"The Makers are becoming real game-changers by reconnecting the young with the material world and its inexhaustible wonders and by rebuilding human contacts as the indispensable ingredient for a cohesive society of freedom in solidarity. Their European movement merits every possible support, so let's help make it an overwhelming success!"
Georgi Pirinski, Member of the European Parliament
The OpenMaker initiative is a pan-European project aiming to seed and accelerate the 4th Industrial Revolution by bringing together makers and traditional manufacturers in both physical and digital environments and unlock their disruptive potential for social change.
In a nutshell, the initiative seeks to foster tech-driven and socially-oriented innovation by driving the radical distribution, decentralisation and mass collaboration between manufacturers and makers. More specifically, it aims to create a transformational ecosystem that fosters collective innovation and drives the manufacturing sector towards more sustainable business models, production processes, products, and governance systems.
To this end, OpenMaker is awarding a commission of €400,000 to 20 maker-manufacturer projects to help them prototype and launch their ideas, ultimately reinventing the way we think about traditional manufacturing and projecting us int o the new “smart factory” city.
Ultimately, the project aims to also engage the wider ecosystem around makers and manufacturers, such as policymakers and researchers, to ultimately support Open Manufacturing communities across borders and sectoral boundaries. In this way, the ability to investigate, communicate and scale up any success in the development of the collaboration of different players will initiate a shift in the manufacturing paradigm and deliver long-lasting social change.
About the Maker Movement
The Maker movement is an emerging and dynamic social technology-based movement, embracing the ‘Open Manufacturing’ paradigm, re-imaging product, processes and governance systems and bringing them closer to people and local communities. In 2013, USA Today stated that Makers contribute approximately EUR 26 billion to the world economy annually1 and the figure is growing. In 2015, the Atmel Corporation, a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, has calculated that there are approximately 135 million adult Makers in the United States. This is over half (57 percent) the American population 18+ and does not include the millions of children and teenagers who are active in STEM projects through science fairs, robotics teams and tinkering in their basements. Maker Faire celebrated 150 Faires in 2015 alone and has reached over 1,5 million attendees globally since it launched in California in 20062. In Europe, last year only there were more than 500 events that took place during the European Maker Week and more than 100,000 visitors attended Maker Faire Rome, the maker world’s largest exhibition outside the US. The movement keeps on growing and understanding how the collaborative processes pioneered by the Maker movement could be relevant for the manufacturing industry is fundamental if we want to make Europe more innovative and competitive than ever, as stated by President Juncker in his annual State of the Union address. Furthermore, the fusion of Open Manufacturing with social innovation - bringing together the open source principles with democratic and civic engagement - has the potential to provide innovative solutions to address the societal challenges Europe faces.