Maker Movement and manufacturing 5 ways to catalyze the economic renaissance
“… Maker Movement is a way to think about touching off an industrial revival that brings back economic growth, opportunity, and decent jobs for blue-collar workers.
An authentic social movement of hackers and tinkerers, the Maker Movement has grown increasingly consequential in recent years as a new generation of designers and entrepreneurs has employed online tools, 3-D printing, and other new technologies to “democratize” manufacturing and reinvigorate small-batch production and sales.
The makers’ locally-grown enterprises are expanding beyond their artisanal and hobbyist roots to create true business value. The movement has emerged as a significant source of experiential learning and skills-building, as well as creativity for the nation’s innovation-driven manufacturing sector.
More broadly, there is momentum on the ground, both in large cities and small ones, located in both red and blue America, and there is much success to share.
Two years ago, 100 mayors signed a Mayors Maker Challange to bolster making in their communities, and now, the just-published book “Maker City: A Practical Guide to Reinventing Our Cities” reports how these strategies are working across the nation.
Long to short, the story here is that the Maker Movement isn’t just about reviving manufacturing in cities (though it is doing that).
In addition, the movement is proving that anyone can be a maker and that genuine progress on the nation’s most pressing problems can be made from the bottom up by do-it-yourselfers, entrepreneurs, committed artisans, students, and civic leaders through what our colleague Bruce Katz calls “new localism.”
That’s both empowering and a quintessentially American story, one that de Tocqueville would immediately recognize, and that Donald Trump might even like.
And so it’s time for the nation—and especially its local business leaders, mayors, hobbyists, organizers, universities, and community colleges—to embrace the do-it-yourself spirit of the makers and start hacking the new industrial revolution one town at a time.
Ideally, the incoming Trump administration will see fit to foster this authentically American, red-blue movement with, for example, modest competitive grants to support local maker activity and expand interactions between makers and larger-scale commercial manufacturers. Federal cash, tax credits, and convening capacity could all make a huge difference to cash-strapped networks of civic entrepreneurs.
But even without such support, local leaders should take matters into their own hands and come together—city by city, community by community—to help build a new industrial resurgence that links local ingenuity to genuine economic development.
To help with that, here are five ideas for getting started….