Success with innovation requires a specific type of leadership described by Kevin O’Mara, business professor at Elon University.
It’s an issue that’s affecting small towns and large cities all across the country. As residential neighborhoods and shopping outlets have moved into suburban locations, urban cores have often been neglected. Empty storefronts and sparse populations are all that remain of what had once been vibrant centers of commerce, the arts and community life.
To help in reversing this trend, the Concept Gallery sponsored The Boost Challenge – a collaborative effort with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. The program enlisted the creative energies of 120 sophomore students to explore how the broad array of fabrics and materials offered by Glen Raven could be used to create new identities for towns and cities and help encourage the resurgence of commerce and social life in these neglected areas.
The students’ assignment was to create a new look for downtown Burlington, N.C., the headquarters city for Glen Raven. For the Boost Challenge, the students were provided background information and images of downtown Burlington and asked to conceptualize how they would use materials from Glen Raven to create a new brand identity for the area that would invite investments and visitors. The resulting designs were presented in two- and three-dimensional formats.
From more than 50 submissions, a team from Glen Raven selected 10 finalists and an industry panel made the final selection of a winner and two honorable mentions. Several of the top designs make up the latest exhibit in the Concept Gallery, illustrating the type of fresh thinking that the Concept Gallery hopes to inspire through materials innovation.
The latest exhibition in the Concept Gallery explores the potential of 3D printing to change the way we plan and execute new ideas. Inspired by the thought-provoking presentation from Cathy Lewis at 3D Systems during the 2014 Innovation Summit, the exhibit features a range of 3D printed objects designed by Glen Raven associates.
Though 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, it has recently experienced renewed interest due to the release of affordable 3D printers designed to appeal to a wide audience, from makers and small businesses to startups and traditional manufacturers. 3D printing even made an appearance at New York Fashion Week during Season 12 of the popular show “Project Runway,” which highlighted finalist Justin LeBlanc using 3D printing to design accessories for his final collection.
The objects in the current exhibition illustrate the range of ideas that can be brought to life using the new technology. Some of the featured objects include a model car that rolls and an umbrella that opens and closes; a model of the Notre Dame Cathedral; a “chainmail” glove made from tiny plastic links; and an awning frame with interchangeable parts printed from the Trivantage Awning Composer software.
Using Glen Raven’s CubePro professional 3D printer, associates dubbed “Glen Raven makers” have had the opportunity to engage with the new technology over the past several weeks. With hands-on experience, these makers now understand the capacities and limitations of 3D printing as an incubator for new ideas.
Technology transfer, which is the use of an existing material in a new way, is a leading trend for materials innovation today, and one of the most fertile areas is aerospace. Many people will remember Tang breakfast drink that was created for astronauts to enjoy during the earliest flights and which later appeared on grocery shelves. But, aerospace technology transfer has become much broader and highly technical.
The latest exhibit in the Concept Gallery highlights numerous advanced materials arising from aerospace. For example, Glen Raven’s Dickson subsidiary in France developed a material for Airbus to protect jet engines from all types of extreme weather conditions while also offering flame retardant features and the ability to resist damage from hydraulic oil. These materials also had to be printable. The resulting material meets all of these requirements and can be applied in multiple industry segments requiring machine protection in extreme conditions.
And who can forget the lunar landing in 1969 and the American flag implanted on the moon? That flag was made with Glen Raven fabrics, which are the leaders in flags, banners and outdoor decorations that are bright, colorful and long lasting in lunar and earth environments.