WP2 (conceptual and methodological framework) has provided a number of key results for different stakeholders. First, the research community in understanding the configuration and changing nature of the maker movement in the CAPS, social innovation and broader socio-economic-sustainable development context. Second, the practitioner community in accessing models and examples designed to better help them understand and exploit their development trajectories, for example getting a balance between commercial and non-commercial goals and activities. Third, public policy makers who wish to provide a conducive and supportive policy and regulatory framework for makers, as well as design better interventions and programmes. To enable this, the stakeholders can exploit two major results from WP2, contributing to and drawing on all other WPs.
First, providing sound scientific and practitioner-focused frameworks for understanding and analyzing Maker activities. The conceptual, methodological and scientific framework, together with the tool for analyzing Maker initiatives, has been developed by WP2 in close collaboration with WPs 3, 4, 5 and 6. It has been piloted, tested and adapted to be fit for purpose as a valuable set of frameworks and tools for further use by the scientific community and Maker practitioners after the end of the project. The whole framework package provides complementary components that have been tested and applied by different WPs: by WP2 as a Maker initiative quali-quantitative questionnaire; by WP3 to undertake in-depth qualitative case study investigations; by WP4 for running knowledge sharing and transfer activities as well as developing technology enhancements for use by individual Maker initiatives; by WP5 to develop the comprehensive TechRadar tool providing access to and detailed advice about the range of technologies available for Makers; and by WP6 which brought many of the results of these WPs together into an overall synthesis. Thus, this whole framework package constitutes an invaluable toolbox, the individual instruments of which other projects and researchers can take up, deploy, adapt and develop in future, and/or can be used (as in MAKE-IT) to enhance all-round complementary understanding of both individual as well as groups of Maker initiatives. The diagram provides an overview of two of the main components of the conceptual framework. (For more information see Deliverable 2.1 version 2.)
Using the above tools, the second major exploitable result is the first known in-depth and comprehensive qualitative and quantitative investigation of the Maker movement in Europe, anno 2017. For example WP2’s contribution to this investigation showed that Makers use a wide range of technology types for many different uses, focusing more on pillar 2 (peer and collaborative) activities than pillar 1 (governance and organisation) activities, and where females tend to use a wider range of technology with a greater focus on interactive and collaborative tools. Overall, pillar 2 issues seems to have higher levels of achievement than pillar 1, at a level of 40% of the maximum possible impact compared to 33%, perhaps because there is more focus on individual aspects, users, sharing, learning, than on organisation, regulation and supply chains at this early stage of maker development.
Pillar 3 (wider social, economic and environmental) impacts show that social and economic value creation reaches similar levels at about 30% of the maximum possible, although most initiatives report that in the longer term social impacts tend to be more relevant for them. Environmental value creation is much lower at about 15% of the maximum possible on average, and with a correspondingly lower level of longer-term relevance, although important environmental impacts are also being achieved. Also of high significance is that the greatest levels of achievement and impact are clearly being obtained by relatively large scale ecosystems of different but complementary actors compared to Makers operating on their own or in relatively small scale partnerships or communities, although large scale networks of similar Makers learning together are also having impacts. Further, it is also clear that female-led Maker initiatives are achieving greater impacts than those that are male-led, despite the former only constituting about 20% of all initiatives. This might partially be because only high caliber females lead maker initiatives, precisely because of the barriers against them, whilst the range of male leaders is much wider so their average level of skill, determination and ambition may be lower, leading to fewer achievements overall. Another contributing factor might be that the still relatively early stage of maker development with its strong focus on relatively informal sharing, learning, community-building, skills development, etc., favours female-led more than male-led initiatives. (For more information see Deliverable 2.3)