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The Decentralized and Networked Future of Value Creation3D Printing and its Implications for Society, Industry, and Sustainable Development

Recent technological changes as well as social and organizational innovations have spurred a broad transformation of dominant means and ends for value creation. A fundamental transition has begun: from big, centralized factories to far more decentralized places of production. New forms of value creation emerge due to “disruptive elements” such as “FabLabs”, “Maker-” or “hackerspaces”. Those new labs have technologically advanced profiles, allow individuals access to production technologies and are accompanied by digital ideas of Open Source Hardware or Open Innovation.

The implications of digitalization and decentralization for society, industry, and sustainable development are described in the book “The Decentralized and Networked Future of Value Creation“, co-authored by researchers from the Institute for Ecological Economy Research. The authors focus on the particular example of 3D printing, because the 3D printer is considered a key technology for “Industry 4.0” and simultaneously strengthens decentralized commons based communities. It thereby represents conflicting priorities for the future society. In addition to evaluating 3D printing’s disruptive potentials against a broader economic background, it also addresses social and ecological implications.