Ponoko and MIT Technology Review

Technology Review: Automated Custom Manufacturing: Ponoko wants to give customers the tools to design and sell whatever they want.


We’re feeling pretty good here. Michael Gibson from the MIT Technology Review wrote about us this week and we’re really pleased with their help on getting our story out there:

For most companies, product design and development is a long process of trial and error, involving, among other things, in-house designers, committees, timed product releases, and, ultimately, customer feedback. Until a product sells, or if it doesn’t sell, it takes up costly shelf space in either stores or warehouses.

But by letting individuals dream up, make, and then sell unique products on demand, Ponoko is attempting to eliminate the product-development wing. Ultimately, it hopes to eliminate the need for a centralized manufacturing plant as well, by recruiting a large enough community of digital manufacturers–people scattered around the world who have 3-D printers, CNC routers, and laser cutters. Moving the site of production as close as possible to the point of purchase will reduce the need for long-distance shipping.

Frank Piller of Mass Customization and Open Innovation blog, comments:

For a number of years, it has been accepted that users often are the source of innovation. . . Until recently, innovative users required a professional manufacturer to turn their innovations into ‘real’ products. But companies like Ponoko are changing this game.

As we say in the article, we are in for the long-term, where we can see this sort of system emerging and becoming mainstream. You can read the full article here.

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