When “Complexity Is Free,” Community Is Key: The Dispersible Power Of 3DP Enables Local DIY Society

GE Thinks 3D Printing Helps Deliver Costless Design Density; We’re Out To Prove That It Also Can Deliver Bottom-Up Wealth Generation In The Ultra-Urban Nabes.

Yesterday (15 September), NY Times commentator Thomas L. Friedman (and author of The World Is Flat and other commercial-disruption and creative-destruction long-views) wrote a column about GE—one of America’s most-successful multi-national corporations—and its optimistic take on 3DP.

Tom Friedman reported on the industrial and social implications of

(1) Additive Manufacturing {3DP},

(2) Crowd-sourcing {hive-mind innovation “honey” via game-ified online challenges} and

(3) the Internet of Things {cheap, dispersed, ubiquitous online sensors}.

He found the cross-over of these three mega-change-vectors at the giant GE research lab in Niskayuna in Upstate New York. And, what he posits from this nexus is a new American Exceptionalism. The commercial exceptionalism—read corporate success—of innovative engineering in the worldwide marketplace.

Friedman’s take on GE’s brand of U.S. exceptionalism was mostly boo’ed by 236 comments (at this writing) elicited by the piece. Upshot of the public pushback: the next level of corporate exploitation on a worldwide scale, driving done the value of highly trained workers. When that many hostile—and incisive—views respond to an upbeat thought-column by a mainstream commentator, something is abroad in the psyche of our country. And, Friedman’s mercantile definition of “American Exceptionalism” is not widely shared—when, I suspect, he clearly believes it should be. (Are we at the tipping point when our Asymmetric Society—our Middle-Class killing financial inequality—is finally recognized as such by even those who have a hope to benefit from that asymmetry…?)

Our take on Complexity Is Free (or Engineering Is Exploitable)—as exemplified by GE’s use of 3DP—is entirely different.

Our premise is that 3DP—and its costless complexity—will empower DIY business and job-generation at the neighborhood level.

One week from today, we kick-off our NY3DP Summits week-long series of daily Roundtables with “Printing Up Jobs in Your Nabes.” We think the “exceptionalism” that 3DP can create is about local community. In fact, it’s our tagline: “Building Community Via 3D Printing.”

Here’s how we’re describing this 23 September Session at the DUMBO Startup Lab, (Neo)Brooklyn, next Monday evening:


“Printing Up Jobs” in Your Nabes: Kitchen Table to Cottage Industry to Local Manufacturer

How The 3D-Printing Revolution Can Help Remake Local Economic Development To Build & Retain Neighborhood Wealth—In A Virtuous Upward Spiral Of Commercial & Common-Good Success

This first NY3DP Summits session kicks off our week of roundtables—in support of 3DP in our City and State—by focusing on local economic development. Bottom/bottom 3DP line: can our engines of Confab’ing and Clustering help drive Job Creation via Additive Manufacturing in the neighborhood?

With the distributed power of disruptive (and opportunity-presenting!) 3DP, the hyperlocal is where the action is. The local Economic Development Organization (EDO: think BID or Merchant Block) is now empowered to help re-industrialize the Nabes—kitchen table by walk-up by storefront.

This Roundtable will examine such novel concepts as:

  • How to enable EDOs—local, Borough-based and/or  City-wide—to employ, educate around and deploy 3DP knowledge, how-to and implementable strategy/tactics to 3DP empower their community constituents.
  • How might the new workforce of “Techcreatives”—the Digital Yeomanry of Sci/Art—help infuse local communities with commercializing 3DP?
  • Can we expand our City talent pool with STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, Math) education at every level?
  • The Roundtable will consider the business leverage of Curious Benchmates—found in such local phenomena as the blend of handmade Etsy-esque and organic 3DP and New Lab “re-artisan’ing” via rapid prototyping and short-run production on ultra-tech laser-sintering 3D printers.
  • Conferees will confer on how 3DP might supercharge the Brooklyn core commercial competencies of Furniture, Fashion and Food.
  • The Roundtable will consider how new and vibrant Public/Private Partnerships for collaboration and advocacy can support our new urban (re)industrialization. Think Pratt Center’s (Adam Friedman!) Urban Manufacturing Alliance and “Made In NYC” initiative. Or, New Lab’s imminent expansion into the now a-building creative spaces of the Green Manufacturing Center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s BLDG 128.
  • Finally, how can hyper-local 3DP integration with small business and community economic development help drive our Gotham industrial-segment “cluster-ization”—and assist NYC to build the world’s premier Additive Manufacturing Cluster?


This week, we’ll be talking about our other Roundtable Sessions taking place between 23 and 27 September—just next week. [For much more on all these events---including booking a free seat---click on "NY3DP Summits" in our Main Nav Bar above.] So…

C’mon Back!


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