Example Of Technology Innovation Critical Thinking

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Project, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Technology, Innovation, Security, Management, Business

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/12/31

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Part 1

Project Description
About the project:
This project pertains to a technological innovation of 3D printing of keys at the NHS clinic. While 3d printing, also known as additive printing, is in the market for commercial purposes for many years now, its application has ever been growing to the new areas. One such area is very highly innovative: about 3d printing of the keys. So this project addresses the shortage of coded keys available to the 150 employees in the hospital with a view to enhance speed and efficiency of services as well as address security concerns. Each employee requires special 3D printed keys to access specified places within the hospital at any particular time as defined by the clinical management. Innovation is a disruptive approach and involves a range of participation from stakeholders to the staff having different experience levels. In this project, a systems approach is adopted as it provides very useful way of exploring innovation processes, permitting organisations to identify potential problem areas and take advantage of opportunities.

Size and Scope of the project

The project requires creating a database for all the 3D printed coded keys. This means the project committee needs to purchase necessary technical equipment, which includes at least a copier and the 3D printing software and hire the experts from outside the clinic, who are well conversant with the relevant software program. Thus, this project incorporates the outsiders as well as the insiders from various departments in the clinic, like from finance, projects, engineering and even the security staff. Since this project involves a lot of innovations, so a systems approach is adopted to narrate its development.


The printing of 3d keys will be taken up and incorporated as a project. This will involve all the project management processes. So the clinic management needs to appoint the project steering committee as well as the project manager and project coordinator, all of whom need to be selected from the hospital workforce. The project committee will be responsible for overseeing and facilitating the project, hiring resources with the necessary expertise and liaise with the project manager to monitor the timely implementation of the project. The project manager, the project coordinator, and the project committee shall be involved in the entire innovation management process while other clinic employees, unconnected with the project will be utilized during the generation of ideas stage or the design process.

Innovation management approach used

The implementation of this innovative idea requires a major change and implies a considerable change management. The clinic management has, therefore, to adopt a change management approach, which focuses on developing innovation strategies, generating ideas, screening ideas, developing the concept of the project from the tested ideas, and commercialize the idea by starting to implement the project. These all activities need to be undertaken in the context of the project Object of key printing. The innovation management process that is used is illustrated by the below function decomposition diagram:
The innovation strategies involved discussion forums like workshops that were organized by the clinic management as a way of helping stakeholders and employees suggest their innovative ideas.

The project and its history

The history of 3D printing of keys has seen much development in terms of the materials used in 3D printing and the technology involved in various 3D printers. The two diagrams below (system map and roadmap) show the basic outline and technological advancement of the project over time.

Systems Map

Systems Map about the Technology of 3D Printing of Keys
The above diagram represents the System Map for the new innovative project. As can be seen, there are various systems and subsystem (enclosed by the circles) and each sub-system can have its own sub-systems. These basically represent the components of the system enclosed by a solid boundary.
In the context of 3d printing innovative project design and development, there are several stakeholders. There are external stakeholders which are shown outside the main boundary as shown above and are responsible for directing the development. There are design concept inventors and innovators who direct the new innovative design methods by their ideas and practice. Then there are market developers who create the requirement. Inside the system, the nested sub-systems display the important components for this project. Market developers are also external entities to the system map who are responsible for creating new markets or expanding the existing ones. The suppliers develop the 3d printers as per the industry standards and supply the devices to the industry. The system needs a proper feasibility analysis, followed by a major process of designing the prototype of the model. Then there is testing component, deployment sub-system and delivering the product for the 3-d printing.

Technology Roadmap

This project has the applications like exploration, design, development and testing. This was shown in the Systems Map Diagram. Therefore, the diagram used to fashion the technology Roadmap (TRM) is based on the T-Plan fast start technology road-mapping. Various departments are involved in executing different components of the project. Some are responsible for the product delivery (e.g. distribution, and deployment). The TRM illustrated above would keep everyone in alignment by defining a common goal for the company’s direction.
The TRM as shown above supports different project components like planning, exploration, development and resource allocation. There is a time dimension to it with appropriate duration mentioned I the context of state-of-art 3d printing technology. The layers or the vertical axis is shown where the top layers pertain to the plans and the lower layers more on technology, delivering and resource management.

