Customization/Personalization Driving 21st Century Innovation: Goldman Sachs

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Goldman Sachs hosted an Innovation Symposium on March 17th, bringing together 350 technologists and business leaders from across the globe to discuss technology, innovation and future business trends.

The report on the symposium, produced by Goldman Sachs analyst Hugo Scott-Gall and colleagues, highlights how the emerging trend of personalization or customization is revolutionizing the factory and the marketplace, with rapidly growing new industries such as 3D printing, the Internet of Things, population health management, financial advice and genomics all offering highly personalized products and services. They note that: “Customization is now viable across products as data allows better individual diagnosis.”

The personalization revolution leading to innovation

Population health

The panelists at the GS Innovation Symposium all pointed to the shift of “volume to value”, together with advances in information technology, as the transformative and disruptive forces behind the growth of Population Health management. They also agreed the model is still being developed (reimbursement still mainly fee-for-service).

They furthermore noted that they are seeing forward-thinking healthcare stakeholders laying the groundwork for the transition, and some argued that recent government and industry initiatives connecting an increased percent of payments to “value” and the number of hospitals with population health plans or strategically partnering with payers mean we are close to a tipping point.

The major population health verticals seeing uptake today are: “(1) Foundational IT (data aggregation, analytics, actuarial risk models), (2) Prevention Services (Wellness Platforms, Biometric Screening, Patient Engagement), and (3) Intervention Services (Care Management, Network Management, Advocacy Services, Telemedicine).”


Significant innovation in DNA sequencing technology is leading to the analysis of a cancer patient’s unique genomic signature on a regular basis. The first applications of are emerging in tumor profiling and immune system monitoring. The technology is still very young and regulations are being developed, but everyone agreed that genomics for cancer diagnosis and treatment is a key future theme.

3D printing

The panelists focused on current developments in Additive Manufacturing (3D printing), including near-term uses and barriers for broader adoption in the manufacturing industry. Of note, applications for AM appear to be growing organically in a variety of industries, but for now AM is mainly still used in niche applications. The experts in this panel focused more on the possibilities of the technology for innovation instead of the near-term limitations.

However, several panelists noted that knowledge and education remains a large barrier to greater AM adoption. For example, the lack of hard engineering data continues to prevent AM techniques from being broadly adopted in mainline production. Panelists also noted that “the ability to design with AM in mind remains elusive at this point.”

Of interest, the panel clearly diverged in their expectations for industry disruption from AM. SSYS sees itself more as a partner and augmenter of existing methods of manufacturing rather than as a disruptor. Mr. Hopkinson of the University of Sheffield argued that tooling manufacturers were likely to be significantly disrupted as AM technology requires no tools. GE also noted that they are using AM to make finished parts, as well as in the assembly of traditionally manufactured parts.

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