technologies, industry meetings, and factory visits, they have identified three myths that need to be dispelled. The first myth is that additive manufacturing will allow producers to make parts of any complexity as easily and economically as parts that are manufactured in traditional ways (in other words,
that it will make complexity “free”). The second myth is that additive manufacturing will prod manufacturing to become local. And the third myth is that additive manufacturing will allow producers to
replace mass manufacturing with mass customization. In the authors’ view, none of these expectations
is likely to be realized in the next few decades.
Although the authors say that additive manufacturing will make it easier to design lighter parts with
complex geometries and internal cavities, they point to important drawbacks and restrictions. Knowing
the parameters of what’s possible to produce requires skills that are currently scarce. There are also
safety and technical issues. Some of the safety concerns stem from the fact that the technology is new.
Although many people are looking for additive manufacturing to bring manufacturing closer to
markets and consumers, the authors believe that this scenario has been exaggerated, largely due to
economies of scale. Despite expectations that additive manufacturing will bring a decisive shift from
mass manufacturing to mass customization, the likelihood that change will occur quickly is slim,
the authors say. What’s more, they raise questions about how flexible additive manufacturing will be.
In theory, a good 3-D printer should be capable of printing a wide range of designs. In practice,
though, there may be regulations (particularly in safety-critical applications) about how equipment
can be configured.
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The Corporate Implications of Longer Lives
Lynda Gratton (London Business School) and Andrew Scott (London Business School) pp. 63-70
Across the world, people today are living longer. Whether it is in the United States, China, or Rwanda,
average human life expectancy has increased over the past few decades.
There is growing awareness that increasing longevity will have major implications for how people
manage their work lives and careers. Rising life expectancy means the level of savings required to provide a reasonable income for retirement at age 65 is becoming increasingly infeasible for many people.
Given the average level of savings, the authors say, many workers in their mid-40s are likely to need to
work into their early to mid-70s; many currently in their 20s may work into their late 70s, and even into
Although people are starting to recognize that they will have to restructure their lives and careers,
corporations are unprepared. Few organizations have taken full account of the opportunities and
challenges longevity brings to their own workforces. Most companies, especially those operating
in the advanced economies, still view life in terms of three stages: full-time education, full-time work,
and then a “hard stop” retirement around the age of 65. This is the life structure that emerged in the
20th century and continues to underpin much thinking about the workforce. But in the view of the
authors, it cannot be stretched to support a healthy 100-year life and will need to be expanded to
include more stages.
Without change, the authors argue, employees will struggle to build a working life that has resilience
over an extended period of time and that will support a healthy and prosperous longevity. For example,
In the next few decades, the authors expect there will be a fundamental rethinking of traditional
corporate policies for recruitment, learning and development, compensation, and retirement. Corpo-
rations that move quickly to transform their policies will gain from employees who are more engaged
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