Maker movement is built on connected creativity, according to Deloitte’s Centre for the EdgeDOWNLOAD
3 June 2014: Peter Williams, Deloitte’s Chief Edge Officer, said Australians’ extraordinary ideas are now connected through social media and in physical spaces. “Startups can now tap into the maker echo system to develop a prototype which can be placed on a crowd-funding site to sense demand, raise capital then move into production,” said Mr Williams.
The recently released report, Product Innovation in a hyper connected world; The Australian Maker Movement, produced by Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge, examines the ‘maker movement’ which is all about the next generation of inventors, manufacturers and do-it-yourself practitioners.
“Businesses would be well advised to observe how successful startups find ways to participate, learn and shape this growing movement,” said Mr Williams. “As maker communities spring up in Australia, an abundance of physical and virtual platforms have emerged such as teaching platforms, the provision of access to tools and platforms connecting individuals to finance and customers.”
The maker movement brings disruptions within the economic landscape but also opportunities given Australia’s rapid adoption of technology and our robust digital infrastructure. Modern technologies and globalisation are motivating individuals to participate in making activities and removing barriers along the value chain, from design and prototyping to manufacturing and then to selling and distribution.
“People now have greater access to tools, training and community, so with cheaper technology the hurdles to making things are disappearing,” said Mr Williams. “Access to suppliers, customers and funding makes it easier for individual makers to reach a broad audience.”
Australian manufacturers are now being encouraged to consider their business models, and to make the move ‘up the value chain.’ In many ways the market has spoken here, and it is a trend that had taken root long before the recent closures in automotive manufacturing.
“For decades Australian manufacturing had lost jobs and businesses that were focused on commoditised manufacturing, with low levels of technology and differentiation. Over time, many of these businesses learned the hard way that competing on cost alone in the Australian context was not sustainable,” said Deloitte Manufacturing Partner Damon Cantwell. “The advent of the maker movement represents another influence on the domestic manufacturing sector. It is critical that individual manufacturers understand and monitor the development of the movement, and identify and evaluate related opportunities for investment in innovation.”
The LIFX light bulb (a WiFi-enabled, LED, energy efficient light bulb that can be controlled by a smart phone) was invented by Phil Bosua after he raised $10 million on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.
“Bosua’s use of crowd-funding ensured the tools and capabilities engaged and encouraged maker-oriented consumers to modify and adapt existing light bulbs to their own needs and purposes,” said Mr Williams.
Many universities in Australia have developed facilities to work within the maker movement by providing access to advanced manufacturing technologies. Students are now also being taught to utilise purpose-built laboratory and workshop spaces to provide a seamless path from idea generation, prototype development to customised manufacture.
“It is also about finally cashing in on the world class research and innovation skill base and infrastructure we have, which has been long seen as being great in theory, but missing industrial application. The production methods of the future are much more technology dependent than those that have failed to prove sustainable in the Australian context,” concluded Mr Williams.
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