Science Fiction Prototyping to the Test: The Case of Additive Manufacturing for Kitchen Appliance Manufacturers
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
History offers many examples of new technologies that have revolutionised an industry, causing the downfall of companies who fail to act on a technology’s potential in good time. The delivery of intelligence messages is hampered by the cognitive barriers of both recipients and intelligence messengers (Mortara, 2015) .
Science Fiction Prototyping (SFP) is a methodology to support managers in taking decisions on highly uncertain futures (Bell et al., 2013, Johnson, 2013). This method exposes people to the creation of a prototype: "[..] a story or fictional depiction of a product.[..] not the actual thing that we want to build, [but] a rough approximation of the thing we hope to one day build" (Bell et al., 2013). Creating a prototype pushes the decision makers in a "future" where all the current uncertainties have been resolved.
The prototypes help to transcend the chasm between the technological and socio-cultural boundary, making their creators "becoming part of the construction of reality of consumers through the process of diffusion and normalization in a society [which is] an important aspect in creating innovative business models"(Schwarz et al., 2013).
However, whilst several researchers and management consultants have advocated for this method (e.g. (Bell et al., 2013)), little is known about its effectiveness.
This paper provides a first attempt to evaluate the SFP method by contrasting the ranges of opportunities identified with SFP for an emergent and potentially revolutionary technology (3D printing) in an established market (Food manufacturing) with those currently perceived by the entrepreneurs in the field.
We integrated the views of those who are most constrained by prior business setup, but who are using the SFP method, with those who are freer to decide on the business model options and are historically known to be potentially leading a disruption in a market.
Managers from established firms were asked to represent an established food manufacturers and to suspend their disbelief on whether the current state of the 3D printing technology will improve sufficiently to make any of the opportunities actually realisable. Their answers were contrasted with those under development in emergent start-ups that are trying to exploit 3D printing.
We compared the opportuities for 3D Printing in the food industry identified by 2 sets of managers:
1) For this we applied SFP in two workshops with 21 technology managers (12 + 9) in large firms. SFP places managers in the condition to discuss a future world, whilst suspending their disbelief on whether the current state of the technology will improve sufficiently to make any of the opportunities actually realisable.
2) The opportunities identified by group 1 were compared with those optained rom 13 entrepreneurs that are trying to commercialise 3D printing for food preparation. Entrepreneurs were selected as they are known to be more flexible and willing to take risks than their counterparts in large firms, because they are not tied to sustaining past offerings. Hence they represented the potentially most creative group of managers who could see the disruptive power of 3D printing.
Between 2015 and 2017, we collected about 240 minutes of recoding (i.e. 2 focus groups of 2 hours each) from the two focus groups and about 400 minutes from face-to-face, telephonic interviews, complemented with archival data.
From both groups we saw te value opportunities fall into the same ranges:
1) the provision of customized food via 3D printing. "Let's just print cakes" (team F). Whilst selling food is not a new value proposition per se for the industry, it would represent a significant shift for a kitchen appliance manufacturer.
2) the delivery of a new kitchen appliance, a new product for the kitchen which would use AM to prepare food.
3) the production of customised parts of the new appliance (e.g. customized outer shells).
4) the delivery of (some of/all) the key competences elements of value (e.g. appliance designs, 3D printers/print-heads, materials to produce the appliance). This model relies on the commercialization of innovative appliance designs, customized for the user, together with the quality assurance of the materials and manufacturing production technology.
The results of the value opportunities identified from the two groups are comparable, confirming the theoretical idea that the SFP method encourages managers to break free of the current mental model and fully explore the opportunities emerging from a technology.
Contribution to Scholarship
The work tests for the first time the outcome of the application of innovative management tools such as SFP, providing initial evidence of its potential impact on decision makers. The work is not without limitations, in paricular as this work includes opportunities identified by managers from established organistions who however do not work for the food manufacturing industry.
Contribution to Practice
It also offers support to industry specifically interested in the affordability of 3D printing. In fact, the derived range of options describe how a current kitchen appliance manufacturers could decide to take advantages of the technologies and guides managers through the practical considerations which could be built into the decision making of an emergent technology.
Not sure which specific theme would be best
Emerging technologies, disruption or Management tools are all valid options
Bell, F., et al., Science fiction prototypes: Visionary technology narratives between futures. Futures, 2013. 50: p. 15-24.
Christensen, C.M., The Innovator’s Dilemma. 1997, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Johnson, B.D., Engineering Uncertainty: The role of uncertainty in the design of complex technological and business systems. Futures, 2013. 50: p. 56-65.
