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Harnessing the power of Digital Social Platforms to shake up makers and manufacturing entrepreneurs towards a European Open Manufacturing ecosystem

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OpenMaker (Harnessing the power of Digital Social Platforms to shake up makers and manufacturing entrepreneurs towards a European Open Manufacturing ecosystem)

Reporting period: 2016-06-20 to 2017-10-19

In 2014, Manufacturing represented around 16% of the EU GDP, more than 80% of EU total exports, and employed 30 million people. However, the financial crisis, combined with ongoing globalisation and technological innovation negative externalities, hit the sector, leading to the loss of over 3.8 million jobs.
Transforming the existing European manufacturing production processes and models is a complex challenge. However, the so-called Maker movement is creating new open technologies in the field of digital fabrication and craftsmanship. Understanding how the collaborative processes pioneered by it could be relevant for the European manufacturing is important considering that they have produced deep and valuable transformations within the digital industries.
Building on the paradigm of Open Manufacturing, this project aims at creating a transformational and collaborative ecosystem that fosters collective innovations within the European manufacturing sector and drives it towards more sustainable business models, production processes, products and governance systems. OpenMaker will achieve this goal by bringing together traditional manufacturers and digital-savvy makers, engaging in the process all the relevant stakeholders, i.e.: citizens, universities, local authorities, civil society organisations and policy-makers. OpenMaker is a compact project, organised into 5 Work Packages. Work Package 1 focuses on the construction and the scaling of four vibrant communities (called Local Enabling Space, LES) between traditional manufacturers, makers, citizens and stakeholders. LES are located in different European cities. In each LES, an Enabling Programme will assure the successful establishment of partnerships and cooperation between traditional manufacturers and makers through a set of well-planned incentives and opportunities. Work Package 2 defines the conceptual framework and creates the digital space for the established communities (called Digital Social Platform, DSP). It also deploys the metrics to quantify and measure the key interaction modalities that define the success and failures of the DSP. Work Package 3 focuses on the ex-ante and ex-post evaluation and on the constant monitoring of the social impact achieved by the project. Work Package 4 and 5 ensure a sound communication and dissemination strategy and robust quality control measures.
During the first 16 months of the project, the efforts of the consortium were dedicated to:

Work Package 1:
- Realise over 80 interviews to help identifying the initial profiles of the community, as well as their needs and expectations.
- Identify 95 manufacturers, makers and other stakeholders.
- Design and deliver the Enabling The Enablers training workshop, reaching 21 attendants.
- Launch the Piloting Support Scheme and receive 137 projects. The most promising 20 ideas will receive a financial support of € 20 000 each, support and mentorship.

Work Package 2:
- Set up the initial implementation of the Explorer and WatchTower, the two components of the DSP. The Explorer gets comments and requirements from users. The WatchTower is a platform that ranks all the information and provides recommendations based on the relevance of the comments, topics.
- Prepare a user interaction map that describes all the steps a user will have to take in order to register and to use the DSP.
- Define Key Performance Indicators to monitor the temporal evolution of the community relations established on the DSP.

Work Package 3:
- Design and deliver the Impact Framework Training workshop along to the Enabling The Enablers (Work Package 1).
- Creation of the impact tools (the online feedback forms and the interview guide), which are available.
- Start engaged in the creation of a Maker space at the Bogazici University, Istanbul.

Work Package 4:
- Develop an active web presence through both the project website and social media, reaching over 120 000 viewers. This has been supplemented by the development of promotional material.
- Deliver a total of 47 local events (talks, workshops, training) at the 4 LES, reaching a total of 1 098 attendants.
- Attend 26 local and regional events (conferences, festivals, seminars) organised by other institutions. Participate in 8 national and European events such as the Makers Town and the European Maker Week, both in Brussels, the Digital Social Innovation Manifesto Workshop in Italy.

Work Package 5:
- Develop a Project Quality Plan and a Communication & Administration toolkit, which describe the internal procedures of the consortium in terms of management structures and procedures, including quality control and risk management.
- Define the Data Management life cycle for all data that will be collected, processed and/or generated by the project.
Local Enabling Spaces: the establishment of four LES in different European countries facilitates the formation of emerging and transnational communities between traditional manufacturers and makers with the active participation of citizens and stakeholders. OpenMaker identifies traditional manufacturers, makers and influencers, matches their interests and invites them to meet in local/regional/national and European events. Discussion and interactions are also facilitated through the DSP.

Digital Social Platform: based on the purposefully harvested data and the data elicited voluntarily from the users of the DSP, state-of-the-art semantic and memetic analysis has performed to define the lay of the land the Maker movement operates in and the psycho-social dimensions of its actors. Through endorsed and algorithmic trust assigned to these actors and the tools of organization offered in line with the Enablers and the offline events, informed action towards desired and positive outcomes are reachable as never before. The dashboard of the DSP identifies and analyses influencers and relevant sources producing rendered information.

Impact: the Impact Evaluation Framework sets out the overarching aim that the LESs become Open Manufacturing hubs, establishing strong connections between makers and manufacturers, and engaging other stakeholders that result in new projects, newly acquired skills and network, and employment. Second, it sets out multiple ways in which OpenMaker’s Digital Social Platform being developed in Work Package 2 can be used to collect impact data at the technological/scientific level including on community size and demography, levels of participation and engagement, social media interactions, social network analysis and connectivity metrics, and content analysis. Finally, it sets out the indicators to measure the impact of the project in relation to the number of new policy and finance actions to support Open Manufacturing at local, national, and EU levels.

Outreach: through the organisation of training workshops, showcases, matchmaking workshops, OpenMaker creates and raises awareness of Open manufacturing. Second, OpenMaker enhances the understanding on how partnerships between makers and industry can develop cutting edge technical innovations with the potential to address societal challenges. Finally, it actively contributes to the debate how to shape the future European policies for makers and industry.
OpenMaker leaflet
OpenMaker promotional material in event