Innovation Lessons From 3-D Printing

When people in online user communities start collaboratively developing open-source innovations that have the potential to change an industry, how should the existing companies in the industry respond?

BY JEROEN P.J. DE JONG AND ERIK DE BRUIJN

THESE DAYS, 3-D PRINTING is big news.1 The use of 3-D printing and other related technologies is seen as having potentially transformative implications. “Just as the Web democratized innovation in bits, a new class of ‘rapid prototyping’ technologies, from 3-D printers to laser cutters, is democratizing innovation in atoms,” Wired magazine’s longtime editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson, stated in his new book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.2 “A new digital revolution ...

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