Workers of the future will demand more than a pay cheque

Companies must develop people strategies that reskill and upskill their workforce and facilitate a transition that returns a sense of purpose to people’s lives. Getty

Businesses around the world are coming to terms with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. The speed of the current advancements in technology – such as Artificial Intelligence, robotics, autonomous transport, Internet of Things, 3D printing and big data analytics among others – is unprecedented. When compared with previous Industrial Revolutions, the Fourth is disrupting almost all industries.

The change brought about by technology is a reaction to the changing profile of consumers led by millennials, who are demanding smart round-the-clock services across all sectors. Organisations are now forced to rethink their traditional business models and adapt to the rapidly evolving business landscape.

It is no surprise that business leaders, HR professionals and employees are asking pertinent questions such as:

  • How do we build for a digital future?
  • How can we attract and retain tomorrow’s workforce?
  • What does success look like in this new world of work?

Against this backdrop of disruption, organisations need to distinguish themselves from others in order to stand out. Thriving organisations i.e. those that transform their work environment into a compelling experience, will be most successful in building the workforce of the future. According to Mercer’s latest research, “Thriving in an Age of Disruption,” which surveyed over 800 participants in 57 countries across 26 industries, only 52 per cent of respondents said their organisations were committed to creating an environment where employees are able to thrive.

Thriving organisations need to be planned, designed and built. They create an atmosphere that enriches the lives of their workforce through experiences and empowers them to contribute. As automation – driven by AI, robotics and machine learning – takes over existing jobs that are traditionally considered as monotonous, repetitive and low-skilled; companies must develop people strategies that reskill and upskill their workforce and facilitate a transition that returns a sense of purpose to people’s lives.

Growth and development drives happiness, purpose

It is extremely prescient of the UAE to be the first country in the world to announce a Minister for Happiness and emphasize on the importance of happiness as a key pillar of the country’s national agenda. Thriving in the age of disruption requires all stakeholders to be invested in a successful transition into the future workforce. In the UAE, the government is leading by example.

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Investment trends that will affect the Middle East in 2018

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Exceptional organisations transform work into a compelling experience that meets all employees’ needs and unlocks their full potential. Only 2 out of 5 employees polled, believe their company has a compelling and differentiated value proposition. For those employers already engaged on this journey to become a thriving organisation, headline results show that growth and development are what matter most, followed closely by fair access to opportunities and equity in pay. Notably, Mercer’s research finds that employees who are energised and bring their authentic selves to work are 45 per cent more invested in their role.

Motivate workforce with experiential, emotional and contractual rewards

The research shows that a trusting work environment, a feeling of personal accomplishment, faith in senior leadership, clarity around career paths and a strategy that is responsive to external market shifts and societal needs explain 79 per cent of employee confidence in the company they work for. Employees stay engaged and invested in an organisation that creates staying power through a unique proposition that offers purpose and belonging and creates a diffrentiated experience that supports career growth and personal wellbeing, in addition to a fair contractual arrangement.

The Mercer Thrive report suggests four critical priorities to help companies accelerate their performance and enable them to transition into the future workforce:

1.Craft a future-focused people strategy: organisations need to approach their people strategy with as much dedication as they approach their innovation and digital strategies. Thriving organisations treat their workforce as an asset in which to invest – not simply a business cost.

2. Curate a compelling employee value proposition: People want jobs that work for them. They want tools to manage work and life in a way that is personalised, flexible and unique to their own interests and aspirations.

3. Create a thriving work environment: Individuals thrive when work is challenging and purposeful, when they feel empowered to make decisions and when they are connected to colleagues and experts.

4.Cultivate a lab mindset: To stay ahead in changing times, cultivate a mindset that encourages experimentation, design thinking, innovation, balanced risk taking and a climate of continuous learning.

Regardless of the size of an organisation, the case for companies to embark on a shift to a sustainable, thriving work culture is compelling. Organisations that are agile and foster a purpose-driven culture are more likely to post annual revenue growth and attract the right talent, who will want to join, stay and deliver their best.

Nuno Gomes is the head of Career Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at Mercer

Future Outlook of Material Jetting Market (MJ) 2017-2021

Material jetting is similar to inkjet document printing, but instead of jetting drops of ink onto paper, PolyJet 3D printers jet drops of liquid photopolymer onto the build tray.  Multiple print heads jet material simultaneously to create each layer, and UV light is then used to cure the layers.  These layers build up one at a time in an additive process to create a 3D model.  Fully cured models can be handled and used immediately without additional post-curing.  Along with the selected model materials, a gel-like support material facilitates successful printing of complicated geometries. Support material can be removed by hand or by a high-powered water jet station.

Material jetting is the only additive manufacturing technology that can combine different print materials within the same 3D printed model in the same print job.  Additionally, the multi-material printing process is capable of constructing functional assemblies, which reduces the need for multiple builds.

