Key factors of online creation for 3D printing

The last couple of posts, I wrote about several factors, which I consider as key success factors for online creation in the context of 3D printing. This post is a summary of these posts.

To sum up I wrote about:

Here is how I would define each of these factors:

Immediate Context
People want to grasp immediately the context on how a particular concept applies to them when they use or see a product for the first time. They need to be able to understand how to use it and what they can do with it. Even when it is only at a superficial level. It needs to answer questions like “What does it mean for me?” and “How would I use it?”. When a product (or service) has these attributes, it provides immediate context.

Frictionless Creation
Frictionless creation means that the level of effort to create is extremely low to (preferably) non-existent. A user who visits an internet service for the first time can immediately participate in the creation process if he wishes. The act of creation — and many times, interaction — is extremely simple. Services like Facebook and Twitter are excellent examples of frictionless creation. They user does not need a tutorial or watch a video to participate.

Open-ended Creation
Open-ended creation allows the user to create, but does not limit him in either form and/or function in the creation process. Open-ended creation allows for more elaborate, creative expressions compared to closed-ended creation.
An example is twitter. People use it for conversations, news notifications or link sharing. Twitter does not restrict the use cases and limits only the form. Not the function. You see a lot of creative expressions based on Twitter because of that design decision. It allowed the platform for creation to become greater than its creators could have foreseen.

Product Relevancy
There are three factors, which makes a product relevant in the context of 3D printing:

  1. Design (form and function) — The product has an intended use, and it should support that in an optimal way. The form itself should be appealing to the target audience.
  2. Material(s) — Material should be applicable for the design and support the intended function of the product. Often it needs to look and feel good. But also longevity, resistance to outside influences and sturdiness are important requirements.
  3. Price — Price is a fluid definition with regard to relevancy. For instance a higher price for a particular product, can make it more relevant. The same applies the other way around. In the end, the price should be in line with expectations of the target customers.

All three product relevancy factors work together as a system. I mean with that better materials lead to higher price, which in turn can lower the product relevancy. It is a balancing act.

The combination of all four factors will create the killer application for 3D printing. At least, that is my current line of thinking. The advancement of 3D printing technology combined new novel approaches to create products online have to proof this in the coming years. I am sure we will get there. Somehow.