We have highlighted in previous posts that there are some growing pains for industrial inkjet. These are related to financing, gaining investment, managing growth and so on. The considerable amount of M&A over the summer period seems a result of this.
Obviously there is heightened demand for industrial inkjet, but when disrupting a market and an incumbent analogue technology and its ensuing culture and its restrictive and often defensive set of behaviours, then the tipping point sometimes seems tantalisingly on the horizon.
So it brings me to this point. Do we have enough entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial people in the industrial inkjet sector? I would argue that we have plenty of technical talent. There is no doubt the technology is evolving to an industrial platform both in speed and quality. Whilst it is arguable that inkjet will be a replacement technology, nonetheless the technical development is well invested in and well catered for.
And I don’t hear people telling me ‘we need more engineers’ or ‘we need more chemists’. But correct me if I am wrong.
What I do hear people telling me is that ‘we need customers to take a risk’ and ‘we need more collaboration’ and ‘greater knowledge from customers’.
All of this points to a different type of challenge. One that is more entrepreneurial in its makeup. Do we need problem solvers to get around this problem? Yes!
Entrepreneurs undoubtedly make things happen, they solve problems, connect the unconnected and create new value.
Of course it is much easier to say that the market is strong, that growth forecasts outstrips conventional print and so on. This might sound optimistic but it is largely irrelevant if this growth is stalled or not realised due to a set of human factors, those related more to culture and communication.
So my opinion is this. I do not think there are enough entrepreneurs involved with industrial inkjet. And I think if the current raft of leading companies address this, and more enter the market, then industrial inkjet will develop onto the next stage, convincing investors, raising the profile of the technology, instilling confidence in customers and perhaps even creating new markets.
But what do you think?