Maker_Faire_Advisor.jpgA movement that could propel the inventiveness and creativity of a new generation of industrial designers had its roots in mundane activities like scrap-booking and knitting.

Over the past decade, the so-called “maker movement” has grown quickly and it’s more than just a short-term trend, futurist Derek Woodgate told attendees at AEM’s Annual Conference.

Woodgate, president of the Futures Lab in Austin, Texas, said last year’s maker event in San Mateo, California, attracted 120,000 attendees. Altogether, more than 500,000 people attended 11 maker events around the world in 2015.

Makerspaces Offer Resources

He said the movement is centered on local makerspaces that allow members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible with the resources available to individuals working alone.

The makerspaces also offer education and a community of like-minded individuals, he said.

“It has become a larger movement not only because there is more equipment, but also because open sourcing, collaboration and sharing are opening up massive opportunities,” he said. “What people want to do is fundamentally different than what it was in the early days.”

Woodgate said an online archive of maker inventions is now available. Makers can now see not only what has already been invented, but what other groups are working on.

“They are now building off one another and breaking new ideas,” he said.

Growing Part of Education System

Educators are also picking up on the movement and makerspaces are opening up at all levels of education.

“What we’re seeing is kids developing exciting new ways of looking at problems in architecture and construction,” he said.

Make is also moving into industry, and it’s not only 3D printing, he said.

“When we think about the needs of workforces in the future, the ability to upskill people coming into the more skilled areas by having them learn ‘make’ approaches at a very early age is good for their inventiveness, creativity and the ability to work with multiple types of play at the same time,” he said.

Is industry behind at this point, Woodgate was asked. Yes, he said.

“However, there is an opportunity to understand what these movements are about and how to leverage them,” he said.