This is an excellent application of open innovation. Open innovation is a powerful tool to generate a large variety of ideas. However, I believe, in this case, the more important function of open innovation is to increase attention and generate buy-in. The foundation addresses global issues which can only be solved if society appreciates that these issues exist in the first place. In many cases, scientists, regulatory bodies, governments, private companies, or customers need to be willing to change their habits. This is often much more difficult than providing the funding. Thus, open innovation could be a tool to generate buy-in which results in an organized approach of different stakeholders.
Convincing governments to use open innovation is an excellent idea. Citizens have the opportunity to be involved in the political process, to state their opinion, and to have an impact on others. At the same time, open innovation generates a natural buy-in and makes it easier to implement changes. I heard, for example, of some infrastructure projects in Germany which involved a very early and extensive idea generation process with citizens who were directly affected by these projects. The result was that these people were much more likely i) to understand the necessity of the projects, (ii) to appreciate that everything has been done to reduce any negative consequences, and (iii) to be an amplifier of these perspectives in their communities. Additionally, I believe that promoting open innovation to governments means promoting democracy. Open innovation could be a tool to reverse the general trend of decreasing interest in political decisions in many countries.
In many different fields of healthcare the idea of “near-patient” solutions is heavily promoted. As salaries rise also in rural areas of the world, e.g. in some parts of China and India, the demand for more sophisticated medical treatments increase in these regions at the same time. How can the quality of treatments can be improved in inaccessible areas? — With systems which can be run next to the patient and do not require any external labs or services. For example, more and more automated testing devices allow the doctor to perform in-vitro tests (e.g. blood tests) right in front of the patient. Thus, the question arises if 3D printing could allow the surgeon to print the implant just when it is needed during the surgery. Certainly, many regulatory, legal and practical points need to be addressed, e.g. who would be responsible that the implant meets quality standards, would the 3D printing system require approvals such as FDA, could the doctor better treat another patient while he is printing parts, etc.? However, given the progress 3D printing makes, this idea seems not so unrealistic.
The question I struggle with is how Siemens wants to make money with additive manufacturing in the long term? Do they want to sell additive manufacturing systems? Unlikely. Do they provide consumables (printing agents)? Also unlikely, and there are already specialized companies in this field. Do they want to provide software for additive manufacturing systems? Perhaps, but Siemens is at its core no software company. As the author pointed out, it is difficult to understand want Siemens is offering in this space. I believe that 3D-printing is a severe risk for Siemens as B2B customers in industries such as defense, aerospace, machinery etc. become enabled through additive manufacturing to produce their own parts. My perception is that Siemens has contributed to the ecosystem in order to stay part of it. The company tries to understand in which direction things are going.
This is really an interesting article. The question is how valuable this tool could be in another market, and which social implications it would have. I believe that the traditional press generates insights not only by paraphrasing knowledge which already exists, but by pulling facts and conclusions together. Going forward, this responsibility will be with online media, as newspapers continue to disappear. So I am wondering which consequences it would have if there are no journalists anymore who could make conclusions, but a machine learning tool which just put facts together in a new way. Would this still be seen as “free press”? It nearly seems as if we limit our opportunities to explore new relations in the world. This is actually a question that could be raised for all AI tools — they are fed with existing knowledge but lack creativity. Could this limit our ability to innovate in the long term ?
If I understand it correctly, Paperless Parts works as a market place for production capacity in machine shops. Thus, Paperless Parts becomes customer-facing and the machine shop is reduced to the mere production unit. We have seen this business model to be successful in other industries, e.g. in the printing industry. However, there are distinct differences in terms of the customer-supplier relationship between the machine job industry and other industries: trust. In many cases customer relationships have been built for decades. The trust customers have in their machine shop seems to be more important than the x% cost reduction which might be generated with Paperless Parts and sophisticated machine learning tools. In contrast to prints, machined parts will be built into the final product for which the customer is reliable. In fact, very often the lower-value parts are outsourced to small machine shops, so the potential cost reduction might even be negligible relative to the value of the final product.