We have distilled 10 lessons learnt from our in-depth cross-case analysis of 10 maker initiatives in Europe.
Here comes lesson 1:
Although currently we hardly see a major shift in the production of products in general, i.e. from centralised to de-centralised production, we recognise that maker products have a unique selling proposition since products serve niche markets.
Maker products have the advantage to responsively take into account individual user needs. Thus personalised and customised products can be developed effectively and fast.
Maker initiatives but also makers themselves have a dense network of links to different stakeholder groups, especially to educational institutions. These networks seem to be key for achieving sustainability.
In the Maker community legal advice is missing in most of the cases and makers are challenged in handling the legal aspects of their doing especially if they have commercial ambitions.
Although there are some examples of makers with commercial ambitions, who are ready to offer new solutions, new business models, to combine making, openness and the market, there is still a tension between openness and competitive advantage.
Society’s deeply engrained cultural stereotypes and value preferences when relating gender with technology, engineering or making don’t stop at the doors of a maker space. However, maker spaces that employ also female facilitators in the lab seemed to be attracting also more female makers.
For stimulating the exchange of knowledge and experiences within the community, a trustful environment, both in virtual as well in physical spaces is crucial.
Though communication with other makers rooms for reflections are opened up and bring forward the maker’s project. A communicative atmosphere in the maker space can support this exchange.
The Maker movement has the potential for economic impact on regional level. The highest economic impact on regional level is due to job creation and start-up businesses rooting in the Maker community.
The Maker community showed high awareness regarding environmental issues and brings up environmentally highly relevant products addressing these challenges.
Please go to check out our deliverable to have a look to understand how we come to these conclusions.