Inovasi atau Imajinasi : Pelajaran Seharga Rp. 15.000.000, Mengolah Sampah Plastik Menjadi Filamen.

Saat masih mahasiswa tahun 2019 dulu, 3 kawan saya + saya sendiri memulai project ambisius untuk mengubah dunia. Mengolah sampah plastik menjadi filamen 3D Print. Berbekal YouTube (terimakasih davehakkens dan precious plastic), kami membuat extruder 3D Print filamen. Sekarang projectnya sudah terhenti, itu cerita untuk lain hari, tapi yang akan saya bahas adalah pelajaran di balik itu. Memang benar, pelajaran itu mahal (dalam case ini saya sudah habis sekitar Rp. 15 – 20 juta untuk riset, uang yang lumayan banyak untuk mahasiswa).

Banyak hal yang saya berharap mengetahuinya dari dulu. Seperti, “innovation = invention * commercialization” yang dibuat oleh MIT Professor Ed Roberts dan diadaptasi oleh Bill Aulet dalam bukunya “Disciplined Entrepreneurship : 24 Steps to a Successful Startup”. Intinya, secanggih apapun hasil temuanmu, semodern apapun hasil penelitianmu, itu bukan inovasi kalau tidak ada komersialisasinya. Sepatu terbang memang keren, tapi percuma kalau tidak ada yang beli.

At the end of the day, yang membuat kita tetap bisa melakukan riset, trial and error, makan, dan beli paket internet, adalah paying customers. Big thanks to @nazmifahmad dan @kewirus_official sudah menyadarkan dan membawa saya ke tanah (wish I knew sooner, check their IG guys!).

Yang menarik untuk dibahas dari project ini adalah kami memulainya untuk dibisniskan, tanpa memastikan ada atau tidaknya customer. Kami menginvestasikan waktu, tenaga, dan juga uang, dalam suatu venture yang bahkan belum jelas siapa customernya. Kami sempat mendapat kesempatan pitching saat lomba bisnis. Disana kami dibantai habis – habisan karena tidak bisa menjawab pertanyaan – pertanyaan simpel seperti “Customermu siapa?” dan “Kenapa mereka mau beli?”. Tentu kami tidak bisa berdalih “Maaf pak materi ini tidak diajari dalam mata kuliah kami karena kami anak teknik semua”.

Moral of the story : jangan asal just-do-it, pelajari ilmu – ilmu terkait bidang yang mau kamu geluti sebelum memutuskan untuk nyemplung.

Oke, kembali ke topik sesuai judul. Filamen 3D Print dari sampah plastik ini tidak impossible. Sudah banyak yang menggeluti bidang ini di luar negeri. Bahkan banyak juga yang menjual mesin untuk memproduksi filamen sendiri dari sampah plastik! Memang ia juga punya kekurangan, seperti hasil print yang belum sebagus filament 3D murni (namun beberapa merek sudah mengatasi masalah ini). Harganya juga tidak bisa benar – benar murah karena butuh pemrosesan tambahan, bahkan beberapa dijual dengan harga di atas filamen 3D Print murni.

Di Indonesia setahu saya baru ada 2 yang sudah komersil, yaitu Robries (Surabaya) dan tim riset dari ITB. Saya sendiri belum pernah mencoba produk mereka jadi belum bisa memberikan review. Bagi saya sendiri, mengolah sampah plastik menjadi filamen ini masih imajinasi, belum inovasi. Namun saya yakin teman – teman yang lain di Indonesia pasti bisa mewujudkannya menjadi inovasi. Asalkan diimbangi, antara market research dengan product developmentnya.

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