PI Congress Munich and distributed innovation

PI Congress Munich and distributed innovation

PI Munich event is over. Now it is the time to digest information, scroll through the notes, tweets and business cards. It was a great set of presentations, meetings and information exchange. One of my favorite presentation during the second day of the event was Jos Voskuil’s – The PLM identity crisis (you can see presentation here).


Jos provided a very interesting  perspective on PLM trends. He made a great point about PLM “one liners”. Take a look on few examples here. It reminded me one of my earlier articles – PLM Vendors and Differentiation: Square the Circle.

However, my absolute favorite was a slide about PLM and future of innovation. Here is the link and picture below:


It made me think about future distributed manufacturing, connected factories and supply chain. In the past, manufacturing was centralized with significant presence of big enterprise. Very small and agile companies can work much more efficiently. But communication is a real challenge. It must be a way to solve it. Thinking about future of small and very small enterprise made me think about roots going back to the invention of the internet. Navigate to the following article – Paul Baran and the Origins of Internet. It is a fascinating reading and I highly recommend you to review it. The following visualization and passage can give you an idea how roots of the internet looked like.

At that time, RAND focused mostly on Cold War-related military issues. A looming concern was that neither the long-distance telephone plant, nor the basic military command and control network would survive a nuclear attack. Although most of the links would be undamaged, the centralized switching facilities would be destroyed by enemy weapons. Consequently, Baran conceived a system that had no centralized switches and could operate even if many of its links and switching nodes had been destroyed.

Baran envisioned a network of unmanned nodes that would act as switches, routing information from one node to another to their final destinations. The nodes would use a scheme Baran called “hot-potato routing” or distributed communications.


So, the future looks very distributed. How manufacturing companies will collaborate and manage processes? The previous model of linear workflows and asynchronous collaboration is dead. Then, what is next? I want to come back to the idea and question of interactive user experience. Engineers are working in a real time and collaborating instantly on the same piece of contextual data – drawing, 3D model, bill of materials.While the idea is not very unique for consumer oriented communication software, it can be a novel for enterprise.


What is my conclusion? New models of collaboration between the teams can help to innovate. The communication will be the key element of future networking model. It will help to people to work simultaneously, bring information in context and generate new ideas based on ad-hoc processes. The role network is mandatory. It will facilitate future innovation. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

Picture source – PI Congress, Jos Voskuil and Business Insider


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