Why Makers Are More Empowered Than Ever to ‘Create’ Today

Now, more than ever, Makers have access to the tools and knowledge they need to create thanks to a confluence of economic, societal, and technological forces

From Shanghai to Seattle, hackers, tinkerers, enthusiasts, self-learners and entrepreneurs of all ages and abilities are applying a ‘hands on’ approach to constructing the world around them. Leveraging a confluence of digital and analog toolsets, makers are deftly handling both smart styluses and soldering irons to take their concepts from idea to prototype to market reality. What defines the influence, scope and power behind this movement is its optimism in action-the belief in individuals’ ability to enact change, and then to do it.

With the power of collective action, social networks and crowdsourcing, individual action is amplified to have extraordinary influence on the larger systems that surround us. It starts at the smallest scale-with one person determined to make something happen-and can grow like wildfire to the extent our imaginations deem possible.

Here are three of the driving forces pushing the Maker Movement forward, from the scale of individuals to systems broken down into the Economic, Societal, and Technological forces at play.

ECONOMIC FORCES

– Individuals are empowered by a growing array of alternative ways to engage in the economy-taking advantage of new services and marketplaces to share, shop, sell and scale.

– Communities are championing maker efforts to revitalize urban centers, stimulate small business and provide a competitive advantage to attract even more business.

– Communities are championing maker efforts to revitalize urban centers, stimulate small business and provide a competitive advantage to attract even more business.

SOCIETAL FORCES

– Curiosity, ideology, necessity: whatever the reason, people are relying more heavily on their own hands and brains to meet daily needs. By experimenting with self-sufficiency, individuals are recognizing their own power through everyday action.

– Makerspaces and private/public fab labs are popping up everywhere, allowing communities to teach themselves new skills that could revive local business or traditions in craftsmanship.

– Massive person-to-person interactions are changing the landscape of information exchange and political action. Rather than waiting for institutional change, individuals are banding together to initiate social reform.

TECHNOLOGICAL FORCES

– The barriers of access to making have come crashing down, as simplified design tools and cost-effective DIY kits provide individuals with cheap means to make extraordinary projects.

– Makers and hackers are pairing indigenous materials, found artifacts or repurposed tools with lab-grade technology to tailor solutions to local community needs.

– Knowledge of making, once passed down through specialized guilds, is being digitally codified, documented and shared. The global community of makers radiates outward from these digital networks, transcending both language and geography.

PSFK Maker’s Manual

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