Mortara, L., Communicating intelligence, University of Cambridge, Institute for Manufacturing, Editor. 2015: Cambridge.
Schwarz, J.O., Business wargaming: Developing foresight within a strategic simulation. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 2009. 21(3): p. 291-305.
Enabling Consumer Innovation with 3D Printing: An Exploratory Analysis of the Thingiverse Platform
1Grenoble Ecole de Management, France; 2University of Seville, Facultad de Turismo y Finanzas, Spain.
Following the consumer trends of mass customization and personalization, 3DP enable users to ideate, design and manufacture individualized products at a very low cost.This research is based on the community of MakerBot's Thingiverse, the largest 3D design-sharing online community, with more than two millions registered users.
This article mainly builds on the litterature of :
* open source platform, with a special focus on online 3D Printing platforms : Rayna, Striukova, & Darlington, 2015, de Bruijn & de Jong, 2013
* Makers / consumer innovation : Hippel, 2017, Halbinger, 2018, Franke et al. 2008
* combinatorial creativity, with a special focus on remixing : Flath, Friesike, Wirth, & Thiesse, 2017; Friesike, Flath, Wirth, & Thiesse, 2018; Stanko, 2016
Prior studies on online 3D printing platforms show that remixing facilitate replication and customization process, still, research to date has not yet determined to what extent experts and novices could rely on such combinatorial creativity to create and adopte consumer innovations.
How remixing can support the creation and adoption of consumer innovations in online 3D Printing?
The metholology is quantitative. We using a webscraper programmed in Python to extract the dataset from Thingiverse platform. After pre-processing the data, we construct a directed network where each node represents a Thing and arcs represent the remixing flow. Finally we analyze the data with network measures, mean value tests and logistic regressions (DVs= Nb of Mades and Novelty measure).
Data for this study come from MakerBot's Thingiverse, the largest 3D design-sharing online community with millions of users. We collected data from 16053 users that posted a total of 27978 Things since December, 2018. For each Thing, we collect several information such as : the authors' design skills (experts, novices..), the time of submission, data about remixing (eg. nb of remix, geneaogy of the Things..), topics, number of Mades...
Our results show that remixing have a positive impact on both creation and adoption of consumer innovation. In particular, our results show that the design expertise play an important role in the benefits of remixing.
Contribution to Scholarship
We contribute to a better understanding of how creative co-design occur in online 3D printing platforms. In particular, we shed the light on how remixing in online 3D printing can impact innovation beyond mass-customization. Also, although 3DP seems a promising way to democratize innovation process by enabling consumers to manufacture their own invention, it has been observed that only few individuals with high technical skills and strong collaborative behaviors are able to create innovative 3DP designs. Our findings permit to facilitate novices in the creation and adoption of their innovation.
Contribution to Practice
Our research provides managerial recommendations for the management of online open source platforms. In particular, it provides recommendations regarding the factors that could facilitate remixing in order to innovate, customize or replicate.
3D Printing (eg. Rayna), Makers, co-design are central themes in R&D Management conference and in track 2.1. in particular
de Bruijn, E., de Jong, J.P.J., 2013. Innovation Lessons From 3-D Printing. MIT Sloan Manag. Rev.
Flath, C.M., Friesike, S., Wirth, M., Thiesse, F., 2017. Copy, transform, combine: exploring the remix as a form of innovation. J. Inf. Technol. 32, 306–325.
Franke, N., Keinz, P., Schreier, M., 2008. Complementing Mass Customization Toolkits with User Communities: How Peer Input Improves Customer Self-Design*. J. Prod. Innov. Manag. 25, 546–559.
Friesike, S., Flath, C.M., Wirth, M., Thiesse, F., 2018. Creativity and productivity in product design for additive manufacturing: Mechanisms and platform outcomes of remixing. J. Oper. Manag.
Halbinger, M.A., 2018. The role of makerspaces in supporting consumer innovation and diffusion: An empirical analysis. Res. Policy.
Hippel, E. von, 2017. Free innovation. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Rayna, T., Striukova, L., Darlington, J., 2015. Co-creation and user innovation: The role of online 3D printing platforms. J. Eng. Technol. Manag., Leveraging Users as Innovators: Managing the Creative Potential of Individual Consumers 37, 90–102.
Stanko, M.A., 2016. Toward a Theory of Remixing in Online Innovation Communities. Inf. Syst. Res. 27, 773–791.
