Makers: Who Are They and Why Should the Enterprise Care?

You may have heard a fairly new phrase floating around in tech-related conversations lately: “makers.” Makers are a broad group who are generally defined as being innovators, inventors, enthusiasts, hackers, and tinkerers. They are naturally inquisitive and creative - they’re the kids who took apart the home telephone to see if they could put it back together again and they’re the adults who thrive on solving efficiency and optimization challenges.

The maker movement has become increasingly popular in the past few years, as technology such as 3D printers, design software, and laser cutters have dropped in price and become more widely available to individuals.

Maker Inventions

Makers have addressed a huge array of challenges, including (but not limited to):

  • Situations with dire consequences: This detailed 3D printed copy of a diseased heart allowed the 16-year-old patient’s surgical team to confidently proceed with a risky tumor resection. bradley_with_heart.jpg
  • Challenges as old as time: This autonomous water-sensing rover tells farmers exactly how often and how much to water their crops. tuantruong-sized1-1.jpg
  • Problems that we might not even know we had: Now we can create pancakes in the shapes of our favorite things thanks to the PancakeBot pancakebot2.jpg

Why Should IT Leaders Care?

IT leaders should be keeping an eye out for natural makers in their departments, as maker skill sets will be necessary for upcoming enterprise challenges, such as the Internet of Things.

As the Internet of Things emerges, technologies like Nest, the smart thermostat, and Mimo, the smart baby onesie, are driving home the future of connected devices across a wide range of functions. It’s time to think of the objects and processes in our workplaces as challenges waiting to be solved with smart technology.

The Necessary Technology

New technologies, like Intel’s Edison chip, are as powerful as they are tiny. Edison is approximately the size of an SD card, but it contains a dual-core Intel Quark x86 - and they’re available now. Every IT leader should be thinking: who in my department has a natural inclination toward mechanical problem solving? What could we create as a team? And what challenges could we solve for the business? Happy creating!