September 22, 2013

Making More Makers

Nick Sweeney has written an interesting blog post about adding fuel to the small fire of kickstarter campaigns and the maker movement.

It's an interesting topic, and one that I've been picking at over the past year or so, as I both edge towards MCQN Ltd making products and chat to more and more people engaged in the maker movement.

I covered some of the problems in the talk I gave at the RSA the other month - The Valley Between Makers and Manufacturers. I don't have (m)any solutions just yet, but am interesting in working towards some. Some thoughts/observations/challenges (in a lazy list, as I'm not sure how to weave them into a useful narrative, but I think it's good to get them out there...):

  • Getting more people introduced to the maker movement. DoES Liverpool is growing steadily, but it would always be nice for it to be growing faster, and for more of the people who come along and use the space every now and then when they've got a project to move to people who hang out and help others learn what's possible.
  • Rediscovering the supply chain. As people work on more projects, word spreads on how to get X or Y done, and who can do it. I've also been doing things like attending the inaugural Merseyside Manufacturing Council meeting start to try to bridge the gap. There are a few problems in that area:
    • Finding who exists locally that you could use.
    • Working out who is good or bad - which is mostly solved by word-of-mouth as people use different services and share experiences.
    • Helping the suppliers, fabricators, etc. understand that there's a new market for their services emerging. I can completely understand why some of them are rather spiky to first deal with - it's a defence against the many people who'll waste your time (not deliberately) because they've got a "great idea" and you have to educate them either in how they can use your services, or in why their great idea isn't going to fly.
  • Artisan-scale electronics devices don't really fit into the existing regulation framework. There are good reasons for certification, but the cost of testing at present is a huge barrier to more people scaling up their cool maker project into a finished product.
Posted by Adrian at September 22, 2013 01:26 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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