Development and Test of an Additive Manufacturing Maturity Model
1University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; 2University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; 3University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Innovation and operation management are interlinked, though there are no developed integration. We introduce 3D print technology as a bridge between the disciplins to develop competitiveness through af conceptual integrative model. The paper investigates "Usage domains" and "innovation potential"
This paper is based on literature from innovation and operations management to build a conceptual framework adopting 3D printing as a bridging innovative technology.
The positive influence of innovation on economic performance and competitiveness has been widely accepted (Camisón & Villar-López, 2014; Gunday et al, 2011), though the struggle of commercialization can limit the output (Simula & Valiauga, 2015). The innovation process is typically presented in phases, sketched out in a linear stage-gate framework (Rothwell, R., 1994) where not the commercialization but the adoption in market provides both feedback to the process and competitiveness (Frederiksen & Knudsen, 2017). However, the manufacturing capabilities and integration is absent.
A manufacturing system can provide competitive advantage through cost, delivery, quality and flexibility (Miltenburg, 2008; Bellgran, 2010), but requires a sufficient flexible setup, to both support the market, and handle the innovation push, resulting in new product introduction, re-design and re-engineering of products.
This paper investigates the interaction between innovation and manufacturing, and the potential impact of innovative technologies as 3D printing technology. There is from a literature review, an identified gap between the integration between innovation (R&D) and operations management literature.
The research question of this paper is “How to integrate innovation and operation management, with focus on the potential competitiveness through the use of advanced technology; 3D printing.
The methodlogy is quantitative data analysis, using SPSS. The model behind the survey and data collection has been developed A maturity framework has been developed to investigate the maturity level/AM readiness for use of AM technology, combined the three different usage domains, Innovation, Production Support and Part Production. This tool was developed to assist a national screening of manufacturing companies in relation to their AM readiness and engagement and to provide insights on the role of AM maturity in relation to company innovation and firm’s competitiveness.
Pilots studies were carried out prior to administering of the full survey. Hence, survey tool was tested and comments were collected. This work led to revisions in terms of wording and small changes in use of terminology.
The survey was sent to the population of Danish manufacturing firms (NACE code 10-33) with more than 20 employees. Data was drawn from the databases Orbis (2.017) and Bisnode (2.503). The two lists were merged to a gross list consisting of 2.957 firms resulted in a total population for the survey of 2.333 Danish manufacturing firms ending up with a response rate of 13,5% (314 acceptable cases).
Representativity of the data sample show representativity among size, NACE code distribuition and regional distribution.
Based on the collected data from the national screening there are some significant findings in relation to utilized potential of AM technology.
The descriptive data analysis revealed that only 25% utilized additive manufacturing among the manufacturing companies, and 16% owned 3D print technology. It is evident that the used potential of the 3D print technology is highest in the Innovation (R&D) domain across all companies.
63% of the companies thinks their business have been influenced directly by their interaction with AM technology.
We also find that companies who has adopted 3D print technology have a significant higher level of both incremental and radical product innovation and process innovation, compared to companies who either do not work with 3D printing or only source the service.
Thus we find a clear relation between adopting 3D print technology in "rapid prototyping", "direct tooling" and "direct manufacturing" and the ability to develop innovative capabilities. The 3D print technology is clearly the bridging element.
Contribution to Scholarship
This paper contributes to the literature on innovation and technology management in the analysis of the integrative perspective and the relationship between the AM technologies and their associated competitive potentials. In this way, we present novel data and insights ready for theorizing on the role of enabling technologies for future competitiveness. This paper addresses the needed cross disciplinary approach between innovation and operation to provide an appropriate level of abstraction in analyzing technology management in complex value chains.
The paper provides insights in the intergrative perspectives between both theoretical domains (innovation and operation), and technological domains (AM usage domains). This framework enables a holistic discussion.
Contribution to Practice
This paper contribute with managerial implications in regards to the understanding of AM application domains and their relation to AM maturity and the innovation domain as a step stone to other domains. The AM technology and its impact on radical innovation capabilities will potentially be a game changer for Danish manufacturing companies.
The paper has a clear link to the “Innovation challenge” and “the adoption and diffusion of deep-tech (AM)”, as we develop an integrative approach between innovation and operation, bridging the disciplines utilizing 3D print technology as a multi domain technology.
Bellgran, M. & Säfsten, K. 2012 Production development: Design and Operation of Production Systems, London, Springer-Verlag London
Camisón, C., & Villar-López, A. 2014. Organizational Innovation as an Enabler of Technological Innovation Capabilities and Firm Performance. Journal of Business Research, 67: 2891-2902.
