Why The “Sprout By HP” Matters

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From gadgets to laser printers, monitors to VR goggles, product reviews have been part of my 25+ years of working in the tech industry. I will not say I have seen it all, but quite a lot of gear has gone through my workshop.

3DRV Version 2

In 2014, we traveled the USA and just a bit of Canada (3DRV roadtrip), exploring and researching the state of 3D technology. I yearned to continue that study with a deeper focus on education, as well as small and midsize business; urban manufacturers are in that mix.

Why does this deeper look matter to me? The new project represents an ongoing journey to listen to the people and companies making a difference, bringing 3D to the fearless minds of young people and the fearless hearts of entrepreneurs, where it will help to change the world. GoExplore3D is the new project, 3DRV version 2, if you will. There are too many amazing projects and initiatives not continue gathering and sharing the stories of people who are fixing things that are broken and creating new ideas that make the world more complete.

HP Sprout Dremel box bundle (1)

HP agreed to “sponsor” this new direction. More so, they agreed to engage with me for ideas and strategies that might, in part, move them on their journey to those deeper customer conversations.

UPDATE 07Jan2016: I used the term “sponsor” above and in this post, but it is not quite accurate, so I’ve posted about it on my Refine Digital company blog, to clarify. In a nutshell, HP is a client paying me to do a variety of things with the new Sprout system, including content. My revenue or income from the project is not dependent on you clicking any links, thus, you will get a fairly objective view of my experience with this product and hear about what I experience with it out in the field. For more “sponsorship” thoughts, read: Sponsored Content And GoExplore3D (Evolution of 3DRV).

The Sprout by HP computer is unique. That is not easy to claim or demonstrate, but there it is, a new computer system that lets you 3D scan practically anything and then see it on the screen. I’m not trying to review the Sprout as much as I am trying to experience the Sprout. Sure, I’ll post tech specs and experiences, works-in-progress, which are review-like.

My objective is to go out and experience it with others who are attempting to figure out some of the same things that I am – how do you find and mark the boundaries of creating, and then step over them or through them?

Sprout is a computer that allows you to remove existing boundaries of concept and design. Traditionally, you had to draw a model from a blank page or screen. More recently, you download a model and work from that. Then you can 3D print it, or put it in a game, or just leave it on your screen as a rotating, virtual reality “experience.”

All across the country last year, during the 3DRV national roadtrip, we made visits to the people and places working with 3D technology in some way. It was a profound experience, opening my eyes and heart, to the wonders of tech, but mostly the people using the tech. I have repeatedly said that “thinking in 3D” (this my Harvard Business Review post) is the whirlwind moving around the world, not 3D printing. Sure, 3D printing gives you amazing creations (and sometimes flops), but the power of it is in the freedom it presents to your mind, or your kid or grand kid’s mind. This is the main reason that the Sprout by HP matters, in my mind — it starts you thinking in 3D.

The freedom to think, nearly unconstrained by any boundaries, to become aware that the most complex thing you can imagine is 3D printable. Lots of people have said things like this, as I am here, full of gushing praise for the tech. I am not a pioneer on that praise front.

I hope to be a pioneer on the “freedom front.” That’s where HP is going with its Sprout, to give people a path toward innovation. Not the key to innovation, not some rules for innovation, as some claim them, but a hand on the shoulder to encourage you to keep going in the direction you want. Others will follow. Others will build from the HP idea of “blended reality computing.”

When I traveled the US, I was sometimes interviewed by the media. Every interviewer would ask me “what was really, truly different about this 3D technology” and I replied that it was about freedom. Without exception, each one laughed. I’m not trying to be William Wallace in Braveheart screaming “freedom,” simply that the potential of 3D is more about freedom than tchotchkes or plastic doodads.

As many of you know, if you have ever struggled to draw or design or create something from page or screen emptiness, you can only see it in your mind. 3D tools give you the freedom to move pieces and parts around, physically, to represent what you are thinking about, or to take something that “looks like it” and capture that as a starting point.

Likewise, my starting point for GoExplore3D is more than just a blank screen, more than a post about the gear HP has loaned me. I didn’t want to do a basic review of the Sprout by HP system for my first post. Or to talk about the specs of the powerful HP ZBook 15 laptop (which is appropriately called a “mobile workstation” because it is one strong machine) that the company has continued to let me use from the 3DRV project.

HP Sprout name in corner (1)

This higher level of opportunity is what I wanted to start with. I am most interested in the mind-bending we can experience, individually and collectively when we tap into new tools like the Sprout. Sure the specs are impressive – but I’ll go into those in more detail later.

So, what am I going to do? GoExplore3D is a small project, to be sure, and far less about travel than 3DRV. HP Sprout has agreed to join me in it, not to make my project big, but wide, arms-open wide (and hopefully deep). That the project might become a slow, steady wind that edges across wide water, leaving dimples and marks as it touches the smooth making you wonder what is beneath the surface.

Hokey? Perhaps.

But I am not so tech-jaded that I cannot risk expressing passion, and a hope that you will dive beneath the surface with me. The Sprout by HP box has the tagline: “Reimagine what you can do.” That is the perfect way to kick off this new venture.

Thanks for reading. #GoMakeThings

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