Enhancing innovation via the digital twin
Nobuyuki Fukawa, Aric Rindfleisch
kHUB post date: July 18, 2023
Originally published: January 09, 2023 (PDMA JPIM • Vol 40, Issue 4 • July 2023)
Read time: 35 minutes
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A growing number of firms are seeking to leverage emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, to enhance their innovation efforts. These seemingly distinct technologies are currently coalescing into an encompassing new technology called the digital twin. This technology allows innovative firms to create a digital replica of a physical entity that evolves over its life cycle. This article explores the implications of the digital twin for innovation theory and practice. First, we examine the connection between the digital twin and three related technologies (i.e., 3D printing, big data, and AI). Second, we create a typology of four categories of digital twins (i.e., monitoring, making, enhancing, and replicating) and illustrate their relevance for innovation management. Third, we offer a set of four case studies that exemplify this typology and illustrate how digital twins have been put into practice. Fourth, we craft a set of digital twin-related future research directions that encompasses a broad range of innovation-related topics, including service innovation, co-creation, and product design. We hope that our examination of the digital twin serves as a catalyst to help advance innovation thought and practice in this intriguing new domain.