Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

MAKE-IT Report Summary

Project ID: 688241
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MAKE-IT (Understanding Collective Awareness Platforms with the Maker Movement)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Context
The powerful tools provided by ICT software and hardware are completely changing the way we make tangible as well as intangible objects. Today, virtually everybody on the planet with access to the Internet can make digital content composed of virtual ‘bits’ and make it available to everyone else instantly, no matter who they are or where they live. As a shorthand term, this move from bits to atoms is being called the maker movement. Makers increasingly make use of a range of Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPs).

MAKE-IT objectives

The overall objective of the MAKE-IT project is to understand the role of CAPs in how the maker movement has grown and operates. p
MAKE-IT undertakes multidisciplinary research into the role and impact of CAPs approaches on the maker movement. The research on the role of CAPs is specifically focused on three analytical pillars:
1. Organisation and governances.
2. Peer and collaborative activities and behaviours.
3. Value creation and impact.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

One of the first activities of MAKE-IT was the development of a Conceptual and Methodological Framework, providing input and groundwork for the progress that followed, and to function as a conceptual and analytical tool for the research and innovation activities.

Following on, we created a Monitoring and Assessment Framework which is an assessment tool for use within the MAKE-IT project itself for monitoring and assessing the case studies in order to deepen both MAKE-IT’s and the cases’ understanding of their individual performance by adopting a comparative approach also for the purpose of using this assessment to make improvements in future.

We have conducted ten in depth case evaluations of maker initiatives, whereby the project’s scientific partners observed, interviewed and probed the use of CAPs approaches in the selected cases, based on the approach defined in the Conceptual and Methodological Framework described above.

Taking the starting point of the technologies being used in the maker movement, we have conducted a screening and mapping of both ICT and CAPs-related technologies, as well as maker production technologies and their interplay. Through developing an Interactive Technology Radar we have been able to visualise the current relevant state-of-the art technology and upcoming future technologies, in a flexible and informative application.

The case studies and technology radar have led to a long-list of potential improvements and new implementations of CAPs technologies. Through a process of exploring a wide range of possible enhancements, and narrowing this down to a shortlist of ideas that may have the greatest impact on maker initiatives’ ability to improve their governance, behaviour or value creation, we were able to make a focused proposition of enhancements to the MAKE-IT Advisory Board (MAB).
Although most of MAKE-IT’s empirical results are either too new or not yet developed, we have begun to publish our work in international and peer-reviewed fora (See: List of publications to date).

In the dissemination, exploitation and communication plan, we outline the first strategic actions, directions and materials for the dissemination, exploitation and communication within MAKE-IT towards the four categories of stakeholders: 1) civil society actors, 2) research, consultation and facilitation actors, 3) policy makers and 4) economic actors.

All of the work in MAKE-IT is supported by the Project Handbook, developed in the first phase of the project, which describes the internal procedures of the MAKE-IT consortium in terms of management structures, communication and collaboration as well as quality control measures. Open source and open access are important elements of RRI and the strategy of the consortium in dealing with these aspects is reflected in the open data management plan, which forms part of this Project Handbook.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The MAKE-IT project advances the state-of-the-art in four main ways:
1) Extending CAPs into a new domain
Existing:
i) Social networking
ii) Direct contact with the environment through the Internet of Things, i.e. electronic tags embedded in everything, potentially providing pervasive sensory awareness and capabilities, as well as serious risks to our privacy and intellectual property
iii) The collaborative production of knowledge, such as Wikipedia.
The MAKE-IT project adds a fourth major trend to this repertoire, i.e. not only the collaborative production of knowledge and other forms of intangible content, but also the collaborative production and consumption of tangible forms of physical objects, as currently being realized by the burgeoning makers movement.

2) Broad, comprehensive but focused multidisciplinary approach
We investigate the interplay between CAPs approaches and the maker movement using the three analytical pillars (see Figure 1, above).

3) Innovation action research
Innovation action research is designed and undertaken whereby, in addition to extracting knowledge for research purposes, we intend to put knowledge back into the maker and CAPs communities. The traditional observatory-type case study analysis is supplemented by action research through joint and pro-active problem solving and case enhancement in close cooperation with the cases which have committed to participate in MAKE-IT.

4) Contributing to the future development of maker awareness and culture within the context of larger scale technological change and sustainable socio-economic growth
MAKE-IT will examine the longer term technological underpinnings of the trends, challenges and opportunities. According to Neil Gershenfeld [Gershenfeld_2012], the makers movement has only, to date, taken its incipient and uncertain first steps. The first stage, where a minority of manufacturers currently are, is computers making things, i.e. turning ‘bits’ into ‘atoms’. The second stage is machines, for example in FabLabs, making machines which then convert ‘bits MAKE-IT will further advance the state-of-the-art by directly contributing to our understanding of how these developments in the maker environment are having an impact on CAPs and their use by maker initiatives to achieve their sustainability and social innovation objectives, and how this situation is likely to develop through Gershenfeld’s phases.

Impact
In line with our three analytical pillars MAKE-IT will have impact in several important ways. First, it advances and broadens the scientific and theoretical knowledge base about the organisation and governance of online maker communities. Second, it advances our understanding of drivers and barriers of peer and collaborative activities and behaviours of maker communities in Europe.

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