Digital Platforms For The Maker Movement: OpenCare, OpenMaker, MAKE-IT

A panel with the Horizon 2020 CAPS projects MAKE-IT, OpenCare, OpenMaker during Maker Faire Rome 2017.

Digital platforms have been very successful in leveraging long-tail of markets and in building ecosystems, partnerships and communities. Some platforms have focused specifically on supporting democratic practices that are environmentally aware, participatory and based on sharing and collaboration. These platforms, called Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPS), are an example of new models to create awareness of emerging sustainability challenges and of the role that each and every one of us can play to ease them through collective action. A specific program of Horizon 2020 European projects has focused on CAPS, and some of these projects have worked with the Maker movement, addressing it with different perspectives and methods. OpenCare, OpenMaker and MAKE-IT are some of these projects and in this talk they will discuss their activities and results with the audience.

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Piattaforme digitali e progetti europei per maker

A panel with the Horizon 2020 CAPS projects MAKE-IT, OpenCare, OpenMaker in the maker party at Roma Makers, before Maker Faire Rome 2017, in order to discuss the projects directly with the maker community.

Le piattaforme digitali sono state molto efficaci nello sfruttare mercati dalla coda lunga per costruire ecosistemi, partnership e comunità. Alcune piattaforme si sono concentrate specificamente sul sostegno di pratiche democratiche che sono ecocompatibili, partecipative e basate sulla condivisione e la collaborazione. Queste piattaforme, chiamate CAPS, sono un esempio di nuovi modelli per diffondere la consapevolezza delle sfide emergenti relative alla sostenibilità e del ruolo che ognuno di noi può svolgere in esse attraverso l’azione collettiva. Un programma specifico dei progetti europei Horizon 2020 si è concentrato sui CAPS e alcuni di questi progetti hanno lavorato con il movimento Maker, affrontandolo con diverse prospettive e metodi. OpenCare, OpenMaker e MAKE-IT sono alcuni di questi progetti e in questa presentazione informale con la comunitá dei maker di Roma Makers discuteranno le loro attività e risultati.
I posti della presentazione sono limitati si consiglia di prenotare; per gli altri utilizeremo uno streeming che si potrà seguire tramite i canali social.

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Empodera Live 2017

Panel: The Ecosystem Of Digital Social Innovation In Europe

  • Matt Stokes. Nesta & Social Innovation Community Project
  • Antonella Passani. IA4SI and ChiC: analysing impacts and good practices of DSI initiatives and support their sustainability
  • Francesco Saverio Nucci, CHEST, Collective enHanced Environment for Social Tasks
  • Jason Vallet, Opencarecollaborative health and social care solutions
  • Ines DinantSOCRATIC, Social Creative Intelligence for the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Marco SachyCommonfare project, is a participatory form of welfare provision based on collaboration among people living in Europe.
  • Massimo Menichinelli, MAKE-IT,Understanding Collective Awareness Platforms with the Maker Movement.
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A workshop on digital technology to support social innovation: call for papers

INSCI, the International Conference on Internet Science, is one of the main research events about CAPS, and last year we presented a paper at the INSCI2016 edition in Florence:

The international conference on Internet Science aims at progressing and investigating on topics of high relevance with Internet’s impact on society, governance, and innovation. It focuses on the contribution and role of Internet science on the current and future multidisciplinary understanding of societies transformations, governance shifts and innovation quests. Its main objective is to allow an open and productive dialogue between all the disciplines which study the Internet as a socio-technical system under any technological or humanistic perspectives.

The edition of this year will be the 4th International Conference on Internet Science (22-24 November, 2017) in Thessaloniki, (Greece), and beside submitting papers, we are also organising one of its workshops called DSI – Workshop on Digital Technology to Support Social Innovation. The workshop is organized by SINTEF, Cibervoluntarios, Farapi, Politecnico di Milano, TNO, IAAC | Fab City Research Lab (I’m one of the organizers) and supported by the CAPS projects SOCRATIC, MAKE-IT and OPEN4CITIZENS.

The advent of the Web 2.0 enabled the growth of user-generated content, virtual communities and new forms of collaboration over the internet. Since then, multiple platforms, such as the CAPS platforms , have emerged tapping into collective knowledge for fostering awareness, collaboration and innovation.

