Social Media and The Digitization of Manufacturing January 21, 2013 RICCentre By: Shanza Anwaar Is your business prepared for the third industrial revolution? Can you keep up with the changing landscape of manufacturing? The digitization of manufacturing is in the throes of changing how manufacturers do business in today’s high-speed, hyper-connected world. The rapid dissemination of information through online social media is bringing change to traditional economies driven by mass manufacturing, focusing on a more personal, specialized production than the traditional one-size-fits-all approach. (for insights into how successful companies in the advanced manufacturing arena are tackling this changing landscape, check out videos, webinar, and resources from RIC Centre’s series Innovate Forward). The big shift is towards greater efficiency, a sustained effort towards constant innovation, and connecting consumers with designers and manufacturers in order to create specialized products in real time that reflect what the community wants and needs. A good example of this shift is Quirky, a team of design experts, that aims to bridge the gap between inventors and consumers. With 188 retail partners, 292 products developed and a rising membership of over 330, 000 community members, Quirky is rapidly changing the concept of “product development”. A winning example of an innovative product by Quirky is Pivot Power, which is “an adjustable power strip that holds large adapters in every outlet.” Mass manufacturing is giving way to individualized production with the help of the web and 3D Printing. “The process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model”, 3D Printing is one of the ways through which Quirky designs its products. Executive Director at the University of Waterloo, Ginny Dybenko, states that “the ramifications of 3D printing are far more than convenience of time… 3D printing blows the whole concept of economies of scale, which are associated with producing many copies of exactly the same thing, right out the window”. As consumers, innovators, and manufacturers connect through social media platforms, ideas for products are quickly turned into reality in order to be tested and eventually marketed. Social media is thus helping shape a new “create-buy-sell model” that lets online communities be directly involved in the creative and production processes. Want to learn more on how digitization is impacting the manufacturing industry? Click here to read the original article. Shanza is a Social Media Intern at RIC Centre. Pursuing two undergraduate majors in anthropology and professional writing at the University of Toronto Mississauga, Shanza is also a co-editor and content writer at the Digital Enterprise Management Society. She hopes to make her mark as a Social Media Consultant. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal and professional experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.