This morning at AU 2014, 800 attendees converged in the Event Center Complex to gain some fresh perspective on the future of product manufacturing. Across the board, the products we make are becoming more complex, multi-disciplinary, and interconnected—and our approach to design is shifting.
The democratization of Manufacturing
A recurring theme this morning was the democratization of Manufacturing. For the first time in history a student can change the world as much as a multinational company. Renee DiResta, who invests in seed-stage technology startups, has seen the prices of functional prototyping decrease, and has witnessed myriad small companies pop up to meet both new and changing needs. Matthew Stanton of SolePower, a company that develops wearable, power-generating devices, described how he was able to get his project off the ground thanks in part to crowd funding and increasingly fast prototyping.
Every industry will be disrupted
Ben Einstein is the managing director of Bolt, an early-stage seed fund focused exclusively on hardware startups. He offered his perspective on the new business models of hardware. As he puts it, “every industry will be disrupted.” We also learned about the impact of global macroeconomic trends and advanced technologies on manufacturing strategies from Katy George of McKinsey.
The future looks like this
Justin Chambers shared his experience of bringing his product to market. His company, WindPax, creates portable power-generating wind turbine devices. Nikki Kaufman is the founder and CEO of Normal, an innovative brand selling custom 3D-printed earphones. Normals are personalized to fit each individual ear. They’ve turned traditional manufacturing “on its ear” with a flagship in New York City that puts 3D printing on display, allowing customers to view their product being printed and assembled.
You can watch this recorded Innovation Forum online anytime: The Future of How Products Are Made: No Product Is an Island.