Will 3-D printing revolutionize manufacturing—and the global marketplace?

MIT-3D-Printing-Inter-1MIT launched the 3-D printing phenomenon thirty years ago—even trademarked the term 3-D printing (3DP) back in the early 1990s. Today, the Institute is a nerve center of invention in what is technically referred to as additive manufacturing. The MIT Glass LabMIT Media LabMIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and MIT Computational Fabrication Group are just a few of the laboratories and centers at MIT that are exploding 3-D into a broad spectrum of fields.

MIT-3Dglass-1_0The MIT Glass Lab and the MIT Media Lab have developed a new high-temperature system to create transparent yet robust glass structures from computerized designs. The key to their success, just published in the Journal of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, is high temperature. Previous efforts working with glass have met with mixed results because the viscosity of glass changes dramatically with the degree of heat. Using a special high temperature process, however, researchers at the Glass Lab have found a way to design and print glass components of variable depth and complexity. The project began in an MIT additive manufacturing class.

Continue reading

The political health of a nation dictates other vital signs

Alan_Doss_closeMany associate the African continent with political volatility, but while it is the tension that makes headlines, peace and progress reign in many countries on the world’s second largest continent. Kofi Annan Foundation Executive Director Alan Doss points to nations like Liberia and Sierra Leone as reasons for optimism. Doss is encouraged by the fact that those nations have recently elected leaders according to a peaceful and transparent process. “These officials have come in with the confidence of the people,” he says. “Now they have to build productive partnerships—locally and globally—to produce the sustainable results their citizens are expecting.”

Doss observes that nations like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast only recently have emerged from periods of terrible violence and enormous human suffering. “To create a dynamic of sustainable progress,” he says, “they need to rebuild sound governance and avoid slipping back into conflict.”

If Doss understands African challenges, it’s because he has devoted much of his career to the continent, promoting peace, sustainable development, and human rights. Before taking on leadership of the Geneva-based foundation established by Kofi Annan, SF ’72, Doss was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and head of the peacekeeping mission there.

Continue reading

The anatomy of a 21st-century game-changer

Hal Gregersen Are innovators exceptionally smart, creative, or just lucky? All three? MIT Sloan Leadership Center Executive Director Hal Gregersen and coauthors Clayton Christensen and Jeff Dyer explore a question that is often asked but rarely answered to satisfaction: What does it take to be a successful innovator?

In their latest book The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, they attempt to dispel the myths and identify the distinguishing characteristics of a game changer. They reveal the findings of an eight-year study during which the team interviewed hundreds of inventors of revolutionary products. They talked to CEOs of pioneering companies. That sat down with societal game-changers. And they began to see a few patterns emerge.

Gregersen and his team identified five skills that set apart innovative leaders—leaders who could disrupt the status quo and deliver meaningful change.

Continue reading