From Turnkey Producers to Purpose-Driven Innovators: A New Vision for the Prototyping Industry

by Bob Jennings, CEO, 3D Color

Last month marked the reveal of a vibrant new brand identity and online presence for 3D Color. As with any powerful brand update, this new visual gloss reflects a refinement and clarification of purpose that goes way beyond surface appearance. It’s about a completely new vision for our company — and indeed our industry — both for the people who come to work here every day and for our clients and partners.

AN INFLECTION POINT FOR OUR DISCIPLINE

Even before taking the helm of 3D Color in 2020, I knew that the role of prototyping in CPG was overripe for change. Through decades in the industry I’d seen leaders frustrated by innovation roadblocks born not from lack of available stakeholder knowledge and expertise, but from the natural tension between robust, sophisticated collaboration and the urgent need for speed. On one side, product developers and marketers with abundant vision and ambitious business goals. On the other, prototype designers and technicians with deep expertise and boundless creativity. Yet too often, the two sides come together in a turnkey transaction: specs provided, comp delivered. And so much potential wasted.

As we open a new chapter for 3D Color, we’re out to change all that. We’re partnering with our clients in a new model of Collaborative Prototyping, influencing both the upstream design process and downstream scaled production across multiple dimensions. From precision color management to materials innovation, we’re constantly discovering new ways our in-house expertise can help our partners gain competitive and strategic advantage. When we join as collaborators — rather than just operating as one link in the packaging and product development chain — we’re positioned more strongly than ever to help our clients discover hidden efficiencies, achieve superior technical and creative outcomes, and ultimately drive business results.

SOLVING TOMORROW’S PROBLEMS

As we open a new chapter for 3D Color, we’re out to change all that. We’re partnering with our clients in a new model of Collaborative Prototyping, influencing both the upstream design process and downstream scaled production across multiple dimensions. From precision color management to materials innovation, we’re constantly discovering new ways our in-house expertise can help our partners gain competitive and strategic advantage. When we join as collaborators — rather than just operating as one link in the packaging and product development chain — we’re positioned more strongly than ever to help our clients discover hidden efficiencies, achieve superior technical and creative outcomes, and ultimately drive business results.

SOLVING TOMORROW’S PROBLEMS

Perhaps even more important than driving excellence today, our expanded mission at 3D Color focuses on solving the problems our industry must confront for the sake of tomorrow. Today’s business and cultural climates — and our actual climate — demand completely new ways of thinking to ensure a stable future. In CPG, and indeed in every sector, “business as usual” is at risk of irrelevance.

Through a cultural lens, the digital media revolution has trained consumers to expect always-on access to sophisticated personalization in goods and services of every kind. Tomorrow’s success stories will be brands that meet this demand by prioritizing innovation at a pace and level of ingenuity we have only just begun to imagine. This transformation will touch every aspect of the product development pipeline, from how we approach concepting to how we engage with consumers for research to how we produce our packages at scale. As prototyping professionals, the engineers, strategists and designers at 3D Color have built their careers on creating customized objects and impressions that are utterly new to the world. Who better to step forward in leadership as our industry paves the path toward ultimate personalization?

From an environmental perspective, both regulation and the ethical mandate of good corporate citizenship are already demanding bold sustainability innovation, and this pressure will only accelerate. As our industry collectively seeks the process efficiencies and materials breakthroughs required to ensure a sustainable future, leaders in the prototyping industry — including my colleagues at 3D Color — are perfectly poised to sharpen the tip of the innovation spear.

CHANGE IS NOT THE EASY WAY. IT’S THE ONLY WAY.

I’ve spent much of my career transforming steady-state companies into powerhouse innovators. Through a series of successes and, of course, my share of setbacks, I’ve learned that change requires an appetite for risk, and for consistently choosing what’s imaginable over what’s comfortable, expedient or easy. Above all, I’ve learned that large-scale success is only possible when we set our sights on solving large-scale problems. Between digital disruption and environmental pressures, the challenges ahead for CPG could not be larger or more urgent. Let’s solve them together.

You can learn more about 3D Color and our vision for the future at 3dcolor.com. If you’d like to continue the conversation, please reach out to me or clientsuccess@3dcolor.com.

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