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Can Platform Cooperativism help the Maker Movement to become more sustainable? MAKE-IT on the Open 2017: Platform Cooperatives conference in London

What if so-called sharing economy and gig work platforms like Uber and AirBnB, or even social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were owned by their employees and users who maintain the platform, deliver the services and create the content that leads to the astounding valuations of the platform economy? The result would be the orientation of emerging technologies toward community-wealth and participatory, democratic control – a vision which the cooperative movement pursues already for centuries, and which is now being picked up in its 21st century version by the Platform Cooperativism movement.

From 16th to 17th of February 2017, scientists, politicians, programmers, activists and representatives from business and civil society met in the halls of Goldsmiths, University of London, to bring together developers of the digital world with practitioners of cooperative business models. The container for this get-together was the two-day conference on the collaborative economy Open 2017: Platform Cooperatives.

I had the opportunity to discuss MAKE-IT with the participants of the conference with the particular focus on sustainability scenarios for the Maker movement. To connect the principles of open source design – on which the Maker movement is built upon – with platform cooperatives – which can be understood as a business form of Collective Awareness Platforms – appears to be a promising approach for a sustainable development of the Maker movement. Platform cooperatives can ease the Maker movement’s dilemma to aspire to the free sharing of open source designs on the one hand, while at the same time wanting to meet financial needs through Maker activities. The development of a platform cooperative where makers can offer their products for sale and free sharing depending on the use of their products could, for example, be modeled on the platform cooperative Stocksy United, which offers royalty-free stock photography and videos. This way, Makers would have the option to offer the same product with different licenses (i.e. open source and commercial licenses) to the respective audiences while parts of their revenues are automatically reinvested into the Maker movement through the platform cooperative.

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Similarities, differences and interactions between the Hacker scene and the Maker Movement. Discussion on the 33rd Chaos Communication Congress (33C3)

From 27 to 30 December 2016, about 10.000 hackers, scientists, activists and interested citizens met for the 33rd Chaos Communication Congress (33C3) in the sold-out CCH trade fair in Hamburg. I was given the chance to present MAKE-IT with some first findings from our empirical case studies there to lead into a discussion about similarities, differences, and interactions between the Hacker scene and the Maker movement.

Figure 2: Decentralised congress organisation through crowd participation

After providing an initial input on selected findings from MAKE-IT’s ten case studies that capture the diversity of the Maker movement, and an introduction to MAKE-IT’s three analytical pillars organisation and governance, peer and collaborative behaviour, and value creation and impact, I moderated a discussion with about 20 participants who were mostly members and/or researchers of hacker-/makerspaces themselves. The discussion elucidated how the Maker movement has its roots in the hacker scene and how the first German makerspaces were founded as secessions from established hackerspaces. Both movements share tools and machinery as well as the mentality to open, reconstruct and modify things to understand them and make them accessible in the spirit you don’t own it if you can’t open it. Decentralization, sharing, social inclusion and practicing a hands-on imperative are core topics of both sub-cultures which became apparent throughout all aspects of the congress, including its organizational infrastructure. All tasks of the congress, from the recording and translation of lectures to ticket inspections and medical support were impressively executed by self-organised volunteer networks.

Figure 3: Hacker aesthetics at 33C3

It emerged from the discussion that the Maker movement consciously tries to set itself apart from the hacker scene through language and public imagery in order to resist the negative stigmata that surround Hackers in the media discourse and to be more accessible to the wider public. The Maker movement has, therefore, rebranded itself by giving itself a new name, adopted a cleaner aesthetics and established its own media outlets. While hacker ethics strongly inform the current maker ethos, makers tend to be much more pragmatic when it comes to acquiring external funding and collaborating with established institutions. This enables Maker initiatives to enter into cooperation with public institutions like schools and libraries and to carry the culture of hacking items and production processes into wider society. For a further insight on the topic, check the Analytical Report below.

