Agile Publishing Model.

Futurist David Houle

Welcome to the future!  The future of humanity and the future of publishing.

I am very excited about my new book Entering the Shift Age and the new model of publishing Sourcebooks has created, the Agile Publishing Model (APM). The APM is an innovative platform that allows authors to make their content available faster and in a more flexible format. For example, to suit your needs and interests as readers, Sourcebooks offers a variety of ways to purchase the content of Entering the Shift Age, either in individual parts (“mini eBooks”) or as a whole. (Check out “How to Purchase: The Agile Way”.) You can learn more about the APM by watching the video below.

This is part of the future of publishing. Now let’s turn toward our own future, the future of humanity.

We now live in the Shift Age, a time of transformation that will be regarded by future historians as one of the most significant periods in human history. The Shift Age is one of those inflection points or times when much of humanity will change how we live, how we think, how we interact with each other and what we do.



The definition of manufacturing is about to change. The 20th century defined manufacturing largely in “mass” terminology: mass production, economies of scale, lowest cost mass production. In the 21st century and starting now in the Shift Age there is a new definition clearly in sight: custom manufacturing through 3-D printing.

Three dimensional printing from digital designs is about to become widespread. The technology has been in development with prototypes for a number of years and it is now about to become cost effective and scalable.

3D printing works by building layer upon layer of deposited materials to create single objects. These high-tech printers will use an ever-increasing variety of materials from plastics to metals to create on a small scale and at much lower investment levels. 3-D printing will, in the near future, make it possible to produce individual items as cheaply as tens of thousands, on a per unit basis. So manufacturing finally will become cost effective at the custom level.

This new means of production values innovation, quality and custom over mass. Creativity and innovation now lead as opposed to cheap labor and volume. This means that countries and cultures that are at the high end of the innovation scale can compete with those at the low end of the cost scale. The worldview of industrial production is about to change significantly in the next 15-20 years.

Another way to think about it is that it is a new industrial revolution. Custom manufacturing, the “new industrial revolution”, is aligned with the Earth Century and the need to view our planet as Spaceship Earth. Excess production of goods will be a memory. We will move into an era when there will be fewer manufacturing ‘overruns’ that create surplus quantities of products that will not be used. We will create only what we need rather than producing volumes of stuff we don’t need.

The industrial revolution of the digital age is now here. This trend of custom manufacturing will be driven in part by ever more sophisticated and widespread implementation of Nanotechnology.


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