Courtesy of Autodesk

New Report from Autodesk Shows Growing Confidence in Resilience, Optimism Toward AI

April 22, 2024
Nearly 5,400 global business leaders, futurists and experts across Design and Make industries share insights and solutions in second annual survey results.

In a revealing insight into the current landscape of design and manufacturing, the 2024 State of Design & Make report, unveiled recently by Autodesk, Inc., presents a notable shift in industry sentiment. Leaders across various sectors, including architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing and media, express a significantly higher confidence in their companies' resilience compared to the previous year. Surprisingly, there's also a remarkable level of trust in Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a present-day tool rather than a distant futuristic concept. This trust is driving increased investment as companies pursue greater productivity and enhanced sustainability.

The design and make industries collectively employ nearly 300 million people worldwide and are projected to represent a staggering $30 trillion in global value by 2027. Autodesk's second annual report delves into the challenges and sentiments prevailing in these sectors, aiming to provide insights to help leaders navigate the path forward.

Key Highlights:

The report revealed a growing trend toward digital transformation and sustainability adoption within the design and manufacturing industry, including:

  • Optimization and Digitization. With optimism returning, digitization has reached a tipping point: Leaders feel their companies are far more resilient than last year, as digitally mature companies report even greater success. In fact, 73% of companies believe they are prepared to handle unforeseen economic or geopolitical changes—up 14 points from 2023.
  • Increasing Trust in AI. More than 3 in 4 professionals (76%) say they trust AI for their industry, many have embraced AI to enhance productivity, become more efficient, and to better achieve sustainability goals—now table stakes for business and the planet.
  • Progress in AI’s Perception. More than half of companies say they are approaching or have already achieved their goal of incorporating AI. While AI adoption is high, we still have a long way to go to maximize AI’s potential.
  • Upskilling as Necessity. With nearly half of industry professionals saying that access to skilled talent is a barrier to their companies’ growth, upskilling and continuous learning emerge as essential programs for companies large and small.
  • Sustainability as Imperative. Nearly all companies say they have taken actions to improve their sustainability, but without meaningful commitments, companies across industries risk being left behind by competitors whose values are in line with those of their employees and customers.

Andrew Anagnost, president and CEO of Autodesk, commented:

“While capacity and economic constraints have dominated industry conversations, it’s not surprising to see increased trust and optimism in AI, digital transformation and sustainability, as our customers aim to be more efficient and cost-effective. As the world confronts unprecedented challenges, technology is our most powerful tool for designing and making a better world for all.”

The Rise of AI in Design and Manufacturing 

As trust in technology grows, AI is spearheading business transformation across industries. Businesses are using AI to increase productivity and automate work, and leaders predict that generative AI will help people make crucial design decisions about physical products, buildings and digital assets in the next several years.  

  • 79% of respondents say AI will make their industry more creative
  • 78% say AI will enhance their industry, with the same number saying they are confident their company will make the right decisions regarding AI
  • 72% say their organizations have increased spending on AI and emerging technology in the past three years
  • 77% state they will continue to invest in AI and emerging technology in the next three years
  • 39% stating AI will help automate mundane, repetitive tasks
  • 35% say AI will supplement a skills gap

Sustainability Commitments Are Key to Company Success  

Changing attitudes around sustainability are driving progress, with leaders investing in energy efficiency, materials reduction and more sustainable processes.  

  • Nearly all companies surveyed (97%) have taken actions to improve their sustainability
  • 87% of industry professionals believe improving sustainability practices is a good long-term business decision and 78% say they are proud of their company’s sustainability efforts
  • 69% say sustainability is good for short-term business success, up 25% from last year’s report

Companies Are Focused on Upskilling in 3 Areas 

The top three digital skills companies are looking for include: the ability to work with AI, digital design, and software development/programming. This is a result of high costs forcing companies to become more economic; however, as workforces tighten, the skills and technical education that employees possess are falling short of meeting essential business needs. 

  1. Digital Maturity and Talent Attraction: Digital maturity is cited as a top factor in attracting talent, underscoring the importance of staying abreast of technological advancements.
  2. AI Implementation Skills: The ability to implement and work with AI is identified as a top technical skill for future hiring decisions.
  3. Challenges in Upskilling: While the majority recognize the importance of upskilling, many companies face challenges in designing effective training programs and accessing skilled talent.

Download a copy of the 2024 State of Design & Make report

*World Economic Forum 
**Statista, Statista, Oxford Economics & PWC 

This article was written with the assistance of artificial intelligence.

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