Welcome — Much More to Do

This issue marks the start of the sixth year of MAKE. It’s been a wonderful five years, full of surprises and challenges. I’m grateful to each of you who support our efforts by subscribing or buying the magazine on the newsstand. We’ve gotten to know so many of you and your incredible work through makezine.com and Maker Faire. Five years have gone by very fast, and yet it feels like we’re only just beginning to see the possibilities.

Making spans generations and inspires people of all ages. One of our great surprises is that MAKE appeals to kids and adults, and serves to bring them together around projects. Learning to make something is stimulating and satisfying, whether you prefer LPs or MP3s. I hope this new partnership thrives.

Makers go pro, and more pros think of themselves as makers. Makers are enthusiasts who are doing what they love, which is the definition of amateurs. But we’re seeing some makers develop a following, and begin to go “pro.” They’re making kits, developing products, providing services, or marketing their expertise. This “grassroots innovation” deserves recognition as a valuable source of new product ideas. MakerBot Industries, the cover subject of our desktop manufacturing issue, is a good example of makers who developed a product that enables others to create new things. The maker spirit is gaining recognition in the workplace as a catalyst for design thinking. This is good news for the maker community, and remarkable in such a challenging economy. I hope our new Makers Market (makersmarket.com) will foster new opportunities for makers with new products or services to sell.

Even in a digital age, this magazine offers a unique hands-on experience. (And a complete set looks great on the shelf in your work area.) I’m proud of MAKE magazine and the editorial and creative teams who produce it. I am so appreciative of our readers who’ve told us how much this magazine means to them. Let’s keep a good thing going. Tinkering is getting a good name again in education. There is greater recognition that tinkering is a practical and productive way to learn almost anything and a viable alternative to textbook learning. It’s a shift away from proving what you know to demonstrating what you can do. It’s also a way of thinking with many levels of complexity. The most important thing in education is to engage the student both physically and mentally. Hands-on projects do just that, especially when students are given the ability to explore their own ideas, develop them, and then share them with others. I hope we can turn more students into creative makers.

DIY doesn’t mean doing it by yourself. It’s the paradox of DIY. A huge benefit of making things yourself is that you discover there are other people a lot like you. There are people who want to collaborate (in person or across the web), or those who just appreciate what you do and offer tips and encouragement. Getting together to make things and learn new skills at hackerspaces or maker labs is fun and productive. I hope to see the growth of local communities for makers in cities around the world.

Maker Faire comes to Detroit and New York City. Maker Faire will expand to two new cities this year, in addition to the Bay Area. We want to be part of the rebirth of Detroit. We’re working with The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., which captures the heart and soul of American manufacturing. Detroit is also home to some of the best American music ever made. And we’re excited to organize a Maker Faire on the East Coast, at the New York Hall of Science. With a large number of makers, New York City offers a chance to explore creativity, innovation, and education on a world stage. I hope you’ll get involved.

As you can see, there’s a lot to look forward to in the years ahead. And a whole lot more we hope to do together.

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty


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