An "intimate approach" to introducing 3D Printing to corporations

As you may already know, we are also studying the deep impacts that DiDIY (Digital DIY) has on organization and work, for the reasons explained in our Factsheet on this topic. Here is one more real world example of what we mean, and one more case study for our research:

As 3D printer manufacturers and vendors, we see firsthand how some companies adopt desktop 3D printers into their creative processes. Some like to assign a 3D printer to one interested engineer to tinker and evaluate for possible integration without much direction. Other companies simply place the 3D printer on an employee’s desk and say, “learn this and see if it can help us,” despite the employee’s lack of interest or time. Yet others will begin to bring this very useful tool into the workplace only after several 3D printer enthusiasts have pleaded a strong case.

Warner Bros. on the other hand, has taken a [revolutionary and] very wise approach. The company invited all employees to participate in a voluntary 32 hour 3D Printing Hackathon. Participants where challenged to design and 3D print a new thing that could be useful at work. The level of participation was unprecedented. WB was pleasantly surprised that 17 teams of brilliant designers, engineers, and all around innovators signed up for the challenge! Together with Airwolf 3D, about 125 of these brave hackers learned about 3D printing and set out on the morning of May 11th to design and make their prototypes. They worked tirelessly throughout the night and until the late afternoon of the 12th.

The benefits of this 3D Printing Hackathon:
• It quickly identified key pioneers at the company with the desire to learn and embrace 3D printers in their workplace.
• It avoided feelings of a new technology being “forced” on staff.
• Prevented the potential financial burden of placing additive manufacturing equipment in departments where it might simply collect dust.
• It was a positive team building experience, filled with creativity, innovation and cross-collaboration among various departments.

At the end of the day this move "made a real change in the attitude towards 3D printing in a company... And it’s probably a lot less expensive than [other approaches]".

To know more, go straight at these sources:

(Image source: Airwolf3D blog post)