The new industrial design revolution

Industrial design and its role in the business context have changed radically over the last decade. Its practice spans a wider range of skills including service design, user interaction design and corporate branding, and its role has become a powerful business tool which enables governments and enterprises to adopt game changing approaches to creating new products, services and environments. It is becoming an agent of change. It was similarly how IT was in the eighties which forced companies to evaluate how they operated and gave them an opportunity to streamline their business processes. By emphasizing the consumer experience, as well as providing a common language that binds organizations together to meet their future needs, industrial design has encourage more lateral collaboration across the business, and respond smarter and quicker to market changes. Design is now a key strategic business tool as opposed to its traditional place as a nice to have that sits outside the core thrust of the business.


The Future Is Here: A New Industrial Revolution

Designers also provide creative and visualization skills to help clarify the thinking behind project requirements and to bridge communication gaps between market researchers and consumers, engineering and marketing departments or senior executives and project teams. This, coupled with better customer insights, creates a lower risk and a more confident platform for serious product and service creation and development.

Product designers have always had to choose between additive processes such as 3D printing and subtractive processes like machining. Now they can have both. There is a new industrial revolution sweeping the world. This revolution, say the champions of this new kind of making, is the result of three factors that together change the nature and economics of manufacturing. The first is free software for designing complex 3D objects. The second is 3D printing in which computerized machines turn virtual designs into physical models that you can prod, fondle and squeeze. Finally, there is the precipitous drop in the cost of 3D printers and other rapid prototyping techniques. This suddenly makes it practical and profitable to make-on-demand instead of mass producing product

Imagine a world where you did not have to buy products off the shelf but could design them for yourself and even share your design with others – everything from a pair of glasses to a house. David Reid looks at what some are calling the new industrial design revolution being driven by 3D printing.

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