Democratization and Disintermediation: Disruptive Technologies and the Future of Making Things

This blog is an excerpt of an article that is currently available in the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) November issue.

We live in a world of constant change, where new technologies are dramatically reshaping how we work and live. The most significant of these changes occur when new technologies unleash two powerful forces on an industry—democratization and disintermediation. The power of these two forces is fueled by the fundamental human desire to communicate, connect, create, and consume in a personalized manner. We have seen time and again how new technologies emerge without warning and gain momentum rapidly by empowering people as creators and consumers. Already the waves of democratization and disintermediation have transformed major industries – first computing, then publishing and retail – leaving behind permanently changed landscapes. And now we are seeing early signs of democratization and disintermediation changing the value chain for how we make things.

blogggFigure 1-The product development value chain

We have a timely opportunity foster the right combination of human, technological, financial, and regulatory conditions to nurture this impending phase change in how we make things. By examining the impact of democratization and disintermediation in other industries, we can gain new insights into the enabling technologies that will drive the future of manufacturing, and better understand how to harness them to redefine how value is created. The winners in the future will be the organizations that empower millions of people to be creators in a vast new value network of people, capital, and machines that fulfills their ideas and enables customers to buy them in personalized ways.

By Steve Hoover, CEO and Lawrence Lee, Director, Strategy at PARC

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