Breaking the Mold
The 3-D Printing Revolution is Pushing Project Managers into Creative New Dimensions
3-D printing is rapidly building the future. In the past decade, it's evolved from an expensive high-tech curiosity to a faster and cheaper way of doing business in varied industries around the world. Predicted by ARK Invest to be a US$41 billion global market by 2020—a figure that's nearly double what was predicted by Wohlers Associates two years ago for 2020—3-D printing is helping organizations unlock innovation while cutting production costs and time to market. The technology is used by Nike to custom-tailor shoes for individual athletes, by Volvo to make tools for building truck engines and by research institutions to create organs and tissues for patients. As 3-D printing (sometimes known as additive manufacturing) becomes a mainstay at organizations, project managers must adapt to extended design phases full of rapid prototyping and new creative possibilities. But they're also learning limitations—of both the printers and materials their teams aim to manipulate.