What Drives Us to Make?
This month the Colorado Maker Hub has been focused on communicating the Making in Colorado. We have been posting a topic each week sharing the awesomeness in the Colorado maker community. This week I will focus on what drives us to make and help you connect with those of similar interests.
Each of us are different in both skills and interests. Therefore we all have different reasons that drive us to make. Finding a tribe or tribes that feels the same way you do is a great feeling and when a community is able to gather many of like interests they flourish and grow. By identifying what drives us to make maybe it can help you find your tribe(s) and help you grow in your making. Here’s some of the drivers I have seen in making:
Social Impact: The feel good driver is a substantial driver for most makers. Knowing that their knowledge and skills can help their community or an individual, especially for hobbyists. There are many programs either worldwide like Enabling the Future or Field Ready and within Colorado like Santa’s Little Hackers and the many Habitats for Humanity that provide opportunities to make AND make a difference! Our current focus in our directory has been programs solely within Colorado, but we can foresee as we move forward growing a list of these nationwide and worldwide programs that are run outside of Colorado and gathering communities around these interests.
Citizen Science: From tracking the weather, parking, animals or water, citizen science is growing as devices are more widely available to gather data. Many science organizations are leveraging this as a crowdsourcing option for the data gathering. Key enablers to these projects are: (1) the availability of apps and (2) communities of interest with knowledge of the data. Many Do-It-Yourself-ers are the drivers for these projects and for keeping them going. Many middle schools and high schools are beginning to engage their students in Citizen Science projects both in the technology and applications needed, in addition to the data gathering and analysis.
Sustainability: With concerns for our resources and the amount of waste that we generate there are many communities and maker businesses that revolve around sustainability. For instance there are organizations such as RAFT, Recreative Denver, Habitat ReStore, Recycled Mat-ters, RedeemWood, SCRAP and others, that focus on redirecting waste from landfills by collecting items to be reused or upcycled by others. Some DIY spaces hold Fix-It Workshops or Repair Cafes to teach others how to fix something that is broke which reduces waste and saves money for the owner in a replacement. From another perspective, there are many maker businesses that focus on using recycling as their raw materials then upcycle and repurpose them into inspirational art or functional goods. Another example is the conversion of waste streams to a new raw material is the Reuse Innovation Center in which Boulder County is investigating. For a list of organizations and businesses with a focus on sustainability you can check out our Sustainability grouping within our Hub directory.
Social: Some of us like to get together with others to socialize…sometimes making is a part of that fun. Just being together for a group project such as building a house to sharing individual projects of knitting, pottery or robots. Maker projects invite conversations between the range of acquaintances to long-time friends. Our making brings us together to share knowledge and provides discussion topics for the community to get to know each other better, build memories and a kinship.
Innovation: Many makers consider themselves life-long learners and invite the opportunity to innovate. They can be inspired by an idea to do something different and prototype their idea to see if it is possible. Some may be driven to bring this idea to market and look for spaces and incubators to get them funding and resources. These types of makers are looking for those team members to pull together to succeed.
Curiosity: Similar to a maker driven by innovation, is a maker that is just plain curious. They are curious to see how it works, whether it works and to see if they can do it. They are individually driven by their own curiosity, not by outside influences. They don’t care to make it into a product or even compete with others. They love to tinker and could care less whether others are interested. I feel I’m in this category with my LEGO sorter. People think I’m crazy, but my curiosity is driving me to make!
Competition: Some makers need a little extra driver to make…by competing with others. I won’t call out those in my family who are in this category for some of their making projects, but…we have a few. It’s either the pride of boasting you won or the camaraderie in the community around the item you are having to make, but competitions are a driver for some makers. In schools across America there are sporting competitions to drive students to be their best…for making there are similar Sports of the Mind like FIRST, VEX, BEST and Destination Imagination that drive students to make through competitions.
Love: It feels good! Making inspires each individual to be the best they can be and to try something new. There’s a lot of love and hands involved in making. It is a part of you as a maker. We either love to make to inspire others…or for some as the holidays or birthdays arrive they make to show their love through a custom-made gift. We hope you find the love in your making projects!
Why do you make? What drives you to make? Have you found a community of support for your types of making that enables you? We invite you to peruse our directory of Community Organizers. Maybe you will find your tribe that supports you and drives you to make!