Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Boeing's Collaborative Dreamliner.

Boeing Corporation is working with 60 partners at a total of 72 sites around the world to design and build its new '787 Dreamliner.' Boeing’s partners are scattered in what Boeing calls a 'global virtual collaborative environment.'

The Dreamliner is an ultracomplex Hyperinnovation which promises 20 percent better fuel efficiency, 40 percent more cargo capacity, a fuselage with a composite structure, and advanced flight deck and better performance engines. There will be innovative systems technologies, with an open systems approach, a new passenger cabin, advanced wing design, and an enhanced passenger and crew experience.

However, collaborative innovation has a legacy of failure. Complex systems innovation and integration projects are fraught with politcs, miscommunication, and lost information that gets lost in the sheer complexity of the project.

By putting the issue of ‘collaboration’ at the heart of the project, and by supporting this effort with new project protocols, supporting infrastructures, and collaborative communication/information technologies, Boeing are achieving a step change in project performance.

This is driving Boeing towards a new kind of project management model that will enable the design and delivery of evermore adventurous, innovative and super performance airliners... Go Boeing!

Monday, 28 May 2007

There’s plenty of value at the bottom.

Molecular manufacturing (MM) will account for much of the world’s economy by 2025. But an economy like none we have experienced before.

When full blown MM arrives the marginal cost of creating any possible physical product would be on the order of pennies per kilo: basically the cost of the raw material. Eric Drexler (see side bar) estimates total manufacturing cost for MM process in the range of 2 pence and 10 pence per kilogram, regardless of whether the products are clothing, massively parallel supercomputers, tomato soup, or additional MM systems (or Nanofactory).

The value-added, however, will be in the information expressing each product. That is, the software that selects the atomic weight, and defines the geometry and molecular assembly process. In other words, the market value of all manufactured material objects will be based on information content.

As this happens the ratio of value added per bit will rise significantly. This is obviously a trajectory we have today. More value-added comes from information-added products and services, because the order of information embedded within a new product or service is increasing over time. Thus the technological innovations of the future will (1) mostly be information added, (2) exceedingly more complex than today. These will be key economic metrics of the future.