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The Global Material Jetting Market (MJ) from the perspective of all its current trends that are influencing it is important to understand in order to obtain the most rounded solution for business strategies in it. These trends are geographical, socioeconomic, economic, consumer, political, cultural, and their overall effect on client or consumer preferences will have a major data in how this market will form itself in the following years to come. Dynamics and the way they impact the Global Material Jetting Market (MJ) have been studied in absolute precise details in the report. The ultimate goal for the dissemination of this information is to create a detailed descriptive analysis of how these trends could potentially affect the future of the Global Material Jetting Market (MJ) within the report’s forecast period.

The report, is an all-inclusive and descriptive view of the Global Material Jetting Market (MJ). It elaborates on the market dynamics, scope of growth in various segments and regions, and other parameters that have been so far effective during its expansion in terms of gaining value and size. This research study is thus a quantitative as well as a qualitative study aimed at imparting clear vision of all possible situations and structure in the Global Material Jetting Market (MJ), as well as the drivers.

The Global Material Jetting Market (MJ) is also presented to the readers as a holistic snapshot of the competitive landscape within the given forecast period. It presents a comparative detailed analysis of the all regional and player segments, offering readers a better knowledge of where areas in which they can place their existing resources and gauging the priority of a particular region in order to boost their standing in the Global Material Jetting Market (MJ).

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The future of 3D Printing by Dr. Andreas Leupold, Leupold Legal

Our thought leadership series on the future of 3D printing continues with insights from Dr. Andreas Leupold, lawyer for emerging technologies and IT and editor/author of the book 3D Printing: Law, Business & Technology from Leupold Legal, Germany

While nobody has a magic crystal ball to predict which frontiers 3D printing will move in the future and where this revolutionary manufacturing method will be in five to ten years, it is completely safe to say that the industrialisation of 3D printing is already an integral part of the plans of many businesses, has found its first steps into different industries and will continue to gain momentum The constructional freedom in creating parts and products, the redundancy of injection mold tools, the shorter time to market and cost savings made by printing spare parts as needed instead of warehousing them in large numbers are all driving forces for this.

And naturally the technical and legal challenges that 3D printing brings with it will go hand in hand with these developments: If a company wants to secure its future in 3D printing, it will need to safeguard its own intellectual property and business secrets, avoid infringements of industrial property rights, tackle the question of data ownership in the digital supply chain, reach industrial security agreements with all recipients of 3D printing data, minimize its exposure to product liability and adhere to new technical standards. All this with changing requirements due to the fast moving developments in 3D printing.

Business Technology Internet and network hologram concept

Safeguard your intellectual property

As new processes and algorithms are freeing manufacturers from limitations that kept them from harnessing the advantages of 3D printing for large volume production, their exposure to product piracy will also increase. 3D printing will continue to make it easier than ever for counterfeiters to create exact copies of products, as all that is needed for this are the 3D model, a 3D printer and sufficient experience with additive manufacturing processes. 3D printing will also continue to be a highly digitalised process. As such the 3D model can be snatched from a company server or 3D printer of the owner without him even noticing. Companies considering themselves safe because they are not (yet) working with 3D models and printers should better think twice as their products too can be copied by means of a 3D scanner and then manufactured with a 3D printer. Any company offering products that are in high demand and/or innovative must therefore check whether its intellectual property policy is still up to the task of making the most of the protection granted for three dimensional trademarks, product designs, copyrighted works and patents in the advent of 3D printing.

As most companies still lack the expertise needed for 3D printing themselves, they will continue to outsource their additive manufacturing to service providers which will own the rights to all improvements that they make to the products should the company fail to secure rights to all improvements and alterations by means of sound, suitable and intelligent development and licensing agreements.

Avoid infringements of industrial property rights

But protecting one´s own products from counterfeiters will not remain the only legal challenge of 3D printing. The flip side of this is also avoiding infringements of other parties´ IP rights. Before venturing into 3D printing spare parts for products from other manufacturers, companies will therefore need to carry out a comprehensive “Freedom to Operate” analysis which serves the purpose of identifying third party industrial property rights that may only be printed with the prior consent of the respective rights’ holder. This can pose a significant challenge when the design of spare parts has been protected for the original manufacturer since national laws in EU member states still prevents anyone from printing these parts if they cannot be considered “must fit” parts that need to have a predefined shape in order to replace the original part in a more complex machine. This issue has long been dormant, but 3D printing has lent it new prominence prompting the EU Commission to consider an overhaul of the legal framework for the protection of designs. The discussion of whether anyone should be free to 3D print spare parts of any kind, has, however, only just begun and the outcome is still uncertain.

Deal with data ownership

As industrial 3D printing relies on data that is turned into products, data will become the new crown jewels of companies. Data in a 3D printing file or 3D model often contains the blueprint for a new product and machine data often gives a sensitive insight into confidential production parameters. Both should of course be subject to strict confidentiality. But the movement of data for the printing processes also raises the question of who legally owns the machine data generated during additive manufacturing processes and the man-made data needed for 3D printing. It may come as a surprise that the current legal regimes in most countries do not actually provide for a data ownership in the legal sense but only allow for the ownership of physical things. For this reason, the European Commission is evaluating the introduction of a new data producer right. It will take quite some time before this can become a reality, but even then, companies wanting to keep full control of their 3D printing data will have to suitably secure their data rights in all of their agreements with suppliers and service providers.

