Dematerialization—A Pathway for Innovation

The ability to make products and features smaller is called dematerialization. Dematerialization is a key strategy for innovation and improving what we utilize in business and society.

The ability to make products and features smaller is called dematerialization. Dematerialization is a key strategy for innovation and improving what we utilize in business and society.

Technology is ever-changing and constantly improving. The ability to reduce the amount of material it takes to build the physical things that accomplish digital tasks is revolutionary and, likewise, growing as fast as the industries they serve a purpose in.

A Perfect Dematerialization Example

Wearable technology—which in recent years has increased in speed and memory while becoming one of the smallest computer devices in our lives—is a perfect example of how quickly dematerialization has improved modern technology. Smart watches, among other wearable digital devices, are the current example of how computers have shrunk and ultimately become more integrated in our lives because of how easily they can be worn and ignored until needed. They are lighter, more portable, more economical (in terms of the materials it takes to produce them), and softer in environmental impact.

Prior to the abundance of wearable technology, tablets and smartphones slowly put laptops and desktop computers to shame, as even the most portable laptops used to be several inches thick and weigh six or seven pounds. The market for a smaller, streamlined personal computing device brought us the iPad and the Microsoft Surface; however, today, wearable devices use a fraction of the material and accomplish far more than their ancestors—and cost far less. Plus, your main personal computer—the computer you use the most—had become your smartphone, which was something portable, multipurpose, and a device that supplied you with far more beneficial features than any computer you have used in the past.

Transformation

 A different example associated with wearable technology and smart devices is the progression of recorded music. Decades ago, record players and in-home audio systems were the only means to listen to recorded music. Eventually, car radios came along, where you could hear music while you travel. Soon after, the emergence of cassette tapes and compact discs brought the creation of portable CD and tape players, and the early ‘90s saw the dematerialization of bulky sound systems down to mini-boomboxes to bring outside while you played basketball.

Steve Jobs and the iPod yet again revolutionized and dematerialized recorded music players by allowing you to have thousands of songs in your pocket, though even those were clunky when they emerged. As streaming services displaced CD sales, smartphones and wireless headphones yet again made listening to music at the gym or on a bicycle ride even simpler, though you’d often have to strap the smartphone to your bicep. Finally, wearable technology now allows the same streaming technology paired with wireless headphones, making listening to music anywhere while doing nearly anything completely possible.

Whatever your company has, you can make it smaller—that is, if you want to. On the other hand, we don’t necessarily want to make everything smaller, and dematerialization doesn’t necessarily mean miniaturization. For example, we have the capacity to make our cars much, much smaller, but we may not necessarily want that for all models. Smart cars and some fully electric vehicles can benefit; however, a Ford F250 becoming the size of a Chevy Volt will take away from the hauling capabilities.

So how do you make something lighter without shrinking it completely? Dematerialize components of it, as seen in the newer models of Ford’s GT500. Its components have been dematerialized and are now lighter, making it faster than the Dodge Demon in a quarter mile, while not needing as heavy of an engine. Same size car, faster than ever before.

Ask yourself, “What would we want to make smaller? What would add value by making it smaller?” Take a look at just about everything you have related to your products and your services, and always consider the pros and cons of what you can dematerialize.

Learn about the Eight Hard Trend Pathways to Innovation and how you can identify and develop game-changing opportunities in my latest book The Anticipatory Organization.

Smart Construction: How AI and Machine Learning Will Change the Construction Industry

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is when a computer mimics specific attributes of human cognitive function, while machine learning gives the computer the ability to learn from data, as opposed to being specifically programmed by a human. Here are ten ways that AI and machine learning will transform the construction and engineering industries into what we’ll call “smart construction.”

These days, seemingly everyone is applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. I have written about disruptions in the manufacturing industry, such as Industry 4.0, while illustrating the Hard Trends that indicate where improvements will be made in the future.

