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US charity New Story partnered with robotics construction firm Icon to 3D-print homes, and establish a community in El Salvador. The organization is raising USD 1 million to produce its affordable homes. Each home contains a kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms, costs USD 4,000 and takes 12–24 hours to print. The houses are also sturdy, as they use material that is stronger than cinderblock, which New Story used in the previous homes it produced. New Story aims to kick off production in El Salvador later this year.

So, despite all the hype, 3D-printing hasn’t changed everything 😉 But this is a powerful reminder that as technologies advance, new opportunities will continue to present themselves to alert innovators. Witness the ever-diversifying array of 3D-printed goods: from luxury car parts to mascara wands and even beer foam designs. And here we see that 3D-printing can be about more than just boosting efficiency or novelty. New Story is utilizing 3D printing to serve bigger (literally, house-sized!) and higher purposes.

So, while of course we encourage you to keep considering ways to streamline your operations, why not think beyond that? Is there a novel technology that you could use to revolutionize an existing production process, and in the process reach an entirely new customer segment?

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