 

Figure 4: Maker aesthetics at Happylab Vienna

 

TUDO Analytical Report: 33C3 2016

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When online meets offline: Digital Social Innovation Fair 2017

It seems to me that fairs are an omnipresent component of the MAKE-IT project. Obviously, Maker Faires are one of the most important opportunities for makers worldwide to showcase their project to a wide community and meet fellow makers and potential investors and consumers in an offline environment. Yet, MAKE-IT through its transdisciplinary approach is not only part of the Maker movement, but, as a CAPS project, MAKE-IT has one foot in the world of social innovation as well. Just like Makers, social innovators display their ideas and meet other like-minded individuals at fairs.

One of these fairs is the Digital Social Innovation Fair, which took place on the 1st and 2nd of February in the pre-digital historic buildings of the Protomoteca Hall on Campidoglio in Rome. The MAKE-IT consortium was well represented with Tomas Diez’s keynote giving a comprehensive overview of the Maker movement’s vast spread including the rise of fab cities and the opportunities of the smart citizen project and Jeremy Millard’s keynote which focused on how acknowledging nature as a fifth additional actor to the quadruple helix model can inform the design of social organisations and substantially alter visions of future societies.

The keynotes given on both days of the fair covered a vast array of topics reaching from practical issues of how e.g. open data management can become a tool for municipal public administration to ethical considerations touching upon the prevailing conflict of online power being in the hands of big corporations instead of citizens. In the evening, Janosch Sbeih and I took part in a side event which led us to FabLab Rome located on the outskirts of the city. We explored the FabLab’s two neighbouring facilities of which one was decorated in neat colours to spur creativity, while the other resembled a garage stuffed with drilling and printing machinery. Leonardo Zaccone who founded the FabLab Rome focusses on introducing kids at an early age to the possibilities of digital fabrication. To enhance the outreach of his Fablabs he developed specialized courses for teachers who can then include digital fabrication into their curriculum.

Side event: Leonardo Zaccone presenting his FabLab at Meet the Roman Makers (Photo by Marthe Zirngiebl)

 

On day 2 of the Digital Social Innovation Fair 2017 Janosch Sbeih presented MAKE-IT’s preliminary results during a workshop called Collaborative Making, Art and Creativity. Since many of the other presenters and people attending our workshop are quite active in the Maker movement, we used our time slot to discuss the question of what the Maker movement needs to sustainably tackle societal challenges such as environmental degradation, social inclusion, and employment.

The audience agreed that a lot of makers pursue projects that have the potential to tackle these challenges sustainably. While they do not lack creativity, ideas and a sense of societal responsibility, they by and large lack public recognition. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for initiatives to receive funding or guide policy in a favorable direction. So one consequent action to be pursued by the Maker movement would be to voice their values and showcase their activities to a wider public. Hence, our presentation, as well as the other ideas and projects exhibited at the Digital Social Innovation Fair 2017, provide valuable insights for MAKE-IT’s sustainability scenarios developed as part of Work Package 6. To collect further input, the results of the discussion are presented here and will remain open for further comments by the online community. Furthermore,  Janosch Sbeih wrote an analytical report of the DSI Fair 2017 you can check below.

 

TUDO Analytical Report: DSI Fair 2017

 

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MAKE-IT Partners’ interviews

What can we expect for MAKE-IT? Who is working on it? To answer these questions, I interviewed my partners during the MAKE-IT Plenary Workshop in Vienna, December 2016. I talked with the partners about their experience in the Maker movement and their expectations of the project.

Get to know them:

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First CAPSSI Community Workshop

The first CAPSSI Community Workshop will be held in Bratislava on the 28th September 2016 (just after the ICT 2016 Proposers’ Day). This event will create opportunities for networking with other CAPS projects but, most importantly, to map your needs in terms of knowledge and networking, discuss common challenges and exchange experience gained so far with other active players in the community so as to identify collaboration opportunities.

The workshop will be highly interactive and make use of participatory methods to be able to involve all participants as active contributors. We expect project coordinators and any other partner in your consortium to attend and contribute to actively animate discussions.

Registration is for free, but needed as places are limited: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/capssi-community-workshop-tickets-26480915130.
More information about the event can be found here.

Dr. Christian Voigt from Zentrum für Soziale Innovation – ZSI (Centre for Social Innovation), Vienna,  will present the MAKE-IT project during this event.

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