In spite of the new explosive capacity for growth in both the energy and manufacturing sectors, “And only 24% of energy professionals consider their company to be ahead of the competition.” This disparity exists for a number of reasons, but often because a company’s innovation capabilities are not aligned with a repeatable innovation process. So what are the key inflection points for manufacturing and energy innovation?

Robotics. Manufacturing was one of the first industries to adopt robots in order to increase quality and efficiency. That same opportunity exists today as robots begin to operate on 24/7 schedules for continuous production and with AI systems that can make more complex choices and production possible.

Additive Manufacturing. 3D Printing is impacting manufacturers from a number of directions, not only have “11% of manufacturing companies had already switched to volume production of 3D printed parts or products” but it is also impacting shipping and logistics when parts can now be printed instead of shipped to recipients.

Automation. Automation has also been a part of the manufacturing sector for a long time, but now it is possible to automate a number of other functions including programming, personalization, and production.

Internet of Things.  The energy sector is ripe for the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), because numerous energy inputs exist in the things space like thermostats, watches, buildings, circuit breakers and more – numerous energy choices will be made by these things in the future.

Sustainability and Efficiency. With climate change emerging as a global threat, the energy sector is increasingly working to find new ways to meet our energy demands in sustainable or renewable ways. Especially in developing nations where new energy grids can leapfrog directly into the sustainable space.

Security. With all of the robotics and IoT possibilities in the energy and manufacturing sector, it is possible that these industries will be targets for cyber attack. It is absolutely essential that companies in these sectors become experts in threat scanning and innovative when it comes to new security practices.

Of course, these are just a few of the top emerging trends in the manufacturing and energy sector. To learn about the innovation capacity of organizations in the manufacturing and energy sector, download our complimentary infographic.

By Rob Hoehn

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.