“Crowdsourcing”, “Crowdfunding” and “Shareconomy” are buzzwords that came up more and more during the last few years. They are all long term consequences of challenging times in economy, people all over the globe feel there’s a need for fundamental change of how we do many of our everyday activities. Now, “Maker Movement” is another point that recently joined the list of buzzwords gathering people’s attention. But “Movement” sounds huge, so is “Making” indeed a movement?
Actually “Making” is nothing new at all – it’s quite the opposite, because Do-It-Yourself, tinkering and handicraft work (alone as well as in small local groups) go very, very far back in history, even long before what we call the industrial revolution of the last centuries. In those former days there were simply not too many other ways to improve daily life. Developments like mass production or the band-conveyor helped big industries to grow and pushed the makers a bit in the background and they seemed somehow outmoded and old fashioned for many years. But fortunately they never disappeared.
Today, new and affordable technologies for rapid prototyping (like 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, etc.), low cost and easy programmable microcontrollers and software development frameworks which are no longer a mystery can turn every curious person into a professional innovator, independent of age, ancestry, social background and even education! Maker spaces turn into meeting points for makers as they provide access to various types of high quality professional machines for only a small monthly fee, offering also education how to operate these machines.
And there’s of course the web! The perfect platform to share ideas, experiences and resources. The ideal way to find likeminded people to collaborate and to become even more professional. The obvious opportunity to find a soft and self-determined start into the scene by supporting others and doing something meaningful with (spare) time and materials. The easiest way to act green by providing and using existing, under-utilized resources rather than buying new ones.
These are exactly the tasks we address with “makerSQR“: Forming teams of likeminded people and gaining access to all kinds of resources. Matching resources under consideration of passions, availability, geography and compensation advances the range of each personal studio or maker space. With having teams and resources in place at early project stage, the required funding amount will be reduced, which increases at the same time the chance to get funded at all.
Who still believes “Making” is no more than a hobby for a hand full of tinkerers and nerds, I would recommend to do some research on the web or, even more inspiring, to spend a day of your time at a Maker Faire or similar event, you will see masses of people building awesome and useful things, the 4 year old boy as well as the 80 year old grandma. And you will see wellknown global brands like Google, Microsoft or NASA, calling the maker scene for action, support and ideas – some in order to understand and join the movement, others to gain access to external resources.
So finally, my answer is Yes, “Making” IS already a movement – and what we see today is just the beginning!
Author: Joseph Schodl, CEO, MakerSQR
Date: 13 April 2015