- 3-D printing has graduated from hype to reality in recent years, exciting professionals eager to see it transform industries like high-tech, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods and electronics, according to the GE Global Innovation Barometer 2018.
- The survey of 2,090 executives in 20 countries found 63% of respondents expect it will have a positive impact on business, and a combined 73% say the technology has become reality, even if its impacts are yet to be truly seen.
- Still, at least 80% of respondents say the technology will boost speed-to-market, creativity and competitive advantage, while reducing costs of goods and carbon footprints. However, such results vary strongly by country, as nations lacking a strong manufacturing presence do not believe it has made an impact yet.
The sixth edition of the GE Global Innovation Barometer provides perspective into the way new technologies are adopted across the world.
Despite the global spread of multinational corporations, it turns out innovation is not spread evenly across the world, or even by sector. The benefits are most clearly being reaped by manufacturing sectors, while services and utility lag behind in use cases. The news should be unsurprising: another name for 3-D printing is additive manufacturing, after all.
But GE's survey shows that discrepancy in innovation also applies to the countries that host such sectors. The biggest impact is being seen in manufacturing countries like India (61%) and China (55%), although the U.S. — which has notable high-tech, consumer goods and electronics industries — does not lag far behind (53%). Even the use cases vary by country, as shown in the image above.
These results are but one example supporting the main claim made by GE's research: multinational companies lead the charge in innovation. A company with operations in Europe, Asia and South America has the ability to experiment with different use cases for new technologies, according to the country's needs. It should be noted GE, the sponsor of the report, is such a multinational giant.
For technology watchers in the industry, the results yield a useful tip: perhaps the best use case for the technology that caught your eye does not lie within your country, or even your sector. Blockchain, for example, seems to be catching on quickly with logistics and transportation — but the technology was born in the financial services sector.