Enter into industrial security agreements

3D printing on an industrial scale rarely is a closed shop process but often requires the exchange of manufacturing data with suppliers, R&D partners and other recipients. The need for a free flow of data will grow significantly once distributed manufacturing in close vicinity to the locations where spare parts or other industrial goods are needed, becomes the rule. We already can observe efforts in this area. Research done by UPS shows that decentralized 3D printing has a measurable positive impact on the supply chain, 3dhubs has a global network of 5,343 manufacturing services that can be used by its customers and major players in the 3D printing market such as Materialise and DMG Mori Spare Parts have joined forces to create a software based platform that will allow companies to manufacture spare parts decentrally. Such business models require the secure, tamper-safe storage and transmission of all data needed for initiating the printing process and the creation of fail-safe solutions for ensuring the traceability of 3D printed products. Companies engaged in additive manufacturing must ensure a uniform level of security throughout their entire supply chain by planning ahead and concluding legally sound industrial security agreements. These need to address the technical and organizational measures for a safe production and distribution environment before exchanging any 3D models or other data with external partners. This is also needed to claim protection for business secrets since the new EU Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information has defined prerequisites for granting protection to confidential information. From 2018 onwards, the iconic “for your eyes only” rubber stamp will therefore no longer suffice to protect the most valuable assets of a company. Contracts will also be key to safeguarding company interests. And confidentiality agreements and NDAs will have to achieve more than conventional agreements have done so far.

Minimize your exposure to product liability

New manufacturing and distribution models like distributed manufacturing and the increasing use of 3D printing service providers and novel feedstocks will likely give rise to an increasing product liability of hard and software suppliers, manufacturers of raw materials and many other stakeholders in the digital supply chain. While it is not possible to exclude own liability for damages arising from product defects for consumers, it is well possible to agree on a right of recourse against suppliers of printing materials, machines, software or finished parts that cause such damages. CEO´s may also become personally liable, if suitable clear agreements are not achieved on all measures that must be taken to ensure product safety with everyone in their supply chain.

Adhere to new technical standards

Without doubt, technical standards are very much needed for securing the future of industrial 3D printing because they serve the purpose of providing important guidance on material properties, data formats, test methods and systems reliability to name but a few examples. The joint efforts of the American Standards Organization (ASTM) and ISO to create such standards are therefore to be welcomed. Adhering to these new technical standards, however, will only exonerate European companies from product liability if these standards are transformed into harmonized European standards. Until this happens, technical standards are merely non-binding recommendations that may or may not reflect the state of the art in science and technology that every manufacturer must reach to avoid product liability. Companies will therefore need to give up the widespread belief that they are safe from any product liability as long as they adhere to generally accepted technical standards or customary 3D printing processes that the future may still bring and instead need to ensure themselves that their products are created and manufactured according to the constantly evolving state of the art in science and technology.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would say that 3D printing is giving companies new freedoms to construct and to operate and making an impact on logistics. All of this is exciting and good for business, but we should not forget to include our legal advisers and in-house counsels in these evolving processes. Identifying areas that need to be reworked to be legally secure is key to keeping company know-how safe and maintaining valuable market positions. And no doubt 3D printing will continue to pose new legal questions as its development proceeds.

Law, economics and technology of industrial 3D printing is available here.

Tech industry has bright future in the Black Hills

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV)

The Black Hills tech industry could be getting a boost. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender is backing a proposal for a new incubator that will help start-ups grow.

“Rapid City is kind of becoming a hub for technology and innovation.”
One of the most successful tech start-ups in Rapid City is B9 Creations – a 3D printing company that does business in over 50 countries because they print more than seven times faster than the industry average.”

“We’d love to have a tech-friendly space that we can move to, right in downtown, that’s still attractive to the employees we want to attract and retain, as well as the people who come to do business with us.”

“It’s something that Rapid City should have done a long time ago. When you look at most communities that have such a strong tech school like the school of mines, they have those type of facilities next to the school. And it’s not just to support early stage companies. It’s to attract big companies that want to be close to the students and close to the professors on a strong technical school like this.”

A Forbes article published this year says South Dakota is one of the least innovative states in the country. Tech and entrepreneur experts here in town, disagree.

“The state consistently scores high on pro-new start-up type metrics because of their real advantages tax structure.”

“There’s a group of us that are hoping over the next seven to ten years we can create a thousand tech jobs here in Rapid City and I think we’re well on our path to do that but we’re not there yet.”

Though it does have many young tech workers, South Dakota doesn’t have all the talent to fill the industry’s need.

“The talent aspect of that mid-career person with ten years of experience in a high-tech company, those are harder to find, simply because we don’t have as many companies, yet. But I predict that that will change.”

The tech industry growth has the potential to bolster Rapid City’s economy.

Another example of the Black Hills’ movement in the industry is the DUNE project at the Sanford Lab in Deadwood.