Read the latest issue of the magazine dedicated to surface treatments and organic and inorganic finishes. Special issue on Architecture & Design!
How much is the market actually willing to innovate?
On the one hand, it is true that investments have never been as numerous and substantial as they have been in recent years, not least because of the numerous incentives given by virtually all European governments for business digitalisation.
Yet the doubt is legitimate, especially after perceiving discouragement in numerous companies, beneath the enthusiasm for a market demand that has been strong for two years now and is going to remain strong for at least the first half of 2023, despite rumours of an impending crisis.
The observations we gathered during our traditional end-of-year meetings with some of the players in the surface treatment industry can be traced back to two trends: a lack of attention to what is new – as in, truly new – on the market, due to excessive focus on achieving the lowest possible price; and a lack of willingness to assess any proposed solutions on a technical bases and in detail, due to superficiality often leading one to trust any claim without verifying it before investing.
The first trend is frightening: if the market is not interested in testing or even inquiring about innovative products that are the result of careful and continuous research and development, the companies that do such research, investing high percentages of their turnover, will sooner or later stop doing so, discouraged by too little demand for their solutions’ potential.
The second trend is certainly the result of a lack of industrial culture in this sector but, at the same time, I think it can also be traced to the fact that, in general, people’s attention threshold is getting lower and lower. For most of us, everyday life has become an endless scrolling of pages, images, and brief information, for which neither great concentration nor much time is required.
Paradoxically, this attitude is also reflected in work activities. Abandoning a webinar after only a few minutes of listening or refusing to read the clauses of a contract because they are too long is behaviour that is considered (fortunately only) almost justified by lack of time.
My wish for this new year is that end users, especially those working in strategic industries such as the metal architecture and design ones – to which this issue is dedicated and which impact many aspects of social life, from urban planning to landscaping, from sustainability to the liveability of spaces, up to aesthetics – stop focusing on the here and now, but rather go back to having a more far-reaching vision, to being curious and ready to experiment, and to showing a more attentive and structured approach to new proposals.
Only in this way will we be able to nurture innovation, breathe life into research, support and reward companies that offer refined products and services, and above all contribute to the growth of the sector.
For our part, we start this new year by welcoming ipcm’s first US client, a confirmation of our interest and willingness to invest in expanding in that market, as a means of promotion not only for European companies in the Unites States, but also for American companies in their own market.
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