Summary of the Key Findings

The advancements in the technology involved in 3D key printing has both positive and negative aspects. While it has provided ease of development and deployment / distribution of the keys, the flip side is that the work has generated new security threats because illegal duplicates are possible due to internet safety issues. In spite of this fact, the main conclusions involving the project`s system map and the road map is quite encouraging as shown below:
a. Resources on system map
Several staffs worked out well; the systems map worked well in terms of pulling the initial thoughts together and clarifying the boundaries to the elements of the program. It also works out when any thought was sub-set of other elements/thoughts and helps in structuring further analysis regarding the completed project.
b. Potential Risks
The project is expected to successfully complete on time and well within the budget. However, A potential problem that can hold back 3D key printing technology is the patents issues. By February 2014, leading patents that stopped competition within the market for highly advanced 3D printers expired (Oremus, 2014). The worst part is the patents covered the technology of “laser sintering”, which is the most inexpensive 3D printing technology. This signifies that there is still a possible scenario of the patents expiring again. Once the primary patents on 3D key printing through laser sintering expire, the clinic management may be forced to adopt expensive 3D printers such as FDM (fused deposition modeling) 3D printers; something which may increase the project`s cost in future.

Lessons learn from the two diagrams

Part 2
Most technological innovations are initiated due to their economic significance to an organization as suggested in the T848 Blocks. Without this importance of cost effective operations, the technology is bound to face criticism. The innovative 3d printing not only provides cost effective solution but also is able to fulfill the project objectives. However, there is some amount of security risk involved in this project as will be highlighted. The security issues have been explicitly identified in the below sections.

Introduction to security concern

The project of 3D printing of keys experiences certain security issues thereby leading to some criticism. Due to a number of problems associated with the technology innovation, the aspect of adding value to the conventional method of key printing has not applied as expected. Like all other technology changes, the program aimed at adding value to its final product and this only can be by ensured when one maximizes security through non-reproducible keys. (Sparkes, 2014).
However, as per the sustainability model, the organizations need to develop a sustainable value portfolio for their business. (Hart, 1997). This can be only achieved if the risks are mitigated. However, the goal of capitalizing on the safety is also difficult to attain. If one maximizes the security, the program may become more complicated, time-consuming and less effective in meeting the needs of all the 150 employees within the clinic. Meeting the needs of these health workers was one of the key project objectives. The project however, provides major benefit as a lost key by any of the staff members could be duplicated easily without interfering with the locking system. However, this functionality has been found to generate significant security threats. Meeting costs and minimizing time due to lost keys was found to be achievable only through 3D printers.
The program incorporated the high-tech 3D printing of keys with a CAD data record to ensure the highest security possible. All members of staff were provided with coded keys. The coded keys provide full access to the respective rooms with much greater safety than the traditional locking systems and their individual keys. The high-tech 3D printing of keys was developed through the project to generate barriers to duplication of keys. However, as computer hacking continues to become a major issue in the Information and Communication Technology industry, it was even possible to duplicate the electronic data for the high-tech technology keys (Kaba, 2014).
Another concern of importance is the environment protection. The manufacturing or the printing process may dispose waste products in not an environment friendly way. Sustainable manufacturing processes however entail that the use and dispose of products be done in an

Environmentally acceptable way (OECD, 2009b).

Relevant areas of theory
The project is in accordance with the theory of innovation by Nagji and Tuff (2012), who hold that there are innovations of three types. One of such innovations according to Nagji and Tuff (2012) is the enhancement to the core offerings, which include optimizing existing products for the current customers. The program was also meant to replace the expensive locksmith call-outs models using cloud storage, as well as ubiquitous 3D printing equipment through the Key Save services (Sparkes, 2014). Custom software could have been used to construct the 3D models automatically (Sparkes, 2014). This was not the case, and thus security achievements failed as a primary concern.

Analysis using T848 framework

Avoiding problem of security required the incorporation of one or more of the T848 models. This project focuses on some of these aspects of selected ideas. It was difficult to achieve absolute success in the 3D key-printing project. The project wanted to achieve speed, effectiveness, and security of the selected priority ideas. To implement these ideas, the project focused on using the high-tech CAD system. The complexity of the system has also caused project’s high-tech CAD system delays in delivering keys at the right time. The only option involved 3D printing of keys using photography or scanned data recording. The option we found to have even higher security risks, but the final product was achievable instantly (Oremus, 2014).

