A hands on society
The Makers Movement is continuing to gather momentum. It's essential idea is that making things and manufacturing can be democratised with the help of a new generation of technologies, notably 3D printers.
There's a message that we are more in touch with our world if we make parts of it rather than just being passive consumers. The movement is helpfully reconnecting craft to high technology. Nesta has had some involvement in this space for a while, for example through Manchester's fablabs which gives thousands of children the chance to try making things. I also like the Techshop model as well, which allows members to make anything they want, with a building stuffed with printers, lathes, cutters and moulds. At the very least, every major city should be experimenting with something like this.
We're exploring creating some 'maker' prizes with partner organisations and hope to be able to announce something soon.
Some worry that the 3D printing hype may be getting a bit over the top. But this nice video showing a house being entirely built using 3D printers is one of many pieces of confirmation that it's not all hot air.
What may be missing is the message from the crafts - that being good at making things is still hard work. It's easier than ever to produce things - but may not be that much easier to produce really good things.