. Army–style knives. Customers whose ideas are manu- • Establish a hybrid product line that mixes com- factured get a cut of the profits.plementary mass-production and individual-production The Microsoft Corporation has learned from cus-items. For some objects, digital fabrication will allow tomer innovation on its Kinect sensor, a popular acces-
  10. 10. Are there enough interested customers to justify such efforts? One 2010 research study of United King- dom consumers, conducted by Eric von Hippel, Jeroen De Jong, and Steven Flowers, found that 2.9 million people, or 6.2 percent of the nation’s adult population, have taken part in some form of consumer product in- novation since 2006. “In aggregate,” they wrote, “con- sumers’ annual product development expenditures are 2.3 times larger than the annual consumer product sory for its Xbox 360 game console that allows games to R&D expenditures of all firms in the UK combined.” track and respond to people’s body motions. Just after • Help in the development of new and better mate- the Kinect’s North American introduction, Adafruit rials for fabrication. Independent fabricators are eagerfeatures managementfeatures operations & manufacturing announced a competition for an alternative open source for materials, and they are experimenting fervently. driver for the device. This started a frenzy of “Kinect Forward-thinking manufacturers can form powerful hacking,” generating numerous novel applications for partnerships by making their scrap materials available the device — including 3-D mapping for robotic de- for experimentation. vices, 3-D holographic images, and many other appli- Advanced materials emerging today include con- cations. The Kinect, which was originally marketed as ductive thermopolymers and inks (useful for printing just a sophisticated video game controller, could thus be electronic circuits), organic semiconductors, metal fila- made into a motion-detection device with endless ap- ments with low melting points, and paper pulp that can plications, appealing to a much broader customer base. feed into 3-D printers for additive packaging. The list Although Microsoft initially threatened legal action, it grows daily, and materials information is ever-more- ultimately chose to capitalize on the excitement. (It later readily available on open access blogs such as formloves- turned out that Johnny Chung Lee, a member of the function.com and openmaterials.org. Kinect design team, had financed the original Adafruit Better materials are particularly needed to reduce competition without asking permission from the com- waste and hazard at the end of a product’s life, espe- 52 9 pany.) Microsoft now provides a software development cially because the faster production cycles of digital fab- kit to cultivate its “unofficial” Kinect developers. rication may lead to increasing numbers of discarded Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) also combines propri- products. Ultimately, the disposal of goods is a problem etary and open source products in its portfolio. Its open of information and logistics. Recyclers need to know source products include the Beagle Board, a low-cost what’s in a product to break it down into component computer-processing device with the computational materials safely. The companies that manage assembly capabilities of a typical smartphone or tablet computer. of a product can (and, in our opinion, should) partner Jason Kridner of BeagleBoard.org, a developer com- with recyclers, providing the information needed to munity that includes several TI employees, told Make safely and profitably disassemble it into raw materials. magazine editor Phil Torrone, “The revenues on board • Be prepared for new misuses of technology. The sales are in excess of $1 million annually and continue most troubling side of digital fabrication is the poten- to rise, but the business model here is one of enabling tial for new forms of crime and abuse. In June 2010, strategy+business issue 64 the technology partners, not making money off the i.materialise.com received an order for a custom skim- board sales. That said, all parties in the value chain are mer, a card-reading device that fastens to the card slot making money off the board sales — and this helps to on an ATM. Cleverly designed skimmers can look just keep the ecosystem alive where people can participate at like part of the machine. Every time a customer inserts almost any level.” a debit card, the skimmer copies the card numbers and
  11. 11. PINs for later extraction. The proprietors of i.materialise responsive production networks. Unions might helprefused to fabricate the skimmer, but other 3-D printing their laid-off members become entrepreneurs, provid-services may not be as ethical. ing group buying power for health insurance as well Disruption has its downsides. A diversified supply as materials and services. Whether digital fabricationchain, more widespread manufacturing literacy, and will have this kind of transformative effect on troubledchanging intellectual property practices will inevita- economies isn’t known; indeed, no one can predictbly bring new forms of abuse and mishap. Regulations exactly how the new, disruptive technology will playand conventional law enforcement might not be agile out. But we can already guess at the capabilities thator thorough enough to keep up. Manufacturing as an will be needed by manufacturers to win in this newindustry will need to promote new best practices and game. The history of digital technology suggests thatprofessional norms — in collaboration with a more en- the winners will be those that embrace decentralizedgaged customer base and a wider range of manufactur- models, exchanging the kinds of information, materi- features title of the article features operations & manufacturinging, distribution, and reclamation partners. als, fabrication processes, knowledge, and labor that, for the first time, can travel freely across a network ofThe Future of Detroit avid makers. +Taken as a whole, digital fabrication and information Reprint No. 11307sharing herald a diversification of the manufacturingecosystem. Economies of scale will still exist. Largemanufacturers that adapt will benefit significantly. Notevery customer will be a maker. Most will be happyto purchase products created by others, but they willchoose from among a far greater number of producersand innovators. Remember that despite the popularityof file sharing, the music and movie industries are not Resourcesdying. The mainstream producers of goods may face Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone, “Million Dollar Baby,” 2010, wwwsimilar challenges and opportunities. .adafruit.com/pt/fooeastignite2010.pdf : Overview presentation of open 10 53 To Dale Dougherty, publisher of Make magazine, source hardware companies by Adafruit.Detroit represents the prototypical city of the future Phillip Torrone, “Open Source Hardware 2009,” 2009, http://blogfor digitally enabled manufacturing. Detroit has a large .makezine.com/archive/2009/12/open-source-hardware-2009-the-def .htm: List and overview of open source hardware projects in existencepopulation in need of employment, knowledge of a in 2009.wide range of manufacturing techniques, and a surplus Edward Tse, Kevin Ma, and Yu Huang, “Knockoffs Come of Age,” s+b,of affordable real estate. In July 2010, Dougherty con- Autumn 2009, www.strategy-business.com/article/09315: Introduc-vened the first of a series of “Maker Faire” expos in the tion to China’s shan zhai companies and their transition from piracy to competitive innovation.Motor City (similar expos had taken place since 2006in the San Francisco Bay area and Austin, Texas). Three Eric von Hippel, Jeroen De Jong, and Steven Flowers, “2010: Compar- ing Business and Household Sector Innovation in Consumer Products:hundred and twenty-five Michigan-based manufactur- Findings from a Representative Study in the UK,” 2010: Survey of theers of products, including knitted goods, soap, machine development and modification of consumer products by product users intools, rockets, and auto components, showed off their a representative sample of 1,173 U.K. consumers age 18-plus.work to the public. Wohlers Associates, “Wohlers Report 2011,” 2011, www.wohlersassociates.com/2011report.htm: Yearly in-depth analysis of Dougherty envisions cities like Detroit fostering the additive manufacturing industry worldwide.new industries of digitally enabled fabrication. Large For more on this topic, see the s+b website at:manufacturers might outsource designs to local mi- www.strategy-business.com/operations_and_manufacturing.cro-factories, leveraging supply chains to build highly
  12. 12. strategy+business magazineis published by Booz & Company Inc.To subscribe, visit www.strategy-business.comor call 1-877-829-9108.For more information about Booz & Company,visit www.booz.comwww.strategy-business.comwww.facebook.com/strategybusiness101 Park Ave., 18th Floor, New York, NY 10178© 2011 Booz & Company Inc.

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