Business Unusual

How the makers are taking over the market for innovation

The meek might inherit the Earth, but Earth 2.0 will be built by the makers.

The Business Unusual slot tries to reflect the ways technology has changed traditional businesses.

One reason companies exist is to optimise how to source, manufacture and sell a product. Traditionally that has been both expensive and hard to do.

Specifically for things to change a DIY fan (the maker) would need to more easily get access to information to expand their idea, then tools to create the item; and somehow find someone willing to fund the project in the hope that it would be commercially successful when it eventually is ready to be sold.

This is the story of the maker and how a collection of separate developments came together to make this group of people the likely future of innovation.

The Internet's development allowed for people to easily connect. Collaboration and access to information allowed simple ideas to develop and become powerful concepts.

The development of 3D-printers allowed tools, parts and products to be manufactured much quicker and far cheaper.

While organisations like Raspberry Pi, Arduino and LittleBits built low cost computers, controllers and electronic components that allowed for more sophisticated products to be designed and produced and re-integrated back into the evolving Internet adding more information and insights for what we now call the Internet of Things.

And, finally, crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter allowed for future customers to buy the products before they were even built.

That, in a nutshell, is the shift that has made the enthusiast with a great idea as powerful as a large corporation with a big R&D department.

Recently, the micro computer maker Raspberry Pi announced the release of the PiZero which will retail for just $5. The 20 000 made sold out in a day, suggesting the maker market is here to stay and we are going to be seeing a lot more amazing products in the near future.

This will only even more cost effective experimentation to tinkerers around the world, especially poorer ones. It will inspire a new generation of makers to start designing solutions for the issues affecting their communities and offering new products that might rival the likes of Apple one day.

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