Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 5.18.04 PMThe start up craze. 3-D printing. Uber, AirBNB and the unstoppable On Demand Economy. My friend Robert Tucker has been reporting on these and other driving forces of change:

Only a year ago, we were just hearing about the “sharing economy” (since renamed the On Demand Economy), today the mainstream media reports on these trends constantly. Check out these top five I-Trends:

1. The Start Up Trend Goes Global.

On recent swings thru the Middle East and Africa, I heard less about turmoil in the region, and often about the increasing number of startups sprouting. Today’s breed of entrepreneurs are discovering that funding is available, customers are receptive, technology is cheap and scalable, and many a market’s incumbent players are vulnerable to new business models that offer fresh solutions. The secret is to have a good idea, and the old adage “find a need and fill it” still applies. Winning entrepreneurs seek to solve problems people have that they aren’t solving particularly well, and are open to change.  Serial entrepreneur Richard Barton, whose startups include Zillow, Expedia, Glassdoor and others, says he gets ideas by repeatedly asking a simple question: “what piece of marketplace information do people crave and don’t have?” In sum: the startup boom, and lower fuel costs, is providing much needed oxygen to the still-strained global economy and will likely spread (Iran’s startup culture may lead the growth). The impact on the corporate world is clear: better disrupt yourself or someone else will.

  1. Additive Manufacturing is Nearing a Tipping Point.

According to Gartner, a technology becomes mainstream when adoption levels reach 20 percent, which is approximately where this nascent industry is today. As predicted in InnovationTrends May 2014, practical uses of 3-D printing are exploding, as more and more creative people use the new devices to solve problems and create opportunities. NASA uses 3-DP to rapidly prototype at lower cost. Stage set designers on Broadway are using 3-DP to churn out sample sets overnight. Ships at sea are using 3-DP printers to make replacement parts, doing away with costly backup inventory. Charities worldwide are creating 3D-printed prosthetics for those who could never afford them otherwise. UPS is building on its existing third party logistics business to add 3-D printing mini-factories for just in time deliveries. But the real tipping point comes when failure to adapt to the Additive Trend starts becoming a necessity to survival. According to Dartmouth’s Richard D’Aveni, (Harvard Business Review, May, 2015), “The U.S. hearing aid industry converted to 100 percent additive manufacturing in less than 500 days, and not one company that stuck to traditional manufacturing methods survived.”

Read the rest at Robert’s Innovation Resource blog:

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