Top Thought Leadership topics of 2018

The Thought Leadership blog and program have experienced incredible growth since launching three years ago, but this year has been especially noteworthy.



We continue to highlight many new trends in the market that are important to our customers. We won our very first Killer Content Award for our work with the digital twin. Moreover, the Thought Leadership team has grown to include my two wonderfully talented teammates, Blake and Steve.

None of this growth would be possible without you, our readers. Your continued curiosity and support is a big part of our success. Thank you for following our Thought Leaders and for being so eager to learn.

I’m consistently amazed at the work my Siemens PLM colleagues do for our customers. They want to educate customers about the trends and challenges they face so they can conquer them, and they also make sure customers are equipped with the right knowledge so their businesses can thrive. It’s been so fun to learn what they’re doing to ensure our customers’ success.

Now, for the big reveal. Throughout the year, I’ve followed our readers’ responses on the blog and on social media to see which topics were resonating most. 



Without further ado, here are the top Thought Leadership topics of 2018.

#5: Additive manufacturingIndustrial Scale Additive Manufacturing_Podcasts.jpg


Companies are realizing additive manufacturing’s potential when it’s scaled up and implemented on an industrial level, and the benefits could change everything. Designs can result in unique parts with attributes that are in high demand. Economical scaling of production can happen for both buyers and suppliers as the demand for printed parts grows. And, physical inventories can be replaced with on-demand digital inventories.



In his series about what this future looks like, Robert Meshel detailed the challenges and potential AM offers companies. Robert also participated in our first Thought Leadership podcast series, Are You Ready for Industrial-Scale Additive Manufacturing?, which detailed the hype, reality, opportunities and potential next steps companies can consider for industrial-scale AM. Robert’s was able to offer a simple, engaging overview of a topic that has the potential to become overwhelming or complicated, and that resonated with readers this year.

#4: The future of aerospaceFuture of Flight_1.png


A host of new technology is shaping the way the aerospace industry will be for decades to come. Space tourism and deep space exploration, unmanned delivery drones and new aircraft designs are all of high interest in the industry, and aerospace companies want to ensure all types of flights will be safe, fast, profitable and environmentally friendly.



In his series on what’s in store for the aerospace industry, John O’Connor looks at how the foundation for this future has already been laid and is currently built upon, and how the future of flight will change the way companies manage their product lifecycles and their relationships with suppliers. John’s way of clearly articulating this vision has piqued reader interest, and he’ll continue to do so in 2019: he’ll discuss private and commercial flights, autonomous flying cars and shipping, emerging space enterprises and space tourism.

#3: Preparing for the next generation of manufacturingManufacturing Jobs.png


Digitalized processes are transforming the way manufacturing will work in the years and decades to come, so it’s no surprise that the workforce will need to adapt to succeed in this digital world.



A few of our Thought Leaders covered what these changes will look like. In her series on transforming higher education, Dora Smith discussed why aligning university curriculums more closely to real-world experiences will be a key part of addressing the impending skills gap as the move toward digital intensifies. Alex Allison and Josh Ray highlighted the way the culture within manufacturing will need to change as it looks to attract talent in this new era. They discussed how manufacturing can fix its people problem, as well as the role culture and technology play in innovation. Dora, Alex and Josh have done a great job of covering this important topic from multiple angles, and ensuring our customers are asking the right questions to prepare for a digital future.

#2: The digital twin Digital Factory.jpg


The digital twin continues to attract customers’ curiosity as they look for ways to succeed in ever-changing markets and futureproof their business. The ability to virtually predict what will physically happen, and connect that information to learn and plan, holds an incredible amount of promise and competitive advantage.



Zvi Feuer’s pieces have consistently ranked in the top 10 most read pieces of content on the Thought Leadership blog since being published. His discussion about the value of the digital twin and the digital twin’s role in the smart factory of the future do a great job of highlighting the different ways companies can leverage the power of the digital twin.

#1: Autonomous vehicles Future autonomous vehicles.png


If you’ve been following the blog this year, the most widely-read topic should come as no surprise: autonomous vehicles.



Customers are interested in learning as much as possible about autonomous vehicles, including how they’ll transform automotive manufacturing, major challenges with software in the vehicles and how different these vehicles could look as they hit the road. Customers were also interested in reframing the way they think about autonomous vehicles and how to address safety concerns as the vehicles hit the road.



Because this is such a vast topic and is of such high interest, we’ve had a few Thought Leaders contribute content to this topic over the year: Edward Bernardon, Dave Lauzun and Andrew Macleod. A big thank you to them and to our colleagues who have helped us bring different aspects of the autonomous conversation to our customers’ attention.

Honorable mention: Blockchain


This topic has been a hot trend in the marketplace this year, and readers were curious to learn more about what Blockchain is. We look forward to learning more about it!

Tell us: Which Thought Leadership topic did you like reading about most this year? 

About the author
Toni Boger is the editor-in-chief of Digital Transformations, the Thought Leadership blog for Siemens PLM Software. As the content strategist for the Siemens PLM Thought Leadership program, she oversees the content creation, management, publication and promotion for all content in the program. She graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and English. Prior to joining Siemens, Toni worked as an associate site editor for TechTarget, a technology media company.

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