Top Secret: Is the NDA Stifling growth for industrial inkjet?


There is no doubt industrial inkjet is in a growth phase. As we have identified before in this blog, we think that with growth you will get growing pains. The fact that the market has seen a number of mergers and acquisitions over the quiet summer period bears testament to that. For smaller companies with clever technology, scaling up isn’t easy and finance is an important component for growth.

There may be a number of impediments to growth. But one that I think is possibly the most frustrating, partly because it is directly linked to success, is the dreaded NDA.

The NDA is basically an agreement which constrains another party from disclosing information to anyone else. And it is a frustrating thing. Why? Because the inkjet community seems to be prevented from spreading successful stories due to end customers setting an agenda of secrecy.

Sometimes, the bigger the customer, the larger the albatross. What you gain, you lose in time and the constraints imposed on you to comply with a model that is increasingly outdated.

Is the tail wagging the dog?

Surely, in a world which is increasingly defined by partnerships and collaboration is this not wrong and counter culture?

By counter culture I mean the following:

Silicon Valley is accepted as being possibly the most innovative place on Earth. Most Silicon Valley successes, broadly speaking, thrive in open cultures. 

Yet the companies that seem to be holding back the inkjet community are almost entirely opposite to this in culture and profile. They are traditional manufacturing companies, they are not necessarily innovative and their posture and positioning is defensive.

Many do not even fully understand how digital inkjet can help them and view it is as a replacement technology, not willing to give inkjet the time and resources to really give inkjet the chance it needs to thrive and prove its value.

Growth will happen nonetheless, whether or not stories can be shared. But does the inkjet community need to step up, stop being subservient and try to solve this problem?

Why? Because sharing the stories of success will accelerate growth, providing others with the confidence that inkjet adoption is worthwhile, regardless of the complications and discomfort they will inevitably experience.

Just a thought and a frustration I feel on behalf of the inkjet sector.

Being top secret doesn’t broaden understanding, inspire new people to join the community and generally grow our mutual success.