You bet your sweet maker butt it can. And in fact, it already has. The word “inventor” once seemed like a term reserved for Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Benjamin Franklin. Today, anyone with an idea can be an inventor. Artists, woodworkers, techies and engineers have easy access to industrial manufacturing tools once reserved only for those who could afford it. This “democratization of making” is, in a way, the perfect embodiment of the American dream. Work hard, build something, and be rewarded. Here are four ways the maker movement is already changing the world.
- Fostering innovation.
The ideas trapped inside peoples’ minds are finally making their way into the world, thanks to increased access to manufacturing tools such as 3D printers and other high-tech gadgets. Technology such as Square and Embrace Warmer may not exist today if it weren’t for the maker movement giving these entrepreneurs access to the tools they needed. In the history of our country, it has never been easier for someone with an idea to create, fund and market their concept. And as the maker movement makes its way into our educational system, we’re betting that millions of future inventors are in the making as we speak.
- Creating more businesses (big and small).
The ideas and inventions mentioned above? They all have the potential to become thriving businesses. As more and more makers begin to rely solely on their art and/or making skills for income, the more unique small businesses are added grace our slowly budding economy. Today’s digital world makes it fairly simple to launch a business online, without spending much money at all. Online selling platforms empower anyone to open their own digital storefront(s), fairs across the country allow makers to connect with fellow makers and potential consumers, and even the world’s biggest brands are integrating maker components into their business models.
- Changing the manufacturing mindset.
Mass production may not be going anywhere anytime soon, but there’s no doubt that the world of DIY manufacturing is on the rise. Makerspaces effectively allow startups and entrepreneurs to bypass corporate manufacturing. Rather than relying on traditional manufacturing, innovators and makers are banding together to find new, more sustainable, cost-effective ways to bring ideas to fruition, sharing the cost of equipment and studio space. Not only that, but makers are finding that you don’t have to be backed by a large investor. Thanks to crowdfunding, everyone is a potential investor.
- Connecting people around the world.
It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy to know that, thanks to the magic of the Internet and the power of online and physical networking, consumers and makers across the globe are finding their way to each other. Wherever makers are, potential consumers, investors and fellow makers are just a click away. It’s happening at the local level too, with makerspaces giving way to collaboration that leads to more innovation. Put a bunch of makers in a room together, and what do you get? You guessed it. More making.
Read more about how the Maker Movement is shaping today’s economy here.