Our changing world (part 1) – 3D printing

3D printing in housing construction

We will be traveling in Europe this spring (2015), and for a moment we considered stopping in Amsterdam so we could pay a visit to the 3D Print Canal House, a project conceived by Dus Architects in the Netherlands. In a smart move, Dus Architects decided not to simply “build” an object that looks and feels like a house, choosing instead to focus on “research, experimentation and development”. That makes a great deal of sense to me because the challenge of a habitable house is multifaceted; the house must meet environmental and building standards, and be visually appealing and not be too expensive to build. In any event, we can see a future in which 3D printing technology is widely used in housing construction. What impact could this have on our world?

Meanwhile, Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California has been working on a layered fabrication technology called “Contour Crafting”.

“Contour Crafting technology has great potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components. Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning.” http://www.contourcrafting.org/

3D printing in the automotive industry

Watch the following videos – they speak for themselves:

Harvard Business School Class Profile – Undergraduate Institutions

Fully 5% of our dataset on the undergraduate backgrounds of top US executives in banking and insurance had earned MBAs from Harvard Business School. Given that in recent years, HBS has only enrolled around 450 students annually, the statistic is very interesting. We decided to take a closer look at the undergraduate profiles of their Class of 2015.

1 in 4 of the schools listed are liberal arts colleges; bear in mind however, that the institutions (including Harvard College itself) may have “contributed” more than 1 student so the proportion of the class that had attended a liberal arts college is likely much lower than 25% (with a lower bound of 10%). By contrast, liberal arts colleges currently account for only 3.5% of student enrollment in 4 year colleges.


Employer survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities

From January 9 to 13, 2013, on behalf of AACU, Hart Research Associates conducted an online survey among 318 employers. The organizations were required to have at least 25 employees, and report that 25% or more of their new hires hold either an associate degree from a two-year college or a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college. Those who responded to the survey are top executives at private sector and nonprofit organizations.

Common Myths: US executives in “industrials” education

This essay is a sequel to an earlier one in which we discuss the undergraduate backgrounds of top executives in the largest US banks and insurance companies. Organizations covered in this survey of industrials include among others: Google, Apple, Intel, Proctor and Gamble, GE, Amgen, Accenture, Walt Disney, Edelman and Ketchum. Institutions surveyed span several very different sectors, the objective of this survey being breadth rather than depth.

Although only 21 organizations were surveyed, collectively they employ a mind-boggling 2.3 million people. These are massive organizations led at the top by individuals who had earned their undergraduate degrees at US universities, and indeed this survey excludes executives who obtained their undergraduate training outside the US. Data was collected on individuals identified as top management by the corporations surveyed.

Myth #1 – They are all IVY League graduates – No!

They were not all IVY League undergraduates. Once again I was struck by the variety of educational institutions represented in the undergraduate backgrounds of the 211 executives in my data set. Collectively, these individuals had attended over 120 colleges of all kinds, from IVY League institutions to large state schools and small liberal arts colleges, reflecting considerable variation. IVY League colleges accounted for “only” 11% of the executives.

Myth #2 – There is no room for graduates of liberal arts colleges or graduates with liberal arts degrees – No!

Of my dataset, 20% had attended liberal arts colleges; as before, this is impressive if we assume that enrollment proportions at 4 year institutions of higher learning, have maintained similar orders of magnitude over time (liberal arts colleges currently account for 3.5% of total enrollment in 4 year colleges). However the distribution of these graduates is uneven. In certain organizations such as Exxon Mobil and Fleishmann Hillard, they were not found at all.

We were unable to determine undergraduate majors for each and every executive in our dataset. However, of the 163 majors we were able to identify (double majors count as 2), unexpectedly, 39% were in liberal arts and social sciences, compared with 13% in science and math, 26% in engineering and 21% in business and business-related majors.

Surprising fact – more than half had attended private non-profit colleges

53% of executives in my dataset earned their undergraduate degrees at private institutions.

Survey limitations

As before there are limitations in my data. There may be differences in how the organizations define their “executive team”, and indeed some organizations identify larger executive teams than others. The data set includes individuals in different functional areas so it does not reveal anything about individual functional areas. Finally, the dataset is subject to change as we are constantly refining our work.