The industries that design and make represent a unique category that connects the digital to the physical.

Architecture, engineering, construction, built asset operations, product design, manufacturing, game development, and filmmaking all require complex human collaboration throughout a digital design process and delivery of a physical result.

Executives in these industries share their approaches and points of view on the challenges unique to their organizations and the opportunities they are identifying. 

Key areas of focus for this research include: a macro view of the industries; staying resilient and relevant in an ever-changing world; attracting, training, and retaining a skilled workforce; and achieving sustainable outcomes. 

Autodesk surveyed and interviewed 5,399 industry leaders, futurists, and experts from the following industries: architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO); design and manufacturing (D&M); and media and entertainment (M&E).

Survey data has been broken down by global region: Asia-Pacific (APAC), which includes responses from Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea; Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), with responses from France, Germany, Italy, the Middle East, the Netherlands, the Nordics, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom; and the Americas (AMER), with responses from Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This report contains key findings from this research, including details at the sector and regional level.

The quantitative data (n= 5,368) was collected between July and September 2023, through a 20-minute online survey. In addition, 31 qualitative interviews with business leaders and futurists were conducted in October and November 2023. In some instances, Autodesk references analysis of its own aggregated and anonymized product data.

Key themes

Leaders and experts in the design and make industries report a seismic shift in sentiment from last year to this year, causing big changes in the findings from Autodesk’s 2023 State of Design & Make report.

 The group is far more optimistic about the global landscape, as well as their companies’ resilience, preparedness, performance, investment, and level of digital transformation. In qualitative interviews they said that the economy’s seemingly soft landing after years of recession fears inspired much of their confidence, but with that confidence came a new concern—cost control, which pushed talent acquisition and retention down from first place to second on their list of top challenges.  

Although talent is now second to cost control, it remains daunting and difficult to address. Even with increased recognition of the need for upskilling programs, most leaders say they don’t have the internal resources to meet that need. Leaders are tackling the issue via multiple avenues that may yield dividends by the time we field next year’s survey.  

Also new this year was the understanding that artificial intelligence (AI) is a current tool rather than a futuristic pipe dream, and with that understanding, a surprising degree of trust. As one leader remarked, that trust may come from the fact that AI has not caused harm to businesses quite yet. Nonetheless, leaders find productivity gains to be a promising effect of AI and are pushing their teams to pilot use cases in hopes of converting opportunities early. One benefit of this urgency is improved sustainability. AI has risen to the top spot in terms of technologies leaders are using to make their businesses better able to meet sustainability goals. Read on to discover how leaders and experts are rising to meet this year’s top business challenges in design and make.

Explore themes


Business resilience

Digitization boosts business resilience amid continued challenges.



Companies tackle talent challenges with upskilling, digitization, and sustainability initiatives.



Business value drives sustainability actions.

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