The construction industry, which makes up 7% of the global workforce, should already have applied these technologies to improve productivity and revolutionize the industry. However, it has actually progressed quite slowly.

Growth in the construction industry has only been 1% over a few decades while manufacturing is growing at a rate of 3.6%. With the total worker output in construction at a standstill, it is no surprise that the areas where machine learning and AI could improve such statistics were minimal. Yet, those technologies are finally starting to emerge in the industry.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is when a computer mimics specific attributes of human cognitive function, while machine learning gives the computer the ability to learn from data, as opposed to being specifically programmed by a human. Here are ten ways that AI and machine learning will transform the construction and engineering industries into what we’ll call “smart construction.”

  1. Cost Overrun Prevention and Improvement

Even efficient construction teams are plagued by cost overruns on larger-scale projects. AI can utilize machine learning to better schedule realistic timelines from the start, learning from data such as project or contract type, and implement elements of real-time training in order to enhance skills and improve team leadership.

  1. Generative Design for Better Design

When a building is constructed, the sequence of architectural, engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing tasks must be accounted for in order to prevent these specific teams from stepping out of sequence or clashing. Generative design is accomplished through a process called “building information modeling.” Construction companies can utilize generative design to plot out alternative designs and processes, preventing rework.

  1. Risk Mitigation

The construction process involves risk, including quality and safety risks. AI machine learning programs process large amounts of data, including the size of the project, to identify the size of each risk and help the project team pay closer attention to bigger risk factors.

  1. More Productive Project Planning

A recent startup utilized 3D scanning, AI and neural networks to scan a project site and determine the progress of specific sub-projects in order to prevent late and over-budget work. This approach allowed management to jump in and solve problems before they got out of control. Similarly, “reinforcement learning” (machine learning based on trial and error) can help to collate small issues and improve the preparation phase of project planning.

  1. More Productive Job Sites

Professionals often fear machines will replace them. While intelligent machines will take over first repetitive and eventually more cognitively complex positions, this does not mean a lack of jobs for people. Instead, workers will transition to new, more fulfilling and highly productive roles to save time and stay on budget, and AI will monitor human productivity on job sites to provide real-time guidance on improving each operation.

  1. Safety First

Manual labor not only has the potential to be taxing on the body, but also to be incredibly dangerous. Presently, a general contractor is developing an algorithm that analyzes safety hazards seen in imagery taken from a job site, making it possible to hold safety briefings to eliminate elevated danger and improve overall safety on construction sites.

  1. Addressing Job Shortages

AI and machine learning have the capacity to plot out accurate distribution of labor and machinery across different job sites, again preventing budget overruns. One evaluation might reveal where a construction site has adequate coverage while another reveals where it is short staffed, thereby allowing for an efficient and cost-effective repositioning of workers.

  1. Remote Construction

When structures can be partially assembled off-site and then completed on-site, construction goes faster. The concept of using advanced robots and AI to accomplish this remote assembly is new. Assembly line production of something like a wall can be completed while the human workforce focuses on the finish work.

  1. Construction Sites as Data Sources

The data gathered from construction sites and the digital lessons learned by AI and advanced machines are all tools for improving the productivity of the next project. In this way, each construction site can contribute to a virtual textbook of information helpful to the entire industry.

  1. The Finishing Touches

Structures are always settling and shifting slightly. It would be beneficial to be able to dive back into data collated by a computer to track in real time the changes and potential problems faced by a structure — and AI and machine learning make this possible.

Given the inevitable changes on the horizon, and the potential for costs to drop up to 20% or more with increased productivity, professionals in the construction industry must pay attention to Hard Trends, become more anticipatory, and ultimately learn to turn disruption and change into opportunity and advantage.

Know What’s Next

Discover proven strategies to accelerate innovation with my latest book The Anticipatory Organization. Follow this link for a special offer.

Shape the Future–Before Someone Else Does It For You!

