Christine Furstoss, Technical Director of Manufacturing & Materials Technologies at GE Global Research, Key-Noted On 3 April 2014 At “Inside 3D Printing” About How 3DP Is Radically Transforming Factory Floors, Tools, Skills & Product Design—Nothing Is Safe Or Sacred Or Sure: Except Directed Revolution…
In the last eight months, I’ve enjoyed Christine’s 3DP-event “key-noting” twice. She has a remarkable talent for public presentation. Ms. Furstoss is fervent in her stem-winding 3DP foment and ferment—exemplified by her full-boil recipe for a GE-cooked-up future over today’s Additive Manufacturing “heat.” Boy—Christine puts steam in the pipe! Passion is too weak a word for her rhetorical ability to project a vision…
Now—I have no special knowledge of Ms. Furstoss’ executive and/or technology skills within the vastness of GE. BUT, if I were C-Suite management at that company, I would strive to sustain her on the road proclaiming GE’s world betterment. (Yes—you’re right! Given that women at Christine’s level in manufacturing and technology probably need to be—oh…what?!?—twice as good as their male peers, I’d guess Ms. Furstoss is more than capable in her GE titular role…)
As a corporate spokesperson, Christine is immensely valuable. Let someone else buttress her administrative and leadership roles, beg her to stay out on the GE “tech soapbox.”
Ms. Furstoss’ afternoon key-note was entitled: “A 3D-View of Manufacturing: How Factory Floors, Tools, Skills and Product Design are Changing.” She kicked-off by proclaiming that “manufacturing is [not just] evolving” BUT that “the next industrial revolution is [already] here.” Hardware is mashing-up with software and Information Technology is driving Operational Process. (For GE—one of America’s premier makers of real, atom-built things—Operational Process prowess is key.) This is spawning “a new class of innovators and entrepreneurs.”
These tech-engined ‘preneurs are “making stuff!” And—from the startup to GE—we should all think “moonshot versus incremental thinking…STOP thinking about a little bit more” and “incrementalism.” Why?! Because “3D printing, desktop design, virtual manufacturing” are proving that “technology for manufacturing is the future” and thus the “capacity to innovate is much greater” than it has ever been before. Go for it!
Christine Furstoss continued her rousing key-note by stating unequivocally that “3D printing is at the heart of this convergence” and that this coalescing is “changing for more than Additive Manufacturing,” it is transformative “for ALL manufacturing.”
Ironically—from the point of view of a GE—this “Next Industrial Revolution” is also being energized by “the Maker Movement.” Makers exemplify a new kind of making via the “the Democratization of global and distributed manufacturing” that is “engaging more innovators” and “showing all what’s manufacturable, building products earlier…”
Ms. Furstoss proclaims—that if “the physical and the digital are converging”—then “we must be the leaders!” It was clear that her “we” encompassed not just the physical “Inside 3D Printing” key-note audience of enthusiasts that afternoon but also the metaphorical wider world of 3DP change-makers everywhere.
Christine—convergence cheerleader—admonished us all to “embrace it…faster…” develop “more materials, set new standards, reengage with the integration of design, materials and manufacturing…” Become “agile manufacturers” at “multiple locations” because “technology is enabling disruption” and the “entire value chain is transformed.”
Ms. Furstoss’ concept of convergence includes the important business-leadership trope of diversity aggregation. Plain vanilla doesn’t jazz the tongue—or the creative hive-mind. Today’s diverse-marketplace success demands diverse points of view across the entire spectrum of the product-making process.
So, diversity-pleasing creativity at the manufacturing front-end now comes from the mash-up of diverse components. We now must celebrate and coalesce the miscellaneous, the sundry, the dissimilar—there lies the novel that informs new-need among consumers. That’s why Christine wants “different types of people” to “collaborate around the tools and systems” of today’s “Next Industrial Revolution.”
Derive “new characteristics” that will move markets through “changing the way products work by this marriage” of diverse elements in value-chain transformation.
Christine Furstoss’ key-note was so rich that I intend to mine its content further right here. She illuminates our 3DP path to the future…