Innovation and Manufacturing – Proximity Is Paramount Even With CAD CAM Internet Technology

Perhaps you have heard that GE and other major companies want to build an “Industrial Internet” which would allow secure transmissions with incredible bandwidth. This would enable the designers, innovators, and factories to collaborate in real time with huge files and lots data. Not only great for design but also for the animation and movie sectors, or the future of 3-D printing, holographic imagery, and a host of new technologies coming online now.

Certainly, the military would also like this, and the government, perhaps even the future of the E-Republic as well. In the past many have said that the designers need to be close to the manufacturers, materials, die and tool makers, and marketplace to insure a fast information feedback loop on changes to insure seamless transition from design to fruition. This makes sense of course.

One challenge I am having with all this is that this is not new knowledge, we’ve always known, but not some are replaying it as if it is a new finding. As a former franchisor founder and entrepreneur, to me this is all second nature, but apparently some outside of business or the actual doing of things have purported this as a new finding.

MIT Technology Review had an interesting article published on January 13, 2013 titled; “Manufacturing in the Balance – Inexpensive labor has defined the last decade in manufacturing. The future may belong to technology,” by Antonio Regaldo, which describes an interesting Harvard paper and research piece on innovation, management, and manufacturing.

Now then, as interesting as this research paper may appear to be, it should be noted that I’d read the same argument in 70s, 80s, and 90s in various business books – what I am saying is that Harvard business professors need to pony up with original thought and not PR their attempts at plagiarizing ideas from past periods. They as professors should know or should have known this is NOT news, if they didn’t know they are incompetent and should not be professors or researchers, if they did know, they stole the idea, showing a lack of integrity in my view.

Okay so, what am I saying here? Well, I am saying that I personally am not all that impressed and want real new, and relevant information, I’d expect more from a University with a rich history like Harvard, I am not impressed and even though my ancestors (direct) started that institution, I cannot sign on to this research as anything new or even legitimately relevant, it is known knowledge and anyone who has ever run such a company ought to inherently know this as a standard base of knowledge, it’s just obvious, it was no revelation back then nor now.

If humans really want to excel at innovation they need to start innovating, stop talking about it, and start doing it. Yes, we need to the tools to streamline the process, we’ve always needed faster ways to get ideas to market, or inventions to reality, there is nothing new about that, nothing at all. Please consider all this and think on it.