Open Work Spaces Can Make You Sick

Open work space

In just about every start-up, our office space was a room with whatever furniture we could pull together that could support some weight, didn’t wobble with regular use, and wasn’t sticky to our touch.  Designers came along and called this “eclectic.”  We called it “free.”

As you focus on your core business interests and direction, office space can often be the last thing on the list, but there are dozens of studies that support the importance of space and how it supports our abilities to perform.

After decades of cube development and design in height, width, drawers, no drawers, and then moving to the open floor space (back to eclectic) it’s interesting to read Fast Company’s “The Slow Death of Open Spaces” (February 2019).

According to the article, “employees don’t like them, and research proves they’re ineffective.”  This is interesting given all the reports that tout how well they’ve worked in recent years, how cool they look to a visitor (is there an advertising agency anywhere in the world with cubes?), how it saves money on cubes, increases the number of people in small spaces – wait, this sounds like coach on any domestic airline, doesn’t it?

“Researchers have shown that people in open offices take nearly two-thirds more sick leave and report greater unhappiness, more stress, and less productivity than those with more privacy.”  A 2018 Harvard Business School study found that “open offices reduce face-to-face interaction by about 70% and increase email and messaging by roughly 50% – shattering the notion that they make workers collaborative.”

And, there you have it.  Twenty years ago, we got rid of walls (no topically political pun intended here) to improve collaboration and face to face interactions and the result, apparently,  is less of both and more sick-leave.

Obviously, the answer for maximum efficiency is a mix of private spaces, open spaces, and adjustable spaces like those that offer tables on wheels that can be moved around to accommodate one person, four, or twenty and so on.

Maybe there are tables on wheels with adjustable walls that can be moved around your space as needed?

North America is The Largest 3D Printing Market since the Region Is Constantly Revamping Their Technology

3D printing is a manufacturing process that helps in building multiple layers for a three-dimensional object from a digital specimen. A few years ago, the cost of using 3D printing technology was very high and it was used by large corporations and organizations, however with the advent of desktop-based 3D printers the technology is becoming more accessible in small and medium enterprises and home users as well. Currently, 3D printers are increasingly used to manufacture customized prototypes during testing phases. The 3D printing technology helps the business organizations in creating prototype at lower costs, reduced time and do not require specific labor skill for developing a product thereby enhancing the growth of the 3D printing market across the globe.

Explore Full Report Description At: https://www.vynzresearch.com/semiconductor-electronics/3d-printing-market

Increasing investments undertaken by government authorities towards 3D printing projects, increasing trend of developing customized products for the customers and reduced manufacturing cost are the key factors driving the growth of the 3D printing market. The potential of 3D printing technology to enhance the manufacturing and supply chain management process of the business organization is the key factor driving the growth of the 3D printing market. 3D printing technology helps in providing ease to manufacturing process of the organizations and provides several benefits to the traditional production techniques.

Geographically, North America is the largest 3D printing market in since the region is constantly revamping their technology and increasingly using 3D printing technology in healthcare and aerospace and defense domain. Furthermore, increasing demand for customized products by the customers and need for reducing operational costs by several business organizations is driving the demand for 3D printing in this region.

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Moreover, 3D printing market in Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth due to the availability of informed consumers and the increasing demand for customized products from the end-users. 3D printing technology is enabling business enterprises in this region for improving product evolution, customer relationships and business growth by delivering products in a timely and speedy manner.  Additionally, this technology is helping the suppliers in reducing the cost and time of their manufacturing and logistics process.  Moreover, the adoption of 3D printing by healthcare domain is enhancing the growth of 3D printing market in this region.

Some of the major players in the 3D printing market include Materialise NV, Stratasys Ltd., 3D Systems Corporation, Envisiontec GmbH, The Exone Company, Sciaky Inc., Voxeljet AG, SLM Solutions Group AG., Proto Labs, Arcam Group and Mcor Technologies Ltd.

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