Why The Makers Mindset Makes You a Better Inventor
Makers represent a burgeoning global movement with people of all ages and backgrounds developing, designing, and often marketing their creations. In the age of the maker, anyone can be an inventor and their potential impact on the world is enormous.
Stay tuned to learn how the maker movement is cultivating a cultural mindset that will change the world, and how you can apply that mindset to be a better inventor!
I was born in a time of Tinker Toys and Erector Sets. When I was in H.S. we had Wood Shop as an elective, and it was one of my favorite classes. I guess you might say I was born a “maker”. Coming out of HS I had an obscure vision of my creativity and problem-solving ability, but I had no idea how to apply that to a formal education or career. It didn’t help that my ADD made school very difficult for me. So, I skipped college in lue of a life of learning and making things better.
You could say I was lucky when I had my first idea for a new product and fumbled my way through the process of making and selling it, ultimately licensing that product for $60K a year to a major brand. That’s when I believed I earned the title of “Inventor”. But back in 2006 a new term came on the scene, “Makers”.
Adweek’s definition the maker movement is that it is the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers. It is the convergence of hackers and artisans. As someone who has seen firsthand what can happen if the right tools, inspiration and opportunity are available to people, I see the Maker Movement as being hugely important for fostering innovation.
The idea of the maker mindset is that we develop “creative confidence” and a sense of agency — that we have the ability to creatively solve problems on our own and with peers. It comes from important life skills — critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
It is a (DIY) mindset fueled by the new “open source” economy where you can find and share tools to build almost anything at Makerspaces, find instructions and ideas online for building things, and become part of a vibrant community of hundreds of thousands of global problem solvers in person and online.
These communities and Makerspaces are giving individuals the power to invent like never before.
For those of you who are not familiar with Makerspaces, they are kind of like gyms. But instead of buying a membership to workout using their equipment, you join Makerspaces to use their shop equipment to make things. Which is great because in its simplest form, makers learn by doing. And they are popping up everywhere. You can google Makerspaces near me to find one in your area.
Now, as with anything when you get around people who share your interest, amazing communities develop that foster collaboration and better innovation. Makers are sharers, helping one another. Many publish their designs online so others can learn from them.
Today you can go to makezine.com and find out how to make a hat that translates your brainwaves into colored light, a coffee cup spy cam, or a smartphone microscope.
There’s also Inventables.com, which is an online hardware store for designers in the Maker Movement. It’s kind of like an Amazon for Makers!
The result is that more and more people create products instead of only consuming them, and I believe that moving people from being ONLY CONSUMERS to CREATORS is critical to the future of our world. At the very least, some of these folks will discover lifelong hobbies, but many of them will eventually use their tools and creativity to start businesses and bring their innovative products to the world commercially.
Now, I am not suggesting that you become a maker for money. If you are, you’re doing it wrong. On the other hand, my stepfather always said, “do what you love and the money will follow” and that is the path I chose. To passionately solve problems with consumer products. And, by making things dramatically better than all the competition, I was able to license those products, leading to some very nice paychecks!
So, I unknowingly, found my way into the world of makers and have created many things that have made life easier for millions of people. Who knew that my passion for problem solving and ADD, something I thought of as a disability, would be harnessed into a lifelong career, and a profitable one at that!
The more I look into the maker’s mindset, the more I believe that it’s very important to America’s future. It has the potential to turn more and more people into makers instead of just consumers, and I know from history that when you give makers the right tools and inspiration, they have the potential to change the world.
What do you think? No really, I want to know, let me know in the comments below.
In a world of makers, anyone can be an entrepreneur, inventor, and innovator. I’m confident that our collective creativity will have a profound and positive impact on people and our planet.
So, dare to dream and imagine what’s possible when powered by innovation!
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