Sunday, August 3, 2014

INDN 312: Research Complete!

“3D Printing is going to be way bigger than what the 3D printing companies are saying” (Credit Suisse, 2013) This huge projected growth will have an impact on New Zealand, just as much as the rest of the world. The result will be interesting to project in terms of the ripple across the different sorts of cultures in NZ, particularly the clash it might have with “small town NZ”. How might latest-generation 3D printing (wood cellulose printing) revolutionise small-town life in a way that requires and creates a meaningful brand of products and services?


Scion's bio polymer research places them almost in the realms of science fiction, and yet the position Scion places itself in is an inherently NZ position. The research facility seeks to make technological advances through research into our forests. This scientific alignment appears simultaneously hyper modern and astoundingly ancient, and subsequently fits well into the NZ story. Developing new technologies while having the foresight to never lose track of where you come from and how you got there is both a recipe for success and a sound way to keep the press happy. The mission statement “Forests – Products – Innovation” (Scion, 2014) harmonizes well with the Maori cultural and spiritual connection to the whenua; the land, and fits a strong NZ story connected to our multiculturalism.

Wood fibre based 3D printing – 3ders

Scion's current uses for bio polymers are interesting yet few in number. Current uses are limited to low-design items such as kitchenware and small-scale 3D printing, yet the potential for more diverse uses certainly exists. The advanced material 3D printing exhibits certain surface qualities that speak of a naturalistic NZ identity, a concept that has been explored in some designed forms including the curious kiwifruit “Spife” (Scion, 2014) as well as light explorations by David Trubridge. The phrase “wood-based materials could be the next big thing in 3D printing” (3ders, 2013) is becoming more ubiquitous as the media realises the potential in making more degradable and materially interesting polymers. The benefits cost- and material-wise of wood-based filaments has yet to be fully developed, but the future for them is promising and bright.

New Zealand Resource

New Zealand shows time and again that its most important resource is not natural or refined materials, but the people who live here. The culture that NZ has cultivated is one that is more than ready for the world stage now, as it has evolved extensively while still maintaining a strong connection to its roots. NZ has joined the global vanguard in creative industries and scientific research, allowing us to make large strides in a world so often dominated by money or power alone. The innovation and capabilities that NZ brings through its culture stand out, despite the fact that NZ's most defining and enduring cultural feature is the small town. In global terms, the small town is not traditionally associated with “cultural melting pots” or “centres of innovation” (Leading Edge, 2014). Despite the stigma, this is a definitive part of our history and the physical make-up of our landscape. Historically speaking a lot of our best cases of “Kiwi Ingenuity” have stemmed from these small towns.

Queenstown – Alexander Sac

The outcome of NZ starting as a sporadic assembly of small towns resulted in a lot of wares and technology being of limited or no availability, subsequently forcing inhabitants to “Do It Yourself” (Leading Edge, 2014). DIY culture should be celebrated and given the tools to produce and develop meaningful solutions for real problems in small communities.


Apple as a brand commands a high level of respect in the consumer electronics area, and not without good reason. The qualities and emotive responses associated with Apple and their products are astonishingly far-reaching as well as exceedingly controversial. Apple has cultivated an extremely alluring brand identity and has created “an emotional response to its products that other companies just can't beat” (Boone, 2011). Apple's products can elicit high-process brain responses that mimic those of religious faithful (Boone, 2011).

Apple Product Connectivity – Jordan Kahn

The key aspect of their products however isn't necessarily the product itself, but what the product comes with and or is capable of. Applications, accessories, all of the products are designed to work seamlessly with each other, and this is where a lot of the power of the brand lies. Apple products are designed to work perfectly with the iTunes store, as well as use the iTunes store as a one-stop-shop for all the digital needs of the devices. This fully integrated, holistic concept for product integration and cross-platform usage sets the products up as being part of a family of products, rather than separate entities, and creates a highly successful, desirable product line that defines the brand. The synergy between products and services is the best means of keeping the customers coming back for more.

Project Brief

Small towns are an integral part of New Zealand's cultural, historical, and physical make-up, and as such, a well-designed brand that presents a successful combination of products and accompanying services could have a strong and positive influence on the future of NZ. A brand identity centred around the development of 3D printing systems and services in the cultural landscape of the small town would meet little resistance at present. A fifteen-year plan developing said brand with a holistic, all-encompassing, sustainable approach to the technological advancement of small town communities would align well with the explosion of public and cultural adoption of 3D printing. By focussing intently on the small town, the brand would be able to fill a specific niche that 3D printing could meet as an agent for self-sufficiency, independent repair, production, and problem solving. Integrated with a wide-reaching supply and a mobile support/service network with backing from product retail brands, this would guarantee a step forward in the NZ DIY mentality and ensure a brighter, easier tomorrow.


3ders. (2013). Could wood-based material lead 2014 3D printing priorities?. Retrieved from

Boone, A. (Producer). (2011). Technology [Episode 3]. In Secrets Of The Superbrands. London, United Kingdom: BBC.

Company Watch - Apple. (2014, January 6). AirGuide Business. Retrieved from

Kahn, J. (2014). Apple brings Multipeer Connectivity to Mac, enables cross-platform nearby networking w/ iOS. Retrieved from

Scion. (2014). Scion Research. Retrieved from

Sac, A. (2012). Queenstown. A voyage to Queenstown, New Zealand, Pacific. Retrieved from

Wheeler, A. (2006). Designing brand identity: A complete guide to creating, building and maintaining strong brands. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley.

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