Frederiksen, M.H. & Knudsen, M.P. 2017, From creative ideas to innovation performance; The role of assessment criteria, Creativity and Innovation Management, vol. 3, no., p. 60-74
Gunday, G., Ulosoy, G., Kilic, K., & Alpkan, L. (2011) Effects of Innovation Types on Firm Performance. International Journal of Production Economics, 133: 662-676
Miltenburg, J. 2008. Setting manufacturing strategy for a factory-within-a-factory. International Journal of Production Economics, 113(1): 307-323
Rothwell, R. 1994, Towards the Fifth-generation Innovation Process, International Marketing Review, vol. 11, issue 1, p. 7-31
Simula H., Valiauga P. (2015), Technology versus product innovations – are they like apples and oranges? A comparative study on commercialisation. International Journal of Technology Marketing, 10,1, 25-46.
Hybrid Alliances for Radical Innovation: Four Alliances Dedicated to Additive Manufacturing, a Hard-to-Get Industrial Revolution
Additive Manufacturing is a radical innovation. This new fabrication process has often been described as the trigger of the next industrial revolution. We study four cases of strategic alliances created in France to develop additive manufacturing and its uses. These dyadic alliances are central in the development of additive manufacturing.
Strategic alliances are important for technological innovation (Teece, 1992; Powell, Koput, et Smith-Doerr, 1996; Hagedoorn et Duysters, 2002).
Alliances can be dedicated to exploration, exploitation, or both (hybrid alliances) (Koza et Lewin, 2000). Previous research shows that an alliance strategy can be ambidextrous through temporal ambidexterity (Rothaermel et Deeds, 2004) and/or structural ambidexterity (Lavie et Rosenkopf, 2006).
Research on ambidexterity in alliances does not describe and analysis hybrid alliances that implement contextual ambidexterity.
How hybrid alliances balance exploration and exploitation in a radical innovation context?
I used a qualitative methodology to study this question. Following the Yin’s usual recommendation (1984), this is the relevant method to answer a “how” research question. I study and compare four cases of strategic alliances created to develop additive manufacturing technology and its uses. These cases were carefully chosen and correspond to the question I study: hybrid alliances combining exploration and exploitation in the development of a radical technological innovation.
I Interviewed the main managers of the alliances in the four cases I studied. In each cases, I interviewed managers coming from each partners of the alliances. Thus, at this stage, I interviewed 8 managers, two for each of the four cases of alliances. Interviews last 1.5 hours on average.
In a context of radical technological innovation on process, technology specialists and (potential) users must form alliances to develop new applications of the technology and to adapt the technology to these applications. This implies to mix exploration and exploitation. However, the switch from exploration to exploitation is difficult due to the lack of knowledge on application and the current limits of the technology. This situation can be managed by separating exploration and exploitation in two agreement in the same alliance. The difficulties can also be faced through supplementary efforts (compared to what was initially planned) and mutual adaptation of the partners. Alliances can also terminate when the partners cannot make these supplementary efforts.
Contribution to Scholarship
I explore contextual ambidexterity in hybrid alliances created to profit from a radical technological innovation on production process. This suggests a new point of view and new explanations on the link between alliance strategies and organizational ambidexterity.
Contribution to Practice
Managers facing radical innovation on process (such as additive manufacturing) can derive lessons from this research on how to use and manage strategic alliances. This research also informs the reader about the development of additive manufacturing in particular
This research is deeply rooted in the study of technological innovation and the process of managing it. Moreover, additive manufacturing is a central technology of the developing digital manufacturing and industry 4.0.
Hagedoorn J, Duysters G. 2002. External Sources of Innovative Capabilities: The Preferences for Strategic Alliances or Mergers and Acquisitions. Journal of Management Studies 39(2): 167–188.
Lavie D, Rosenkopf L. 2006. Balancing exploration and exploitation in alliance formation. Academy of Management Journal 49(4): 797–818.
Koza M, Lewin A. 2000. Managing partnerships and strategic alliances: raising the odds of success. European Management Journal 18(2): 146–151.
Powell WW, Koput KW, Smith-Doerr L. 1996. Interorganizational Collaboration and the Locus of Innovation: Networks of Learning in Biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly 41(1): 116-145.
Rothaermel FT, Deeds DL. 2004. Exploration and exploitation alliances in biotechnology: a system of new product development. Strategic Management Journal 25(3): 201–221.
Teece DJ. 1992. Competition, cooperation, and innovation. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 18: 1–25.