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Developing a strategy for the future of 3D printing

Ultimaker has grown quickly. They started manufacturing 3D printers 12 years ago and now have 300 employees and big dreams for how 3D printing can impact the future. They came to Livework to set the direction for developing their next platform and decide how their offer could best serve the diverse needs of their customers.

Moving from B2C to B2B and beyond

The market for 3D printers is multifarious and changing fast. It ranges from print shops and design studios to motorbike repair shops and other places that require specialist spare parts like oil rigs and hospitals. Understanding the needs of these diverse clients and developing a proposition of how best to service them required some serious research. A strategy that involves innovative new products and services like this requires creative thinking and internal alignment to create a shared vision of where the business might go next.

Enabling an internal team to turn research into an actionable roadmap.

Ultimaker has always had an open, inclusive and non-hierarchal culture so we built on that to create a collaborative research and design process, using existing knowledge, involving lead users and external experts.

We trained a multi-disciplinary team from across the business to conduct research with customers. We know from experience that that’s the best way to ensure insights and ideas derived from research are relevant and actionable. We worked with them to understand emerging opportunities and develop strategic directions for how they could capitalise on them.

A strategy to take the business into the future.

We helped Ultimaker to create a roadmap and implementation plan for the next five years, part of which they are currently executing. We also gave them the means to continue updating and adapting as their reality unfolds over time. Obviously, we can’t share all the details of their strategy. It’s business.

But there’s another benefit from the work that’s already clear. When businesses grow very quickly connections can get broken as roles change and departments move further into their own silos. We not only helped them create a valuable roadmap but also to get a sense of alignment throughout the organisation and a renewed shared direction and purpose.

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Ben Reason Founding Partner

I am a founding partner of Livework having set-up the company in 2001. My focus on keeping Livework at the forefront of service design practice and ensuring we continue to create value for our clients.

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