To Maximize Commercial Empowerment, New And Promising Technology Must Be Incorporated Into An Effective Ecosystem Of Support Services: Emerging 3D Printing/DigFab Needs Such An Ecosystem To Complement & Empower The Local-Community Use Of 3DP.
Playing is part of the fun of 3DP. AND, it’s also an integral part of the learning process. Playing—messing around with objects and/or ideas in seemingly undirected activities—makes the seriousness of education a delight. (The pix here are showing another form of play as education: FIRST, the STEM-Ed fostering non-profit, helps create more tech DIYers on the way—perhaps—to engineering-based careers…and entrepreneurship! AND, LEGO builders are natural 3DPers—3-Dimensional, Incremental Creators…)
Those of you who follow this blog know that we believe 3DP is serious business. Because it promises to empower our local communities—and boost our local neighborhood’s betterment—by helping to Inspire, Educate, support Entrepreneurship and drive local Economic development. (Not surprisingly, this sequence of power is also one of our 3DP Media’s mantras: i3E!)
Inherent in 3DP-driven i3E is commercialization. (Hey, we’ve even memorialized this concept in a home-grown formula: 3DP->i3E!) One informal definition of “commercialization” is to sell something. And, we think selling 3DP-built objects is the key milestone on our i3E success path.
Further, enabling a sale of a 3DP-made product—on the scale of local economic development—can and should be empowered by an ecosystem of support services that will transform play into payment. Otherwise playing with 3DP is just (however important and sheer fun) messing around and will never transform to manufacturing and economic development.
Here’s one more-or-less randomly ordered 3DP Support Services Ecosystem set:
- eCommerce marketplace,
- 3DP microfactory techniques and technologies,
- startup microfinancing (including crowdfunding, like Kickstarter),
- a crowdsourcing platform for new-product research, design and development,
- Big Data/Cloud-sourced research, analysis, marketing and ancillary services,
- the showcasing & selling of 3DP equipment to makers and manufacturers,
- the Mini/Mobile Expo: industry experts & product managers travel a 3DP “maker” circuit to present new ideas and products, and
- a Community Home-Team (all those local organizations and players whose interests naturally support 3DP-driven enterprise).
Still—as before—the most important of these activities is selling something. Everything else in this set empowers that key action. So, our 3DP Support Services Ecosystem needs a marketing and selling component.
Let me suggest the revenue-generation capabilities—to start—of a networked eCommerce System. (Think: a customized and locally responsive version of Shapeways’ client/community marketplace on its Web site.)
This eComm “Marketplace” would serve to online market and sell new, 3DP-inspired/made, products created in the local community. The impetus to produce physical offerings for commercial sale—anywhere the Internet reaches—will be a by-product of 3DP-driven “making” in the community. And, this Support Services Ecosystem.
With the help of such an Ecosystem and the at-hand, on-going, entrepreneur-making support of our Community Home-Team members, the new makers will become the new local manufacturers.
As usual, much more to discuss here! This is just the start of Support Services Ecosystem building…