After attending Gigaom Change recently, I walked away with an appreciation of those companies willing to take big risks on under the radar technologies that will dramatically impact our world over the next five to 10 years. One area that stuck out was 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing.
The possibilities of 3D printing seem endless (not to mention storytelling opportunities), most recently a team of researchers from Northwestern University shared they have developed a 3D-printable ink that produces synthetic bone material, to help with implantation surgery.
But who is bringing it to the masses? We heard from an impressive panel of experts who are focused on just that at the conference.
There were several themes that emerged from the panel that show the potential power of 3D printing:
While the panel barely scratched the surface of what is to come for 3D printing, it is evident that innovation can happen in any industry, if companies are willing to take a chance. People may have told UPS that 3D printing was going to reduce the amount of business they would get on logistics; and told HP that printers were a dying breed – but both companies instead saw change as a great opportunity to evolve and become better businesses. Brands need to decide if they are the drivers of their own motion or if they are responding and most importantly articulate their position and authentically deliver the promise to their customers.