The Maker Move­ment has emerged, evolved and is now thriv­ing not only in the US, but inter­na­tion­ally, as well as here at Right­point. I and my fel­low mak­ers — entre­pre­neurs, inven­tors and tin­ker­ers, all — exhibit curios­ity, adven­ture and intel­lec­tual engage­ment, craft­ing inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to often-complicated prob­lems. For us, mak­ing often requires not only col­lab­o­ra­tion, but the intrin­sic drive to shape the world rather than merely let­ting it hap­pen around you.

Here’s how we’re shap­ing the world. Come along for the ride:

I’ve writ­ten before about how proac­tive Right­point is in cre­at­ing its envi­rons and cul­ture. The real­iza­tion and inter­nal encour­age­ment of Rightpoint’s maker spirit is the next step of this con­scious cre­ation. But let’s back it up a step: what is the Maker Movement?

Dale Dougherty coined the term “maker” as we use it today in the con­text of the Maker Move­ment, and as he puts it in We Are Mak­ers, a great video intro­duc­ing the Maker Move­ment: “the whole world becomes our can­vas.” It’s expe­ri­en­tial, a drive to try it your­self, hands-on, rather than be told some­thing does or doesn’t work. You make mis­takes but recover faster, and in the process (again, as put in the video): “broaden your selec­tion of hammers.”

Here at Right­point, we’re con­stantly broad­en­ing our selec­tion of ham­mers and mak­ing sure we’re not just bang­ing away at every­thing that looks like a nail. Part of that is try­ing new tech­niques, such as Google Design Sprints or our PEDL pro­gram or col­lab­o­ra­tive sketch­ing, along with test­ing the sci­ence behind happy expe­ri­ences, cre­at­ing phys­i­cal prod­ucts like Pour­cast, and so on. We’ve broad­ened into prod­ucts that cut across dis­ci­plines and along the way, each of us ends up learn­ing and aggre­gat­ing expe­ri­ence from those other disciplines.

In that same video, Allan Chochi­nov explains a tenet of design con­sult­ing — that cre­at­ing some­thing very quickly earns trust and makes progress. As soon as you give peo­ple some­thing to react to, reach­ing its essence becomes more clear. Part of that tenet is why we have a 3D printer for the office — espe­cially since once we were mak­ing physical-digital crossover prod­ucts like Pour­cast and Room Nin­jas, phys­i­cal rapid pro­to­typ­ing became much more important.

I would argue that rapid pro­to­typ­ing, test­ing, and hav­ing a prod­uct (rather than project) mind­set as Ross explains here absolutely makes you a maker. But it turns out the bar is even lower than that. As Dale puts it, in order to get involved in the Maker Move­ment, you “join it by just say­ing ‘I’m a maker and here’s what I do’.”

And: We. Are. Makers.

Now that you’ve got­ten this far: my disclaimers-slash-qualifications, with more hyphens to come. I’ve been involved in the Maker Move­ment since 2009 to a larger or lesser degree over time. My involve­ment has been almost entirely in Chicago, though I’ve vis­ited mak­er­spaces in places as close as Detroit and as far-flung as Copen­hagen — along with Århus if we’re counting.

In 2011, I was Pres­i­dent of Pump­ing Sta­tion: One, Chicago’s largest and old­est mak­er­space. I’ve taught at the Chicago Pub­lic Library’s Maker Lab and attended ORD Camp for years. I have friends on Make mag­a­zine staff — Dale Dougherty founded and runs Maker Media which includes Make and Maker Faires, for con­text — and oth­ers that con­tribute to O’Reilly’s edu­ca­tional mate­ri­als. I care about this move­ment, I love how Chicago’s push­ing it for­ward, and I’m hap­pier still that Right­point has rec­og­nized and is encour­ag­ing its maker spirit.

As exam­ples of what you can start mak­ing, dur­ing my time at Pump­ing Sta­tion: One, I made or helped make things like:

And helped Pump­ing Sta­tion: One do things like:

For Chicago’s maker con­text, a quick tour through Chicago’s var­i­ous makerspaces:

There’s also an overview of the three old­est Chicago mak­er­spaces here.

Just going by this list, Chicago’s def­i­nitely got a strong move­ment going, and that’s not count­ing the pop-up expe­ri­ences like Cen­ter for Lost Arts (my pho­tos from their orig­i­nal space’s clos­ing party here), ORD Camp (which I’ve pre­vi­ously writ­ten about), var­i­ous startup and hack nights, as well as Mini Maker Faires.

It’s also a national move­ment, with Pres­i­dent Obama declar­ing a National Week of Mak­ing, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the first-ever White House Maker Faire, and announc­ing the Nation of Mak­ers ini­tia­tive. My favorite moment from that event was Obama hang­ing out with a life-size robotic giraffe (video also avail­able).

More broadly, though, mak­ers’ pri­mary resources tend to be other mak­ers, thus the launch of Mak­er­Space by Dale Dougherty and the launch of Maker­Base by Gina Tra­pani and Anil Dash (you can find me there too). There are phys­i­cal mak­ers and dig­i­tal mak­ers, and many cross from one to another. The move­ment has even diver­si­fied into groups like civic hack groups, Maker Biz, the Kick­starter crowd, and those hack­ing for edu­ca­tion. I’m fond of the fact that I was there at the start of the Power Rac­ing Series (in fact, my photography’s still on the site), which may look friv­o­lous and fun, but actu­ally teaches kids and adults across the coun­try about every­thing from brakes to bat­ter­ies to electronics.

If you’ve made it this far on this wild ride, I prob­a­bly don’t have to tell you that the Maker Move­ment has become a $29 bil­lion indus­try, and that approx­i­mately 135 mil­lion adults are mak­ers (that’s 57% of adults over 18). But if you still need con­vinc­ing, those are the facts. Com­pa­nies like Kick­starter and Indiegogo and Etsy are help­ing drive this indus­try for­ward, and indus­try giants are jump­ing in with projects like GE Garages and UPS’s entry into the 3D print­ing mar­ket, not to men­tion TechShop and Shape­ways.

Even though these giants are now in the mar­ket, we’re here too. We’ve always been here, whether we talked about it or not.

As upstart, as DIY, as muddle-it-through-until-you-find-an-answer as the Maker Move­ment may be, it’s also the per­fect place for curi­ous, scrappy, whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done inter- and intra-disciplinarians like us that enjoy being both high-level and in-the-weeds. We who love hyphens in what­ever we do.

And that’s why we’re here. Thanks for mak­ing it so incred­i­bly far through the his­tory of the Maker Move­ment with us today. Let’s look toward the future of the Maker Move­ment together.