Introduction to 3D printing

3D Printing sounds like science fiction becoming reality. The promise of objects that can appear or be created anywhere. Wherever you are. At home, across the world or in space. Any object you dreamed of can become a physical reality. And imagine 3D scanning an object and sending it to a printer, you get a 3D copy. And if your printer is far away from your scanner, some argue that this is the closes thing to teleportation we have… you get the idea. So to see what’s actually possible or not, I tried to get a better understanding of the basic possibilities of the 3D Printer.

This is the basics, he explains how 3D printing works, on his homemade 3D printer. He even 3D printed some parts of his printer the same printer.

Ok now you get it for the plastic, how about 3D printing metal objects ?

Now think of the limitess possibilities, what can you print ? Shoes ? Jewellery ?

Interested ? Well you can get a commercial, user friendly model for your home.

If you get one of those, let me know, I have a few things I would like to print 🙂

How to not innovate

Taken from 10 ways to inhibit innovation, here are 4 trends that what prevents innovation in companies.

We exploite and dont explore

Our focus on short-term results drives out ideas that take longer to mature.

Our efficiency focus eliminates free time for fresh thinking.

Incentives are geared towards maximizing today’s business and reducing risk.

Most of our resources are devoted to day-to-day business so that few remain for innovative prospects.

Organisation and roles

We do not have a standard process to nurture the development of new ideas.

Innovation is someone else’s job and not part of everyone’s responsibilities.

Managers are not trained to be innovation leaders.


Managers immediately look for flaws in new ideas rather than tease out their potential.

Innovation is someone else’s job and not part of everyone’s responsibilities.

We look at opportunities through internal lenses rather than starting with customers’ needs and problems.

Fear of cannibalizing current business – Kodak failure is a great example of this, where the film business was so lucrative that they didn’t want to launch other products that will compete with it.

Crowdsoursing your strategy

McKinsey Quarterly published an article “The social side of strategy” that includes examples how companies can leverage the wisdom of their own crowd (employees) into their strategy planning, also gaining organisational alignments in the process. The companies are:

HCL Technologies an indian IT service company switched their business planning process from top-down to bottom/middle-up by having 300 manager proposing business plans and allowing the 8000 employees (from any departement) to review and directly provide inputs on each plans.

“Because the managers knew that the plans would be reviewed by a large number of people, including their own teams, the depth of their business analysis and the quality of their planned strategy improved. They were more honest in their assessment of current chal- lenges and opportunities. They talked less about what they hoped to accomplish and more about the actions they intended to take to achieve specific results.” At the conclusion of the inaugural My Blueprint process, there was broad consensus that participatory business planning had been far more valuable than the traditional top-down review process.

RedHat an opensource software provider defined aera of exploration and setup multi-displinary team to work on 5-months ‘open’ company-wide idea generation phase which lead to 9 refined strategic priorities. Team leaders were then empowered to execute fleshed initaives without further approval.

Red Hat’s vice president of strategy and corporate mar- keting, Jackie Yeaney, cites three key benefits of the company’s new approach: first, the process generated “more creativity, accountability, and commitment.” Second, “By not bubbling every decision up to the se- nior-executive level, we avoided the typical 50,000-foot oversimplification” of issues. And third, “We improved the flexibility and adaptability of the strategy.”

Rite-Solution a software provider for the US Navy used a game based approach to harness the wisdom of their crowd. They created a stock market game where legacy programs and new programs competed for cash and talents. Each employee had a virtual $10,000 to spend. New project starts at $10 a share. When a project ‘stock’ gains momentum and makes it to the top 20, it is brought to life and the investors get a share of the profits.

The internal market for ideas has bolstered the com- pany’s pipeline of new products, and the 15 ideas the company has thus far launched as a result now account for one-fifth of Rite-Solutions’ revenues. Some of the blockbusters were generated in unexpected places— including Win/Play/Learn, a Web-based educational tool licensed by toy maker Hasbro. The source of the idea: an administrative assistant.

Talking about gamification, this is a clever way to bring the fun factor into the priorisation process.

Download the pdf of the article here

The Lean Startup -by Eric Ries

Eric Ries talks are great and his book is a must. It’s easy to read, practical with lot’s of real life examples and situations. If you have a specific idea or project in mind, this book will be a great resource, and help you avoid mistakes that someone else already did.

Get it here: The Lean Startup – How today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses


The key ideas of the book (or movement now) are well summarised here on the anwser from William Pietri to this question:
Does the “lean startup” philosophy lead to more successful startups?

William Pietri writes the key ideas as:

  1. capital efficiency – This is really an outcome of Lean’s focus on waste reduction. For example, recall WebVan. Their investors paid something like $1bn to find out that the US wasn’t ready for online grocery shopping. Could they have learned that for less money by, say, testing their core hypotheses on a smaller scale? Absolutely, and that’s the Lean Startup’s goal: testing assumptions as quickly and cheaply as possible.
  2. pull, don’t push – Lean Manufacturing aims to start building something only when it is ordered. Similarly, the Lean Startup approach seeks to start with proven customer needs and use that to pull solutions from the team. The difference is subtle in explanation, but profound in experience, and I think you get much better products, and at lower cost.
  3. continuous improvement – Western business culture tends to focus on maximizing results, while Lean practitioners focus on improving the system that gets the results. (E.g., if your goal is to improve sales, a results-focused answer is the quarterly sales goal, but that can lead to problems like channel-stuffing.) This is especially helpful in startups: a company already in the habit of improving things is more likely to scale sustainably.
  4. customer-centered definition of value – Like many Lean ideas, this sounds obvious; the difference is mainly in how seriously it’s pursued. For example, suppose somebody buys your product but never uses it. Some would focus on the sale and call it a win. But in the Lean analysis, it’s a loss: resources were expended but no value was delivered. This focus helps startups build a satisfied customer base and discover the big steps forward in value creation needed to take a big chunk of a market.