How do Makers organize and collaborate? How do they create value and impact? What is the role of Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPS) in enabling them?

MAKE-IT tackles these questions through different research method, including action research, which involves addressing a problem situation encountered in a specifc organisational setting by intervening and evaluating, while also constructing and evaluating a concept that addresses the class of problems typifed by the encountered situation. Action research in the MAKE-IT project involves CAPs-oriented knowledge transfer workshops and technology enhancements with project case partners (and beyond), while further developing the “Building Spheres of Participation” (BSOP) concept. The BSOP concept is the combination of various spheres of participation between Makers and quadruple helix stakeholders, impacting the Maker movement’s organisation and governance, peer and collaborative behaviours, and value creation and impact. This BSOP concept develops through ongoing refnement in context. It means that to further develop the BSOP concept we test and relate it to specifc empirical, i.e., action research, contexts related to the Maker movement.

The BSOP concept closely relates to CAPS. BSOP aims to stimulate the Maker movement to reflect upon the variety of people and organizations across the quadruple helix and upon the variety of activities related to organization and governance, peer and collaborative behaviours, and value creation and impact in order to create awareness of sustainability problems and join making collaborative solutions. These solutions are based on networks, thereby enabling new forms of social innovation. A potential CAPS technology enhancement is trying to help makers and their target audiences making the right choices with respect to CAPS technologies for connecting and collaborating. BSOP also focuses on smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth. This is further explicated when detailing action research interventions planned, e.g., a workshop on the inclusive Maker movement.

We proposed a CAPS technology enhancement – called BSOP tool – that can be used during maker events, or at other times, to offer a very easy and consistent way of stimulating highly linked interactions between both similar and complementary types of actors and actions. It will allow visitors to indicate whether they are interested in a Maker initiative at the moment they are physically present at the stand or presentation and also what the nature of their interest is (e.g., keep me informed, I have a suggestion, I am prepared to answer questions, I want to invest funds). The enhancement will automatically connect visitors to the appropriate online location or tool/platform (following what the Maker initiative uses and prefers). It can be thought of as a redirection page: First the person interested in the Maker initiative initiates this page, e.g. by scanning a QR code. On the page they see a list of options, based on existing platforms which the Maker initiative makes use of. They can then select their preferred way of participating and are routed to the appropriate online application or platform.

The BSOP tool is built with open source components and it is open source itself, so everybody in the Maker community can add and update the content: you can find the source code in our Software page.

Read more about the BSOP tool in our deliverables D4.1 and D5.3.