What can we learn from the Maker Movement?

The underlying culture of the maker community, means that they are always looking to do better. Despite how good things are today, what is coming up that could make it even better. What are the opportunities and tools out there, allowing our members and our community more chance of engagement and support?

As an NGO with 61 years under our belt, it can be all too easy to sit back and operate business as usual. But we can see that the world is very different today, and we know that unless we keep up with contemporary thinking, behavior and modern practices – we can easily become obsolete. As many business gurus have said “if you aren’t growing you’re dying” – and we have not grown our membership in a long time.

Sustain: It is important for us to reform the way we are administered. Ever since we became a legal entity in Europe, we have been operating with several layers of bureaucracy. Having a permanent administrative board, does call into question the need for other roles that are part of the current EEC. Equally the workload has changed significantly, and much more is done in the Brussels office because they are close to our legal reporting entity.

There is an opportunity to take a look at what we really need, and to ensure that our bylaws, represent the requirement from January 2018.

Disrupt: Nothing can be more disruptive than the power technology has, to impact communications and relationships. Whilst many people like to get their hands on printed material, it is no longer practical, cost-effective, or friendly to our planet to do this. It applies equally to printed material given out at workshops or conferences.

We need to move to a process of placing materials in the online document library, where people can take a look, download to a local computer, and if they still wish to have a hardcopy – that would be a personal choice. We also need to make better use of technology to provide regular updates, news and information to our community. The onus is on the individual therefore, to read and respond to emails and look at the news and information channels on our website.

Regenerate: The networks, friendships and successes of the past are an important base to build from. Our rich history has shown us what can be achieved when a thoughtful group of people, connect in many places around the world. It is also important to be mindful of modern times, current opportunities that are accessible to many, and think about how we can best provide an offering that remains exciting to our members.

We must find ways to engage all generations of our membership, no matter how challenging this may appear. The youth are keen to exchange ideas, learn from each other and grow networks. The adult membership seeks opportunities to gather, experience new things, see unusual places and absorb culture. Both groups are looking for us to find cost effective ways to deliver excellent opportunities. Cost effective being key.

These issues will be discussed as part of the Council meeting, at this year’s European Conference taking place this September in Armenia. We would also like to hear from our chapter presidents and members. Please do send us your thoughts, ideas or observations.