Critical discussion

The high-tech 3D printing of keys using a CAD data recording sometimes generated more shortages, making it hard to satisfy the needs of every staff members in the clinic. The only strategy to avoid such shortages was to create easier and cheaper ways of 3D printing of keys. Without the incorporation of electronic data/information like in the case of the high-tech 3D printing of keys, the keys objective of achieving security was deteriorated.
However, after the project completion, local 3D printing of keys was found to be successful as an individual could provide the scanned copies of the key, generated by the project, for duplication. A key problem facing the project was that the lack of investigations made on the ownership of the person presenting the scanned data for the duplication especially to the local 3D printing of keys. Typically, the same issue happens in the actual world of 3D printing of keys whereby individuals could submit scanned or photographed data about the keys to be duplicated via mobile applications or the internet. The duplicated key can then deliver to the owner without any concern about the impact of having the key information held by the manufacturer. This service is today available through the Key Me online services provided through mobile applications (Maxey, 2013). With the Key Me aspect of the 3D-printing technology, mobile applications allow individuals to scan their 3D-printed keys and use permanent metal replacements that are also ordered via a post on the applications. Some of the mobile applications require only scanning a key and then ordering duplicates. Any person with a camera can scan keys produced using the 3D key-printing project, and gain illegal access to the clinic (Sparkes, 2014).

Links between reality and theory

Special key gauges are used to measure the keys, which one can then duplicate at key cutting shops. Even as the most efficient technologies of 3D printing of keys are in place, new methods of duplicating the keys printed using such technologies keep emerging. The new methods are mainly simplifying the original processes as well as improving the results, but same security concerns accompany the new methods (Maxey, 2013). The implication here is that the project never seems to achieve full security goals as part of the key objectives.
Frequent cases of duplicated keys has forced the manufacturers develop to complicate the development of the duplicates in the real world (Kaba, 2014). This avoids the possibility of getting security issues regarding 3D printed keys. The frequent cases of duplicated keys appear in the systems using scanned or photography data recording. With a scanner or a camera, a person can make a copy of any key using this type of technology (Oremus, 2014). The main focus is the key rather than the locking system. It becomes easy for the key users or any other individual to make a copy of the original key from a 3D key-printer, which could be locally available at home or in a nearby 3D printing shop (Sparkes, 2014).


There has been an attempt to use the T848 model; various aspects were used such as searching for ideas, selecting the most appropriate ideas and processes, implementing the selected ideas or processes, capturing information regarding the alignment of technical processes and the market, and focusing on the best innovation strategy. Under the model of search-select-capture-implement-innovation strategy-innovation organization, the technology innovation could be made useful, but the security issues may still show some deficiencies thus making it difficult to achieve maximum effectiveness.


For future improvements, a focus on maximum security is required. This can be possibly achieved by complicating the possibilities of printing duplicates. This could include the combination of both electronic and mechanical elements in 3D printing of keys. This idea was introduced in technology way back in 1996 according to Kaba (2014). However, this needs to be given a proper shape. The future trends of the project should be such that besides the mechanical characteristics of keys produced using the project, the electronic information has to be duplicated as well for the duplicated key to work. It would, therefore, be difficult for the employees to duplicate their keys without full access to the electronic data for their respective keys. This recommendation is anchored on the fact that an actual 3D key-printers have never been able to duplicate the electronic information, which makes the duplication impossible (Kaba, 2014). The full characteristics that form a combination of the mechanical and electronic elements could as well be integrated into the locking systems that already exist in the clinic. Such strategy would elevate security.
In ordinary circumstances, however, it has been noted that with the usual hacking of computers, it is possible to open up any security built-up. Plastic copies that are cheaply produced using a laser-cutter and a 3D key-printer could be duplicated using the CAD technique. It would thus require employees to remain trustworthy to the management in order to maintain top security by keeping the electronic data for their keys safe. Thus, still as of today, future improvements should focus on the safety instead of cost and time implications of the program. Concentrating on the safety instead of cost and time could bring in transformational innovations to the project such as bullet-proof security techniques (Nagji& Tuff, 2012).


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