The latest in 3D printing trends: guns, ears, body parts, and now in your local store


It’s been a busy day in the world of 3D printing. Below is a roundup of the latest developments, all announced in the last 24 hours or so. 3D printing is one of those trends that has been visible for a long time, is just beginning to have a real impact, and in the long run could transform many aspects of our lives.

Different issues are raised by each of these stories, showing the breadth of the impact of 3D printing. I have made brief comments under each story.

Anyone looking at the future must keep abreast of the growing scope of capabilities of 3D printing and what it could mean for industries and society.

First completely 3D-printed gun shown
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Social networks and engineering serendipity in the workplace


The New York Times has an interesting article titled Engineering Serendipity which looks at the some of the ways companies are trying to create felicitous and unexpected connections between their staff. After introducing what Yahoo! and Google are doing in the space, the article continues:

As Yahoo and Google see it, serendipity is largely a byproduct of social networks. Close-knit teams do well at tackling the challenges in front of them, but lack the connections to spot complementary ideas elsewhere in the company. The University of Chicago sociologist Ronald S. Burt calls these organizational gaps “structural holes.” In a 2004 study of 673 managers at the defense contractor Raytheon, Mr. Burt found that managers who serendipitously bridged such gaps were more likely to generate good ideas (and advance professionally as a result). “This is not creativity born of genius,” he wrote. “It is creativity as an import-export business.” In such cases, serendipity is the spontaneous plugging of these holes, over which good ideas flow.

The article describes some of the research being done in the space by measuring online and real-world interactions:
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We’re looking for 3D talent! …to help create a 3D free-form mind mapping tool


Those who are familiar with my work know that I believe in concept visualization to communicate ideas. In fact I first wrote about the potential of 3D for concept representation and communication 14 years ago, in the late 1990s.

For a while we have been developing specifications and prototypes for what I have been describing as a “3D free-form mind map” that will allow people to create and modify 3 dimensional representations of their thoughts on particular topics, unconstrained by the intrinsic hierarchical structure of a mind map. Users will be able to move around and fly through the 3D “thoughtscapes” they create, and share them with the world in a variety of formats.

I sometimes use the example of my NewsScape, pictured below, as an example of a concept map that anyone would very quickly and easily be able to create in the app.

The NewsScape
Click on the image to see large version
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Judging the best visualizations of the future: Enter the BBC What If? competition


This year BBC is focusing on the future under the theme What If? and has just launched its What If? Visions of the Future competition.

Image source: BBC News/ Glenn Hatton
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Design to elucidate complexity: derivatives and the meta-economy


I just came across the excellent visual presentation at the bottom of this post by information designer Gong Szeto on Design as Derivative: Weapons of Mass Disruption.

Source: Gong Szeto

Financial derivatives are collectively one of the most complex human-created domains, which systemically can have a massive impact in the real world.
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The enormous opportunity for writers and readers in an ebook world


Last Friday I was interviewed on ABC’s News Exchange program about ebooks and their impact.

Click on the image to view the video of the program. The ebook segment is around 13:30 – 17:15.

We covered a lot of territory in the interview, ranging across topics including why ebooks are rising so rapidly to the impact on booksellers and libraries.
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[VIDEO] The world’s first full motion-graphics presentation


In late April I gave a keynote at TheNextWeb 2012 conference in Amsterdam on The Future of Crowds.

I have for many years intended to develop a full motion graphics presentation. I have long used highly visual presentations to accompany my keynotes, often including numerous videos without sound as well an array of full screen images. However they primarily consisted of static visuals.

I decided TheNextWeb conference was a good opportunity to create my first full motion-graphics presentation. Below is a video of the keynote’s visual presentation.

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The fantastic initiatives that are creating City 2.0


TED (which not many people remember was originally founded by information architect Richard Saul Wurman in 1984) has expanded dramatically over the last years, from a single annual event to activities spanning a network of thousands of TEDx events, the TED-Ed educational network, the TED Prize, and now its City 2.0 initiative.

Part of City 2.0 this year is a project of 10 awards of $10,000 being given away to support local ventures that are making a difference. We are half way through, with now 5 awards being given.

The City 2.0 project site gives a full rundown of the winners. Below is an overview of the five fantastic projects.
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Keynote at TheNextWeb: The future is motion graphic presentations


I am giving keynotes this Wednesday at TheNextWeb CxO Summit and on Friday at TheNextWeb Conference.

My topic will be the Future of Crowds, a big picture view of how crowds will be the future of everything, including its impact on work, organizations, business models, capitalism, reputation, media, marketing, innovation, opportunity, and government.

However one of the most interesting aspects of my keynote is that my visual presentation will consist entirely of motion graphics, 3D, and video – there will be no still images.

I first started experimenting with using Flash in presentations in the 1990s, and often use a variety of videos and flash embedded into my presentations. For many years I have wanted to create an entirely moving graphic presentation. When I was asked to speak at TheNextWeb, I thought it was a great opportunity to finally do it.

For the last few weeks I have been working with a global team of moving graphic and 3D designers to create my visual presentation.

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London Future and Design drinks on 23 April – hope to see you there!


I start a busy five week European speaking tour from this Saturday with a weekend in London with my wife the jewellery designer Victoria Buckley and two lovely little girls before heading on the Tuesday to Amsterdam for my first keynote at TheNextWeb Conference.

Since Victoria and I will both be in London I wanted to organize a catch-up drinks for people we know, and also anyone else who wants to come along. As such I thought we could frame it as a ‘Future and Design’ drinks, with all welcome. Details here:

Date: Monday 23 April
Time: 6:00-8:30pm
Venue: Alphabet Bar, 61-63 Beak Street, Soho, London W1F 9SL (Map)
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