Colin Keogh is the CEO & co-founder at The Rapid Foundation. The Rapid Foundation focuses on helping the developing world build tech solutions with hardware and 3D printing. He will receive his PhD at UCD with Smartlab & Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland supported by the Irish Research Council and Science Gallery International. He was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Science & Healthcare in 2017. He was also named Junior Chamber International Top Outstanding Young Person in 2017. He was also named the Nissan Generation Next Ambassador in 2017. He is also a recipient of the Irish Early Career Awards IT & Tech Professional of the Year 2017.
What has gotten you to where you are now?
I was an auto mechanic. I spent a lot of time fixing cars. I then built a love for crafting and building. It made a natural transition for me into what I do now. It started a journey for me of loving to make things and tinkering with objects.
What got you interested in additive manufacturing and 3D Printing?
In university, I was able to work on Ultimakers. There was no danger or risk associated with us experimenting on these machines. The engineers in our class were able to actually fix the systems compared to other students in different departments . This enabled us to have multiple 3D printers within our lab.
Can you explain what The Rapid Foundation does?
We look at how we can use 3D printers for distribution. We built support networks for people within the local community. We empower communities through building hardware and localizing production that is oriented toward problems in their communities. We went to people to try and develop solutions for the developing world. We found out that there was an information flow problem and not necessarily a hardware problem.
What are your thoughts on the maker environment within Dublin?
It is strong and quite small. The small network of individuals is very strong in skills. A lot of the big tech companies in Europe are in Dublin. It is a small movement, but it is extremely strong and agile. We have a growing movement here. Within the last year it has grown a lot. Technology is cheap, and more people are very open to learning tech. There is a lot of interest in making and solving things.
What are your thoughts on the lack of global skill in tech?
I think it is the best opportunity for people worldwide economically. Tech companies such as Apple are not really innovating but just making minor iterations. People have claimed that Moore’s Law was broken years ago. A lot of the actual innovation has been done. I think it opens up the ability for new localized manufacturing. We have rising populations. The world will start to make a turnaround toward this localization. A makerspace and the internet can allow you to create anything within your garage and sell it around the world.
What does a company need to do to transition towards newer maker movement ideals?
There must be an understanding of maker mindset as a whole. This involves open innovation and IP. I think companies need to be open to getting rid of the complete ownership of ideas. Work requirements need to be flexible. It is important for people to have freedom and belief in other people’s skillsets.
What advice would you give people in this space?
You have to remember that the manufacturing industry is extremely traditional. You have to slowly warm up industries to your newer innovations. You cannot be too activist. You have to be a bankable and sellable asset. It works well if you are the type of person that can be publicly supported. You have to treat people as allies. You need to play with as many systems and ideas out as possible. You have to actively work on these tech innovations. You have to continuously be up to date. You should always want to look at the new thing. You can easily become a subject matter expert in a new field. I hate hearing something can be done. You must solve the unsolvable.
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