Fueling DYI Innovation

When I first heard of the Maker Faire, I dismissed it as one of those Renaissance gatherings where people trounce around in puffy sleeves and tights, spouting Shakespeare and downing mead. As reports flooded the blogosphere of hot new maker-created technology like 3D printers and microcontrollers, I decided ‘maker’ was code for tech geek. Turns out, makers are a little of both.

After visiting the MakersFair.com website and other sources, I realized there was more to being a maker than a fair (with or without the extra “e”). Makers are a movement. From websites like Etsy promoting artisan-crafted goods to the popularity of home gardening and eating locally, the trend is toward anything driven by self-sufficiency, doing it yourself, a return to simpler times.

This DIY mentality isn’t limited to locavores and artists. The term “maker movement” was coined by the 2005 launch of MAKE Magazine, an online technology resource. According to their website, the movement has created a tech-driven maker market ecosystem, driving innovation manufacturing, engineering, industrial design, hardware technology and education.

Crowd Companies Chief Catalyst Jeremiah Owyang has been blogging about the maker movement and what it means to traditional business models. According to Owyang, the movement is shifting product creation from over-sees producers to local creators, fueled by philosophical beliefs like sustainability rather than profit margin. The makers movement “empowers people to build their own products, and share with each other –rather than buying from brands.”  Owyang suggests that corporations and their brands need to join the movement rather than fight it.

He may have a point. In 2013, Maker Faire attracted 280,000 participants to its two flagship fairs and 86 global mini-fairs. The continuing momentum of the maker movement is shifting the economy of make/sell/buy from a linear model to a circular one. Not only are makers creating, using, and selling their own products to each other, they often use recycled or repurposed materials, reducing the purchase of new products from traditional brands. This creates an economic ripple effect that companies cannot afford to ignore.

Some brands are already getting on the maker bandwagon. Patagonia partnered with eBay to encourage customers to resell and reuse its used products. Radio Shack has remained relevant against big box stores like Best Buy in part by embracing the DYI tech crowd. They promote maker products like the Arduino microcontroller, and provide free soldering training at makers fairs. Google, Yahoo and other tech companies have also sponsored fair booths.

According to TechCrunch, over 1 million teens participated in the Second Annual Maker Camp, sponsored by Google and MAKE Magazine, which offered online lessons on how to ”build, hack, and explore” technology. These are our future inventors, designers, and engineers. The maker movement is already changing the way we think about products and services. Forward-thinking brands will join the movement and redesign their business models to tap into what Maker Faire calls the “wellspring of innovation.”

This post was first published on the blog of rethink conf 

Arnt Eriksen. Simplifying the complexity
of marketing and communication.


Take me back


How can I help?

You have not specified how I can help you. Please choose one of the options above by clicking on the one you find most relevant.


Take me back


Date of event

To continue, I must know on which date my services are wanted.


Take me back


Number of attendees

The number of attendees have to be written in numbers.


Take me back


What's your
e-mail?

The e-mail adress you have provided, is not valid. Please try again.


Take me back


One more thing

Before you press Send request below, I would like to thank you for your interest and request.

I will get back to you as soon as possible so that we can plan and go through the final details to secure the optimal content and value creation. Looking forward to collaborating with you. Until then, be safe - stay awesome.

62

International
events attended

131

Blog posts
written

34

Keynotes
held

87

Workshops
organized