Disruptive Technology: Good Things...with a Catch

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Every so often, a technology emerges on the scene that is a game changer for us all. These “disruptive technologies” (DT) typically displace an established technology in a way that impacts our daily lives and often give birth to whole new industries.

DTs are transformative in nature and tend to liberate our ability to imagine more, do more and achieve more—but often with a catch. Imagine life without smartphones and apps. While they unleashed the power of mobile computing, they also created dependencies to where people deprived of them actually experience withdrawal symptoms and health problems both physical and mental (see “Phone withdrawal has physical impact”).

One of the latest DTs is 3D printing (a.k.a. additive manufacturing). 3D printing has the potential of changing the way just about everything is made. This DT has opened up possibilities that boggle the mind, and has applications from healthcare to aerospace, from the automotive industry to the construction industry.

Through 3D printing technology, we will be able to print human organs based on a person’s specific DNA and cell materials—eventually eliminating the need for organ donors and long waiting lists for kidneys, hearts, livers and lungs.

NASA is using 3D printing to print tools and parts in space, eliminating weight issues and providing on-demand …

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