ACUP Lesson: Never Stop Learning
While it may be true that technologies like printed memory and thermo-chromic inks will never enter your in-plant, it's important to know about them said Ken Macro, chair of Graphic Communications at Cal Poly State University, in his opening address at last week's Association of College and University Printers conference.
In-plant managers may be proficient with the print technologies they use in their shops, but in this day and age, with technologies changing so fast, it's important to engage in “lifelong learning,” Macro said.
“By the time we get used to the change, it won’t even be the prevailing change any more,” he said. To ensure we’re not left in the dust, “we’ve got to be learning all the time.”
Macro encouraged managers to explore new print-related technologies, even if they aren’t applicable to their in-plants, so they understand what lies ahead for the industry. Technologies like digital packaging, printed memory, microtype for security, scented and thermo-chromic inks, printed electronics and even virtual reality are sure to have an impact on the industry, he said.
Install a 3D printer, he suggested; the "wow" factor will bring new customers through your doors. Explore augmented reality as well so that you understand how it works and are ready when a customer asks about it.
One important technology that in-plants have embraced, he noted, is wide-format printing. “If you’re not covering every wall on campus, that’s a problem,” he said. “You are the creatives. You have the equipment.”
He implored in-plant managers to align with their schools by talking to academic departments, learning about their curricula to find out if there are opportunities to partner and volunteering to give lectures in classes. Macro also endorsed experimentation.
“What do our people need that they do not know that they even want?” he asked. “We’ve got to get out of our comfort zone.”
Here's a video of Macro's presentation, courtesy of Rochester Software Associates:
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.